As a locally-focused community bank, Great Western Bank has always been about building meaningful relationships with the individuals and businesses they serve. The bank also understands that in order to be successful as a company, their people must first be successful.
Great Western Bank is a full-service regional bank focused on relationship-based business and agribusiness banking, serving customers with 173 branches in nine mid-western states.
The bank's infrastructure team of three, was spending a lot of time repeating manual tasks to deploy an ever-increasing number of virtual machines.
In addition, the team wanted provide more flexibility and functionality to their end-users."They were always asking for direct access into the VMware vCenter, but we didn't want to give that"explained Infrastructure Manager Dave Baumgartner."As a bank, we are audited heavily, and one of the questions the auditors ask is 'who has access in the virtual center?' and then we must justify why those people are given access. We needed to find a solution that would allow the users to be able to accomplish their tasks without granting them access to vCenter".
After trying other products that turned out to be too complex and time-consuming to implement, Great Western Bank chose Embotics vCommander. "The solution has moved the IT team away from doing repetitive, mundane tasks, and freed up time to focus on other higher-value operations," continued Baumgartner."The other great advantage is that we don't have to give anybody access to vCenter. We have three administrators in vCenter and that's it.
The previous process, explained Senior Systems Administrator Paul Ferguson, "was that a user would complete a form that was built on SharePoint, where they would have to put in all their details. But they would also have to separately put in an IT ticket to document the approvals. The SharePoint form just didn't really get a full sense of detail as far as what we were looking for, such as IPs, storage and memory required because every request tended to be different. In the end we would talk to them anyway to get the information we needed."
The request would take anywhere from two hours to a week to process. The request processing time has been reduced to an hour at most, depending on approvals.
To ensure there is a full audit trail, vCommander is integrated with ServiceDesk Plus from ManageEngine, so every system created can be tracked through its lifecycle.
The vCommander Service Portal was a big win for the Great Western Bank IT group. Due to the large number of servers that were appliance- or UNIX-based or even just command line driven, users were given access to VMware just to get a console session, which was an auditable item for the bank.
Now, users are self-sufficient and can issue the commands using the Service Portal."They can request a snapshot, additional CPU, memory, or disk, all without having to worry about opening tickets and asking for permission, because it's all built into the portal" explained Baumgartner.
"They can even get to the console, see their history and events. The more that they dig in, the more they discover just what they were missing before and how it's helping them take better responsibility over the resources."
"We've had server requests go through that we didn't have to manage, just because everything went through so smoothly. We just saw that there was a new server out there, and had the notification that it should be added to backup as part of our workflow" added Ferguson.
"The users who are most prolific in requesting new servers have expressed appreciation for the much simpler process."
Another benefit of implementing vCommander was the ability to show the cost of the systems being implemented."We've always had the challenge that everyone thinks that the resources are free" explained Baumgartner.
"You just ask for a new VM and you get it. The ability to start showing users costs upfront, as they're creating the request and as they are changing resources, allows them to see that for every action or request there are dollars tied to it. vCommander leverages itself to smaller lean organizations that don't have a large footprint of staff to do all these utilities. The biggest benefit to us is because we are a small team, this really does free us up."
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