Rackspace Technology standardizes build documentation and provisioning process across AWS, Azure and Google environments
Faced with fragmented tools and processes, Rackspace Technology leverage Microsoft Azure to simplify multicloud enablement with a standardized set of tools.
With over 20 years of managed hosting experience, Rackspace Technology is a global technology company focused on consulting, implementation and managed services.
“We started looking at how can we create a uniform, standard build document that worked for everybody.”
The obstacles they faced
It’s always nice to have a choice. And when it comes to public cloud considerations, companies today have several great options. They can choose to go with Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft® Azure® — or any combination of these in a multicloud cloud solution — to take advantage of vendor-specific tools that allow them to optimize workload performance.
But a multicloud solution can also lead to siloed processes. Google, AWS and Azure all have their own bespoke processes, which, for Rackspace Technology, required the management of information across three different teams. In addition, each used its own delivery format: one team would submit an Excel spreadsheet, another a Visio chart and another a PDF. This meant someone would then need to manually process this information and enter it into another system, so it could move to the next step in the process.
A happy build engineer enjoys spending their time working on requirements and polishing the functionality of a future cloud environment to ensure it’s the best it can be. Unfortunately, Rackspace Technology found that an inordinate amount of build engineer time was being spent navigating the myriad processes that arose through the integration and management of a multicloud environment.
“The actual documents that a build engineer received differed,” explained Jeffrey Patton, Devops Engineer III at Rackspace Technology. “An AWS build document was actually a PDF file. Google was an Excel file, and Azure had two files: one Visio and one Excel. And within that sometimes you’ll have differences between the U.S. and other regions.”
“Now, what used to take four hours takes about an hour and a half. We’ve reduced the process significantly to help get things out the door faster.”
How we helped
Rackspace Technology engineers began to examine ways to leverage their expertise to build one document that works across all of the hyperscale cloud platforms.
“We started by creating a document that had the same look and feel for each cloud platform,” explained Patton. “This document was designed to capture all the information that was required for the build to work, regardless of the platform. So, for Azure, we required information about the subscription. For AWS, information about the account. And for Google, information about the project.”
This meant first consolidating all of the input fields from the spreadsheets, Visio charts and PDFs into a single spreadsheet. Rackspace Technology then created scripts that could take that spreadsheet data and automatically generate the required files and templates. To wrap it all up, the project team created a new user interface, as it had received feedback that entering information into a spreadsheet had been a pain point. Now, build engineers don’t need to interact with Excel on the front end.
Through this new process, Rackspace Technology can take a new customer and deploy 90% of their environment in a matter of hours.
What we achieved together
As a result of this new streamlined workflow, Rackspace Technology has been able to:
- Take a process that used to take 5-10 days and reduce it down to a day or less
- Improve accuracy and generate a 60% reduction in re-work
- Free engineers from tedious manual tasks so they can focus on fine-tuning
- Create a standard, consistent, repeatable process that ultimately helps us be as flexible as we need to be
“And these are native tools for Microsoft,” explains Patton. “You're not patching together a series of third-party tools to get this done. These are all tools that everyone has access to.”
About Rackspace Technology
Rackspace Technology is the multicloud solutions expert. We combine our expertise with the world’s leading technologies — across applications, data and security — to deliver end-to-end solutions. We have a proven record of advising customers based on their business challenges, designing solutions that scale, building and managing those solutions, and optimizing returns into the future.
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