With digital transformation accelerating globally, almost half of organisations (44%) are still trying to figure out how to get started with cloud-native apps.1
At Discovery, a financial services company based in South Africa, developers are asking more of the IT organisation. Modern Apps managed by modern cloud management solutions are helping IT step up.
“Things have changed being an essential IT operation,” explained Johan Marais, senior platform services manager at Discovery, during the VMware Explore Modern Apps keynote in September. “Cloud has asked us to do a tonne more. We also play this role of broker for the cloud to our customers because we have to enable them to self-service but at the same time provide guardrails to keep the company and our customer data safe.”
To serve its 14 business units globally, Discovery now operates a platform team in conjunction with its security teams and traditional IS teams for a 24x7 operation that’s evolving daily to keep pace. Marais said the team looks after about 10,000 traditional server instances and close to 50 Kubernetes clusters across multiple clouds.
“We don't just run on-premises. We are operating four public cloud offerings out there for various reasons…and we do this with a team of seven people,” he said.
VMware Cloud Management solutions, unified as VMware Aria, are in place to support his team’s challenges with:
- Cost management: In the early days of its cloud adoption, VMware Aria Cost powered by CloudHealth played a key role in improving Discovery’s service offering by allowing the company to visualise costs—not just one cloud provider’s but multiple cloud providers’ and multiple costs—in context for its business units. Now, Marais said, “They can on a daily basis understand where their money is going and what they're doing with it.”
- Security and automation: VMware Aria Automation for Secure Clouds helped Discovery with public-cloud posture assessment. With rapid cloud growth and adoption, the problem was getting out of hand much quicker than the company anticipated, explained Marais. As part of its modern apps journey, “We also used things like VMware Aria Automation and Code Stream to help us automate the processes we found problematic.”
- Operations: For Discovery, VMware Aria solutions are providing both insights as to how well the organisation’s vSAN environment is performing as well as Kubernetes. “We abstracted all the matrix and all the monitoring for that into (VMware) observability because it's more aligned to that kind of practice,” said Marais. “Giving the teams insight into everything that they have to deal with is key for us because we have to react with a small team and the more information we have, the better.”
Discovery is looking forward to exploring more about what VMware Aria Hub powered by VMware Aria Graph—centralised views and controls powered by a graph-based data store that captures the resources and relationships of a multi-cloud environment—can do to help the company tell a business story. “It's part of our responsibility to offer a more enhanced experience for our customers internally,” concluded Marais.
In describing the next chapter in multi-cloud management, VMware’s Purnima Padmanabhan said VMware Aria has been “purpose-built with the needs of cloud-native applications and public clouds in mind.”
VMware Aria is aligned around customer-specific business outcomes—cost, performance, security configuration and speeding application delivery—delivering a full view of environments and applications across various clouds and various platforms, including VMware Clouds. She described three new solutions built on top of the platform: Aria Migration, Aria Guardrails and Aria Business Insights.
Learn more at https://www.vmware.com/products/aria.html.
 VMware FY23 Q1 Executive Pulse, April 2022.