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Benefits of Private Cloud for CCRM Services

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Software development and services are gaining importance in the energy service sector. All the major software, we see today, caters to niche service requirements. CCRM activities, where CCRM stands for Configuration, Change and Release Management, are the activities that are the primary deliverable in any services’ oriented projects. Read more about the critical role of cloud computing that can help the service providers reap tremendous benefits by improving quality as well as quantity of their CCRM activities.
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  White Paper    CCRM Services on Cloud   - Krishna Vaddadi   Benefits of Private Cloud for CCRM Services    Abstract   Configuration, Change and Release Management (CCRM) activities are the primary deliverables in any „Services‟ oriented   project. Cloud computing can help the Service Providers reap tremendous benefits by improving quality as well as quantity   of their CCRM activities.   This white paper endeavors to cover a brief explanation of CCRM services and the current state of CCRM services. The   author will also provide his views on migration of these services over private cloud along with the associated benefits of    this exercise.   www.infosys.com    Executive Overview   Power generation and demand is a primary facet of modern industry and hence the software development and services rendered   in the Energy (and Utilities) services sector gain utmost prominence. Majority of the software services in Energy (& Utilities) have   rapid development requirements with short development lifecycles and higher service availability; which makes the development   and provisioning of services a critical aspect in the business world. All the major software that are currently established in market   caters to niche service requirements. In this context it is very important to use the latest IMS tools and technologies to cater to the   requirements of Energy Companies.   There is blend of different tools used in the industry today, starting from software configuration management to deploying the   products and services on different environments with most of the industry prominent tools and software being in use. Information   Technology has enabled the Services industry to set new performance benchmarks by helping the organizations to deliver better and   timely services. As a result, Configuration, Change and Release Management (CCRM) activities  –  which are the primary deliverables of    service industry  –  have gained importance. With an increased focus on maximizing efficiency, Service Providers have been compelled   to raise the bar of their services. Cloud Computing can be a vital force in helping the Service Providers to improve the quality and   quantity of the CCRM services delivered.   This white paper endeavors to explore:   1. Traditionally rendered CCRM services   2. Applicability of CCRM services on private cloud   3. Providing the services on private cloud   4. Value Adds for Customers and Service Providers through migration to Private Cloud   Traditionally Rendered CCRM Services   Conventional tools or software used for providing CCRM services   in the current marketplace are largely based on client  –  server    model. These tools or software are compatible with all major    operating systems and the architecture involves a centralized   server which caters to various clients (Hub & Spoke). The client   connects to the server on a need basis, fetches the requested   information and provides services to the users.   This model however is restricted to users belonging to the   same domain group. Also, often client requests are limited by   many factors like customer‟s inadequate expertise with tools   and technologies, region or geography constraints, bandwidth   constraints, license limitations, infrastructure limitations, service   provisioning limitations, duration slippages etc. These limitations   may have a direct and significant impact on business revenues.   This impact could be in direct proportion to the number of    customers affected by the less than optimal service.   There are wide varieties of software / tools prevalent in market.   They are available from both open source and commercial streams   ranging from software configuration management to build &   deployment to planning or scheduling releases in the CCRM space.    All these tools / software as explained have limitations in one   aspect or the other; this restricts the companies from providing   an end - end solution for customer. The solution deployed on the   field is usually a combination of these software and tools along   with custom utilities for customer‟s BAU 1 .    Applicability of CCRM Services on Private Cloud   CCRM services, when delivered over a cloud environment can   resolve many of the limitations existing today in a domain   network. Cloud environment can help the CCRM Services generate   increased output with higher quality in limited time. To take a   simile from manufacturing industry  –  this scenario is similar to   output being increased by opting for bulk manufacturing.   Private cloud can resolve limitations of the current scenario in   the areas of security, infrastructure and service provisioning etc.   Private cloud does not require any additional hardware or software   support and can work with the tools that are used in conventional   environment. In-depth details on Public / Private Cloud feasibility   are provided in the appendix.   These traditionally rendered services can be increased manifold with   improved efficiency by exposing the services availability over private   cloud. To extend the services we can design / develop custom utilities   / plugin applications which can act as standalone components and   render the services (increase the reach of the services too).   Providing the Services on Private Cloud   Centers of Excellence from Infosys considered the following popular    software and installed them in a private cloud environment:   ã   ã   Popular configuration management software - IBM Rational   ClearCase.   Open source software configuration management tool -   SubVersion.   Open source applications build utility - NAnt.   1   Business as Usual   ã   2 | Infosys  –  White Paper     To extend the services provided by these software we have developed custom utilities (web services and standalone utilities) and deployed   them on private cloud along with the software installed.   Deployment and Installation Perspective   From deployment perspective of software on private cloud there is no major difference from a conventional setup because ultimately the   hardware specifications required by these software in private cloud are much similar to a conventional environment.   However from an installation perspective there will be slight changes required in the way application user permissions are assigned as the   access will be through network DMZ 2 VPC 3 catering specifically to the customer specifications. Common example being an administrative   user will also be required to be a part of web access users for allowing the user to launch the commands (and other functionalities of the   software) remotely over a private cloud.   Custom Utility Development / Enhancements   Infrastructure   Layer    Con guration Server    Build Server    Other ConventionalConventionaln   Tools / Applications Applicationsp   Conventional   Software / tools    Applications   Layer    Plug-ins / Web   service components   Subversion   tilityUtility   NAnt   ServiWeb Service   UserLayer    Users   1. We developed a web service and a custom utility to extend the basic services of Configuration Management and Software Build Creation   over private cloud infrastructure. The custom utility enhances software configuration management while the web service extends the   build creation process. These services as shown in above illustration sit in an intermediary application layer essentially acting as plug-in.   2. These plug-ins or web service components or utilities can extend the functionality of CCRM software (Subversion, ANT, Clearcase,   cruisecontrol…) installed on the infrastructure layer and continue to provide the same services. Many such utilities can be created and   plugged in on private cloud to expose the functionalities of the tools.   3. User will be able to use the Subversion (or Rational ClearCase) services through the Subversion utility. This utility will allow:   a. To accept the application files from user to create source code repository   b. To check-out a working copy into local machine (check-out happens over private cloud)   c. To work on the required changes and check-in the changes back into repository (check-in happens by user uploading the changed code)   4. User can choose to create the compiled output of the checked in changes using the NAnt web service utility. This web service can be   used as a standalone service too. When used independently the steps followed in NAnt utility in creating the builds are:   a. Upload the project for NAnt to compile it   b. Create a configuration build file for NAnt to compile the uploaded application   c. NAnt on the server compiles the source code and creates a final compiled application   d. User can download it to the required server    2   3   DMZ - Demilitarized zone - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMZ_(computing)   VPC  –  Virtual Private Cloud - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_cloud   Infosys  –  White Paper | 3    Subversion utility internally calls the NAnt web services to perform the build functionality   Both the utilities can be used independently of each other as per the requirement of usage. The functionalities of these utilities are elaborated   in the appendix   Benefits listed are not only of tremendous help to the IT team but also ensure a faster release process in a controlled environment. All this   ultimately reduces potential revenue loss which may come about due to schedule slippages.   Value Adds for Customers and Service Providers through migration to Private Cloud   Service providers can expect to reap the following benefits by installing CCRM tools/software over private cloud:   Increased service provisioning capabilities - Scalability is an inherent feature of cloud and this helps in increasing the service provisioning   by Service providers. This enables the Service Providers to provide more and better quality services within the same time thus, increasing   the business value.   On an average it has been observed from an internal training exercise that we can train minimum of 5 resources in single slot and make them   available for project on an immediate basis. This flexibility is not available in conventional setup.   Faster reach to market - Environment creation can be done in minimal time. This means, CCRM services can be deployed faster and reliably   each time. This, in turn, reduces the time required to launch changes into production which minimizes loss due to schedule slippage. Changes   or upgrades to the current state can also be saved.   Niche skills like faster environment creation, defined processes and automation concepts, application specific expertise all these and many   more metrics can be measured and shown as improvements   Private cloud has the ability to retain snapshots or view state; thus, time taken to recreate the required environment reduces to a few minutes   from a few hours in the conventional environment.   On an average from the scheduled reports it is observed that the environment creation time improved over 20%, and automation benefits   has increased the environment proving efficiency over 60%.   In-built Security - Since private cloud is more secure than public cloud, customer security and data integrity issues are taken care of. Additional   expenses related to customer‟s data security need not be incurred.   Following benefits are seen with Infosys providing the CCRM services:   ã   ã   ã   ã   Certified training and extensive onboarding experience both in technology and resources, hence can upscale / downscale the training   requirements as per the project requirements   Efficient environment creation processes and standards defined thus saving time on scheduled slippages    Automation snippets reduce errors due to manual intervention and also financial losses    Application specific expertise readily available   Few Indirect (additional) benefits:   ã   ã   ã   Center of excellences gain to increase niche skills with participation in larger engagements   Internal communication(s) with different teams are clearly demarcated because of involvement of multiple stake holders   Custom utilities and customer specific products can also be tried and tested within the same environments thus, reducing infrastructure   cost to customers   Conclusion   Providing the conventional CCRM services over private cloud can result in significant benefits to customer as well as vendor.   The Vendor can collate multiple best practices from each engagement and publish the analysis.   Customers stand to gain many benefits like getting relieved of infrastructure issues and pains, reduced OPEX and CAPEX and   relief from issues like security, disaster management, licensing etc…   4 | Infosys  –  White Paper   
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