Core to Intility’s belief is that a business’ success is based on its ability to support satisfied and productive employees. Thanks to a rapidly increasing customer base this belief was being challenged internally at Intility. With more customers followed more VMs, and with the toolbox they had at the time, this meant a lot of manual configuration steps. Much of the complexity originated from the fact that Intility is a cloud service provider and therefore they’re not simply cloning an empty server, but instead deploying servers that have to adhere to strict business logic, hardening and setup for the specific customer tenant with any customizations they might have.
In addition, their environment that was historically very Windows centric was now becoming more cross platform, needing a tool that would address this shift. The system for provisioning servers at the time was far from ideal. When the Windows installation was finished, a technician would have to manually go through the rest of the setup of the server. This whole process would take 45 ~ 60 minutes per server and required 1-2 dedicated technicians working full time. Intility knew that in order to scale, they needed to minimize the number of snowflakes and manual tasks as well as finding an automation solution that could meet the needs of both their Windows and Linux environments.
After evaluating several tools for OS configuration management and automation, Intility chose Chef. Key reasons why they chose Chef included Chef’s infrastructure as code approach to automation, ability to automate both Windows and Linux, ability to easily sync CMDB data with Chef and added compliance capabilities. By adopting a technology agnostic codified approach to configuration automation, Intility was able to eliminate snowflakes and use the same process for deploying both Windows and Linux servers. After implementing Chef, Intility was able to reduce the amount of time to deploy a new server from 1 hour to 5 minutes. Now all the business logic and set-up data are stored in Git and Intility’s CMDB which is then synced with Chef. This has also enabled Intility to develop a self-service portal in which anyone can request a server and have it up and running within 5 minutes.
By eliminating and running the same compliance checks consistently across all systems, Intility has been able to spend less time troubleshooting and doing remediation on systems. Now, what fails and passes is the same across environments, making it much easier to validate system status and fix any issues they might have. As a result of implementing Chef, supporting staff has been allowed to focus on more important matters, automate more things and save time elsewhere. Even more exciting - by increasing their levels of automation adoption and benchmark reporting they have been able to win bigger clients with higher security standards.
- Productivity Gains: Full time resources are no longer needed to support the configuration of servers and the time to set-up a server went from 1 hour to 5 minutes.
- Agility: A self-service portal was created that enables anyone that needs a server to get one easily and fast.
- Consistency: Intility has gained increased confidence in how both Windows and Linux servers are configured and been able to accelerate their adoption of automation and move toward continuous delivery.