When we set out to create a next-generation cloud-based solution to streamline IT operations management (ITOM) for enterprises around the globe, several questions were at play in the decision. First, is the ITOM market, historically one of the laggards in accepting cloud-based tools for deep infrastructure management, ready to finally make the transition to cloud? Second, would our choice of cloud vendor impact our ability to create a working solution in a timely manner and promote customer adoption? Lastly, what cloud provider would be eager to not only help get the solution off the ground but also ensure continued innovation for years to come?
Over the past four years, Zenoss as a Service (ZaaS) has been our fastest-growing customer option, and as the need to scale IT operations teams has grown more difficult with the introductions of IoT, containers, etc., the cloud has become the only viable way to manage large IT ecosystems. The success of ZaaS has led a natural progression to build the ultimate intelligent IT operations management platform, incorporating elastic scale for ingest, policy-based processing, multimode multitenancy, machine learning and, eventually, artificial intelligence (AI) — all paving the way to a fully autonomous data center. For this exciting venture, Zenoss has chosen to partner with Google Cloud, and with the launch of Zenoss Cloud well underway, here’s some background on how and why we chose this path.
Time to Market
Successfully launching any new ITOM product is a slippery notion due to the competitive nature of the market as well as the common bootstrapping dilemma of achieving an MVP before confidence runs dry. In addition, an enterprise platform of this nature has complexity well above a typical e-commerce site in terms of open APIs and volume of inbound/outbound data flows. In Google Cloud Platform (GCP), orchestration and management of streaming data clusters are mostly handled using serverless resources, ranging from simple container management (GKE) all the way to the elastic storage (Bigtable) that Google uses for Gmail and other popular services. Since GCP services utilize the same APIs found in their sister Apache open-source projects, our engineering teams are able to utilize emulators and local instances with lower cost and higher productivity. Bluntly, GCP’s combination of native services allows our engineering and operations teams to focus less on managing prerequisites, which results in more end-user functionality.
Google consumer services have used AI at scale for years, and as an “AI-first” company, this innovation pours straight into GCP. Simply put, GCP was built with data streaming as a first-order entity with machine learning and AI capabilities as differentiators over competing vendors. When studied in a piecemeal fashion, some of GCP’s individual services may appear to be similar in capabilities as the other leading cloud vendors, but the manner in which GCP services work in harmony with one another is a distinguishing advantage. Zenoss Cloud utilizes machine learning capabilities at launch to help identify anomalies in ITOM-based machine data, and Zenoss Cloud is architected to leverage advanced AI capabilities of Google Cloud Machine Learning Engine in the coming weeks.
Cost and Security
Comparing costs across public cloud providers is a mind-boggling exercise — even for a data scientist. However, GCP’s cost structure is ideally aligned with that of the never-ending data streams emulating from an IT operations environment. With per-second billing and auto-applied discounts, Zenoss focuses engineering efforts on customer value instead of how to regulate costs. GCP’s global private network with default encryption at every layer lowers costs while ensuring customer data is protected at rest and in motion. While an entire essay could be written about GCP’s strong security stance, we’ll summarize by noting GCP’s across-the-board FedRAMP certification(s) and bulletproof security down to the chip — all of which align perfectly with finance, government and MSP expectations.
Partnering for the Future
GCP is currently targeted at large enterprises, which require more than simple infrastructure as a service — and this direction corresponds well with the customer base for which Zenoss provides solutions. In addition, retail customers, who are not eager to feed their competition, consider GCP the Switzerland of the big three cloud vendors. And for Zenoss, GCP represents a full-fledged partner apart from a mere vendor relationship. Zenoss Cloud customers utilizing our intelligent IT operations management platform can take advantage of native GCP integrations in ways not previously feasible with legacy ITOM tools. Incorporated with Zenoss’ existing technology inside of GCP, which favors open APIs and a propensity for open source, operators are always able to say “yes” to their end users without the overhead of managing the management tool.
With Zenoss Cloud, Zenoss has taken a compelling step toward legitimate software-defined IT operations, and our bold vision is to provide the ultimate intelligent IT operations management platform to allow companies to seamlessly accelerate into autonomous IT operations at their own paces. As part of our unified approach, Zenoss continues to provide multicloud management capabilities across AWS, Azure and GCP, and we are innovating across an even larger set of operations targets with the addition of ad hoc data acceptance for containers, microservices and the like alongside our existing agentless capabilities. For a demo or to talk with a Zenoss representative about how you can start automating your IT operations, contact us here.