BlogAdvanced Vector Automation (AVA) – Lowering the Risk of Cloud Configuration Drift

Just saw this article on TechRepublic – Ansible overtakes Chef and Puppet as the top cloud configuration management tool – and thought it was worth sharing. It seems like every organization has adopted configuration management. It got me wondering if they are happy with their choice. Our latest offering, Advanced Vector Automation (AVA), is a fully supported Ansible based configuration tool that I know any organization would love to have.

Organizations are embracing multi-cloud, using close to five clouds on average, according to the RightScale 2019 State of the Cloud report from Flexera, published Wednesday. Some 84% of enterprises now have a multi-cloud strategy, and 66% have a central cloud team in place, the report found.

The report surveyed 786 respondents, 58% of which work in enterprises of over 1,000 employees. Though Amazon Web Services (AWS) still holds the majority of public cloud adoptions with 61% of organizations using it, Microsoft Azure is steadily catching up, at 52%, the report and their sister site ZDNet noted. Google Cloud Platform remains a far third place at 19%, according to the report.

Increased cloud adoption has led more organizations to explore configuration management tools. Automated configuration management was one of the early drivers of the DevOps movement, and allows developer and testing teams to more rapidly create products. When done correctly, configuration management is a powerful tool for operations teams, with the potential to eliminate the need to configure servers by hand.

Here are the most popular configuration tools used by both enterprises and SMBs, according to the report:

  1. Ansible – 41% of respondents
  2. Chef – 37%
  3. Puppet – 37%
  4. Terraform – 31%
  5. Salt – 18%

As we position AVA to tackle the problem of configuration drift, it’s worth noting its unique offering:

  • Instant Automation: Executable automations on the first day, with the hard work done for you. AVA extracts all configuration data from the enterprise using agentless Ansible playbooks and provides Ready Automate Modules – AVA modules provide automations for complex platforms like VMware, AWS, and Nutanix, just to name a few.
  • Extracted Service Configurations: AVA extracts the existing configurations from hypervisors and bare metal solutions and creates JSON configuration records that describe how infrastructure is implemented. The collected configuration data is referenced and compared against new updated configurations. This means online documentation of system configuration is always in-sync with the actual production configurations.
  • Visibility and Accuracy: Utilizing AVA ensures that service configurations are stored in a ‘Golden Copy’ database and are verified against change control processes. Once a configuration is ratified, a JSON coded system configuration of any given service can be re-provisioned with confidence in its accuracy and freedom from defects. This increases efficiency and decreases time lost due to human error.
  • Multi-Cloud Capabilities: Understanding that environments have services running in the cloud and on-premises, Operations teams need a solution that’s cloud independent. AVA is multi-cloud aware and capable. Service extractions can be performed for any virtualized environment, including AWS and Azure virtual machines and network configurations. Once a configuration has been extracted and converted to JSON, the environment can be re-provisioned in any of the supported virtualization platforms.
  • Consistent Secure Process: When your IT process is automated, it becomes deterministic, and quality and reliability will rise. In addition to creating time savings and increased accuracy, a reduction in security risks is created by ensuring best practices and processes are always followed. The automated system enforces policy and process without user participation. AVA can store your encrypted administration passwords and can change them automatically daily, thus eliminating the need for humans to ever know this security token.

AVA empowers IT Operations teams to manage large implementations, as well as predict infrastructure and application issues before they arise. Using AVA to manage this configuration drift risk and provide a safety net will eliminate outages that should never occur.

For more information on AVA, download our whitepaper – The Fundamental Concepts and Top Considerations for AIOps.

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About the Author

Mark Teter

Mark Teter, Corporate Technologist

In his role, Mark is responsible for the strategic direction of ASG’s emerging technology offerings and advancing the deployment of present-day hybrid cloud solutions for our customers. Mark has served as Faculty Staff Member at Colorado State University and has written over 50 white papers on subjects including Data Center Ethernet, Linux and Open Source, Storage Area Networks and Computer Virtualization. He published Paradigm Shift in 2006, a book on emerging technologies. He is a Google Certified Professional Cloud Architect.