Automated cost allocation in IT environments

Automated cost allocation in IT environments

Access to data on fees for the use of IT systems allows you to answer the question “How much does it cost?”. But with the help of a module, where you can find reports and billing statements, you will also be able to make key decisions about your IT environment. The module will prove equally invaluable when looking for savings, planning a budget or when you want to compare offers from different suppliers.

Why is it worth accounting for costs in IT environments?

The answer to this question is simple. Each participant in the process wants to know how much and for what exactly they are paying. It can be assumed with a high degree of certainty that the question “How much will it cost me?” is going to be raised at some stage of decision making (e.g. budget planning for a new system). It is important to determine at the outset whether migration to a new environment will generate savings for the business.

Cost allocation in IT environments can be considered from two points of view: from the IT infrastructure owner’s standpoint and from the perspective of the end user or the ordering party.

Benefits to owners or suppliers of infrastructure

What will the owner or supplier of IT infrastructure gain thanks to the implementation of the VMware vRealize Operations Manager (vROPS) module and a payment policy in VMware vRealize Automation (vRA)?

The most important benefits include:

  • Defining a pricing policy flexibly – it can be individually negotiated, while also taking into account the type of application, environment (production, test, development), as well as location.
  • Options to verify the current pricing policy based on financial performance.
  • Access to reports which allow you to identify entities generating the highest costs.
  • If the contractor has access to official price lists of other cloud providers, it is possible to perform comparative simulations for a single application or a given client.
  • An option to generate reports and statements of charges which can be attached to end-of-month invoices.
  • Fees for using a virtual machine are automatically determined based on the costs associated with the cloud infrastructure (e.g. for internal entities that use the same infrastructure).

Benefits to end users or purchasing entities

How can a company ordering or using a cloud environment take advantage of access to cost information?

End users can:

  • make informed decisions on whether to continue using or to opt out of services based on quantified cost and fees data, such as reports and detailed views;
  • check accounts on an ongoing basis in any time interval, e.g. daily, monthly or yearly;
  • compare charges over a given billing period, e.g. annually;
  • estimate its daily or monthly cost when planning a new system;
  • easily plan the budget for the coming months;
  • analyse the fees for cloud environment and compare them with the official price lists of other providers;
  • look for savings on the CPU/Memory/Storage level if it turns out that the current architecture of the environment is overestimated in relation to the actual needs;
  •  easily control expenses at the level of a particular, internal entity or application thanks to constant access to statements of current charges.

How do we do it at INDEVOPS?

Defining a pricing policy

Formulating a pricing policy underlines our operations within vRealize Automation. This is the very policy that enables us to settle entities precisely. It includes rates for CPU/Memory/Storage and any additional services (such as the use of licenses or IT support).

In the case of complex systems with very large budgets, an approval of senior management is often required on the part of the client. In such situations, we define a pricing policy which subjects the deployment of a new system to its price.

Cost dashboards for infrastructure owners

We utilise vRealize Operations Manager as a cost, reporting and billing module. All expenses that the owner of cloud infrastructure incurs in connection with its maintenance are entered into the cost module. These may include licence purchases, charges for electricity used e.g. for cooling servers, insurance, IT support services, purchasing software and additional applications, creating backups, renting space in the server room, etc.

The reports we prepare contain a summary of costs per single virtual machine, host, cluster, data center or location. Service providers can quickly see what the profit-to-cost ratio is, which allows them to measure and analyse business profitability and make informed decisions about further investments.

Billing information for final users

Final customers using the vROPS module have access to statements where they can check the current amount of fees on an ongoing basis. In this module, they can also view the number of systems currently running, along with the costs generated by them.

Billing statements are also very helpful when systems have been overestimated at the design stage and savings are required. The module gives end customers access to historical data, thanks to which they can compare charges from different settlement periods.

This part of the module also includes official price lists of the largest cloud providers operating on the market, such as Amazon (AWS), Microsoft (Azure), Google (GCP) – this is a valuable source of information for people who want to compare service offers.

Do you already know why allocating costs to virtual machines is one of the most important aspects of IT automation? If you have any questions about it, please get in touch.

We will be happy to help!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Wishing you a joyous holiday and a wonderful, healthy and peaceful year ahead that is filled with good friends, lots of sunshine, and fantastic times!
May the coming year 2022 be full of grand adventures and bursting with fulfilling and exciting opportunities that bring you much success.

Why should you automate your IT?

Why should you automate your IT?

A company without IT has no chance of development – it is supported both by simple solutions such as cash registers and extensive infrastructures with an international reach. However, development means an increase in the amount of tasks related to IT maintenance. Check how to replace manual work with automatic tools that will give your company new development opportunities.

Is it the right time to implement automation in your company?

In the growth of any organization, there comes a point when manually operating systems becomes too time-consuming.

Single simple but tedious tasks are not a big problem for administrators. However, if they start doing this work for dozens or hundreds of employees, it may turn out that they lack the time for implementations that allows the company to grow.

Your company is planning to introduce new products or increase employment? This is a good time to select areas that can undergo IT automation.

From tedious work to one click – how does automation improve the work of IT administrators?

Administrators spend a large part of their time managing employee accounts. Setting up such an account requires a number of steps: logging into many websites, e.g. to an internal account database, teleconference or chat services, e-mail, training platforms, and a platform for supporting benefit cards.

Increasing the disk capacity for the application server can also be such a time-consuming task. The administrator must log in to the virtualizer, manually increase the disk capacity, log in to the virtual machine separately, and then enter the command appropriate for the operating system.

What does the performance of these tasks look like once automation has been implemented in the company? From the administrator’s side, it only requires clicking the “Submit” button. All the work they had to do manually until now is done somewhat behind the scenes, based on predefined procedures.

Use automation where you need it

Looking to streamline processes in your company? Here are some examples from different areas:

  • IT support – providing virtual desktops without manual intervention – help for employees who are not technically advanced.
  • Information flow in the company – introduction of the approval system: the order of goods is prepared by the warehouse worker, but to be placed, it must be approved by the manager. The decision-maker no longer has to define the parameters on his/her own – they are loaded from the prepared order.
  • Creating a “world management center”, i.e. a common interface – such a solution makes it easier to use different environments, for example when configuring virtual machines at different cloud service providers.
  • Placing orders – automatic systems allow you to order goods from suppliers who currently offer them at the lowest price.

Discover the benefits of IT automation for your company

By automating IT processes, you free up corporate resources – Your administrators can focus on implementing innovations, instead of spending the lion’s share of their work on performing other simple and repetitive activities. IT automation is also a way to optimize costs – the current team is enough to operate IT systems, without the need to appoint additional human resources.

By using tools that replace the manual work of your IT team, you can also ensure consistent standards across the company. Then you avoid, for example, problems with missing accounts for employees or differences in partition format on virtual machines.

Check how we remove obstacles to development by implementing automation tools. Contact us and we will present our solutions to you!

Your most precious asset? Knowledge!

Your most precious asset? Knowledge!

During a time when some lived in a barrel and were creating a school of cynicism (Diogenes of Sinope), others made first attempts to define what is knowledge (Plato, Socrates). Long over 2000 years later, as a result of many extensive deliberations by other wise men of this world, it was concluded that knowledge is a whole of reliable information about reality along with the ability to use it. For business, knowledge means profit.

Learn and learn because education is a key to power”- the provocative polish adage that our guardians used to say, that is still a nightmare for some of us from our childhood leaves no doubt. Accumulation and skillful usage of knowledge pays off. Knowledge is the most valuable human asset and it’s important (not only for our guardians but for ourselves as well) to systematize, document and nurture. Every day there are situations in which there is a strong need to learn something new, obtain reliable information, broaden horizons and take advantage of the knowledge and experience of others.

Sources of knowledge

In the age of the internet where in a second users of the global network have access to knowledge that a medieval man would not achieve through his whole life. Sources of knowledge, i.e. documentation, blogs, reports, dedicated websites, and reference websites such as Wikipedia, are available at your fingertips (thanks to smartphones, tablets, and notebooks). Unfortunately, too often the quality and content of easily accessible knowledge are too poor to rely on.

However, looking for it in different places can be time-consuming and often doesn’t bring desired results. What can we do in such a situation? We can, and even we should create our own knowledge base. As its owners, we can confirm that maintaining our own knowledge base is a key to fast providing value and solutions to customers, which results in profits.

Knowledge as team’s shared resource 

Imagine a situation where your employee disappears. His project has been completed and closed, all the ways have been paved. Or even worse – the project hits a dead-end and requires a reaction. What do you do? You check emails! Millions of emails, first yours… then your employee… well, it didn’t help.

Now you start calling! You make long calls to people who are involved and ask for status. That didn’t help either. What now? You delegate the task! Perhaps someone else will be more efficient. It might help, but how long will it take? Tomorrow, that relegated employee might disappear as well. How much time and stress does it cost you?

What if you could collect all of your team’s knowledge in such a way that all of your employees can have access to information gathered by other team members? All of the tasks’ statuses in one place, with full access to the team’s knowledge from their desktops. It’s possible!

Your own knowledge base will allow you to:

  • Save your time – so you can focus on a task, and not on searching and verifying information
  • Improve communication between team members – so everyone can share their knowledge and benefit from the experience of others
  • Standardization of processes – so you can easily onboard new employees and so your company can grow
  • Increase the quality of the service and advantage over the competitors – so everyone can make profit from solutions applied earlier and carry out tasks better and faster

Proven solution

It’s called Easy Redmine. it’s our investment in peace and guarantee of efficient information flow. We have been using this tool for many years now for our own knowledge base. It’s an invaluable experience which in a systematic and standardized manner allows the realization of new projects based on previous ones in accordance with the best practice.

Our knowledge base is automatically created during every task. If at that point there are substantial or organizational scope errors they are easily detectable and the potential cost of repairs is the lowest possible. Basically, thanks to updating and archiving the task every new employee is able to take over the task much faster than if he had done it by himself from the beginning.

Sharing knowledge, cooperation, and shared responsibility, but also a good organization of our own work are the four most important foundations of Indevops.

Work with specialists who use knowledge base to guarantee  standardisation of set-up as well as swift implementation of your projects so you don’t have to worry about their progress!

Get to know one of the elements to increase security in your company!

Get to know one of the elements to increase security in your company!

How many websites do you use? In how many banks do you have an account?
Do you have the same password everywhere?
Where do you keep your passwords: on a piece of paper by your monitor, in a notebook, in a text file?
Aren’t you afraid of your bank account or a dating site being hacked?

We often hear about data leaks, accounts being hacked or users’ passwords databases being exposed online.

Reports on this industry websites that promote safety:

You probably use at least a dozen or even several dozen websites and you may not even remember how many there are. In most of them you have the same, or slightly different, password set. You haven’t changed it for a long time. Your passwords are uncomplicated, i.e. Pawel@1969 or Blok@da123. Additionally, some of them probably concern your company’s services.
What is it if not asking for problems that may or may not have very serious consequences? Especially in the case of companies or organisations where you have access to applications that contain very sensitive data.

How can you protect yourself against this?

The simplest solution is to use a password manager, which is available free of charge for users.

A good password manager has the following features:

  • encrypts the password database with your password to log in to the site (changing your password re-encrypts the password database, but losing the password makes passwords unrecoverable),
  • downloads the encrypted password database locally to your device,
  • has applications for Windows PC, Linux, MacOS and also for Android and iOS phones,
  • allows you to test your password database for data leaks on websites e.g. https://haveibeenpwned.com/,
  • allows you to test passwords in the database in terms of their strength so that you can correct it,
  • has a strong password generator,
  • has add-ons and applications that automatically fill in login fields for applications and websites without the need to copy and enter them manually

Using Password Manager has only benefits:

  • guarantees that you don’t have to remember many passwords,
  • you only remember one complicated password, which you do not share with anyone,
  • generates passwords that are not easy to guess,
  • does not require entering a password, so peeking at the keyboard while logging in does nothing

We have been using Password Manager ourselves since the beginning of the company, and we make sure that all passwords are generated strong. We keep both our and our clients’ passwords, and periodically verify that they are strong and haven’t been stolen.
Of course, there are other mechanisms for ensuring secure access to accounts, such as using Social Media Logins or advanced Privileged Identity Management solutions, but that’s another topic.