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We are seeing more and more companies introduce new products which help bring cloud management and simplicity to on-premises infrastructure. One key feature that must be available is the ability for application owners and DevOps teams to self-provision their own infrastructure to easily deploy new applications. This sounds great in theory, but what does it mean?

What is a self-service infrastructure?
With a self-service infrastructure product teams and application owners can rapidly and reliably provision and maintain their application infrastructure without depending on IT operations teams.

This is important because in traditional infrastructure settings, the application owner usually relies on the IT administrator to carve out a slice of infrastructure before they can deploy a new application or scale an existing application. This can take a significant amount of time depending on how many infrastructure teams must be involved as provisioning requires a series of management actions independent administrative and security domains, often by different teams.

What if the application owner were able to control when and how much infrastructure was needed without relying on an IT administrator? That would undoubtedly be much simpler. Plus, the infrastructure team wouldn’t need to worry as the application owner would just pull from a list of curated templates which provide guardrails for application owners, making the entire process error-proof.

What does a self-service infrastructure provide? 
Anyone can say that their product is simpler to manage, but the only way to achieve ultimate management simplicity is by leveraging the ease and simplicity of the public cloud on-prem and self-service infrastructure provisioning is a part of that.

Faster initial time-to-deployment
The key to achieving this is through an API-first approach which allows the application owner to control every single aspect of their data and that starts with provisioning. I mentioned earlier that in a true self-service model, application owners have access to a service catalog of application templates that they can choose from to make the entire process error-proof. That means application owners can pick the template they want and simply deploy their application.

We compare the idea of self-service infrastructure provisioning to a buffet menu. First, the application owners can pick the application they want to deploy: Kubernetes, VMware, Linux, etc. Next, they pick the number of servers they need: 4, 8, etc. Then, voila! They have their own set of infrastructure provisioned for their selected application at their selected scale.

Ongoing operational simplicity with easy automation
Not only do self-service models make deploying applications error-proof, but they also drastically reduce the ongoing complexity of managing application infrastructure for application owners. The reason being that provisioning infrastructure is complex—there really is no other way to put it. There is a reason why infrastructure requires specific administrators: storage, server, network, etc. Storage administrators, specifically have years of experience navigating the obstacles that provisioning storage can pose, and it is a skill most application owners don’t need (or want) to have. This makes automating legacy 3-tier architectures a brittle process as it is highly dependent on each environment’s particular combination of storage array, switch type, and host application server.

With a true self-service provisioning model, application owners can also enjoy the benefits of easy automation. They can easily extend their provisioning workflows and, in as little as 15 minutes, deploy a production-ready Kubernetes cluster. Plus, application owners don’t need to worry about the most basic infrastructure maintenance operations as they’re done automatically. This includes keeping your management stack tailored to the scale of your environment, keeping it up to date, and ensuring that the right people are informed about infrastructure issues. It’s all possible with automation and self-service infrastructure provisioning.

Need help picking the right self-service infrastructure?
If you are looking to gain cloud management ease and simplicity on-prem, then it sounds like self-service is the right answer. To find out more about the ins and outs of self-service infrastructure provisioning and what to look for when buying, download the guide at the link below!

Download the self-service infrastructure buyer’s guide

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Tobias Flitsch

Principle Product Manager

Tobias Flitsch has been working in enterprise data storage for more than 10 years. As a former solution architect and technical product manager, Tobias focused on various different scale-up and scale-out file and object storage solutions, big data, and applied machine learning. At Nebulon, his product management focus is on understanding and solving customer challenges with large-scale infrastructure.