Quali: DevOps in a Cloud Sandbox

Lior Koriat, CEO In the digital economy, every company wants to move at the speed of a ‘software’ company,” points out Lior Koriat, CEO, Quali. From the DeepQA software that powers IBM Watson to the navigation apps delivered on smartphones, the flooding tide of software tools across industries is virtually limitless. The ensuing competition to quickly roll out newer software across the enterprise or to the consumer is driving developers to streamline traditional siloed processes to expedite software delivery and service. The move to hybrid cloud and new application architectures are further propelling modern IT and accelerating the pace of change. As organizations overhaul tools, processes, methodologies and even culture to deal with this, the practice of DevOps has gained mainstream attention globally. “DevOps is all about speeding up the ‘time-to-market’ to enable ‘fast IT’ without making it ‘reckless IT,’” states Koriat. Grabbing the baton of responsibility in automating and accelerating several critical elements of the DevOps and BizOps lifecycle is Quali, a prodigy that has fast established itself as a differentiated player in this rapidly evolving landscape.

“Quali’s cloud sandbox solution for DevOps and BizOps is very effective in breaking down functional barriers without disturbing the functions themselves. It allows organizations to implement a seamless process across the siloed groups,” Koriat asserts. Quali focuses on turning development and test environments into a service. “We achieve that by bringing together the necessary infrastructure, tools and applications and rendering it into a fully automated environment; this is what we call a ‘sandbox.’ ” At its core, a sandbox is a personal replica of the production environment that each developer, test expert or IT Ops administrator can access and run on demand as-a-service, without disrupting the overall workflow. Sandboxes allow development and testing to be performed in an environment that resembles the actual environment where the service or application will eventually be deployed. These are meant to be setup and torn down dynamically allowing for accelerated Dev/ Test, better resource utilization and significantly lower costs vs. traditional methods. Putting its hallmark on DevOps, Quali has on-ramped its sandbox solution for on-premise and hybrid cloud deployments supporting application and infrastructure stacks anywhere.

Quali’s indigenous cloud sandbox software—CloudShell—was originally developed as a means to automate the creation of network configurations on-the-fly. It has fast evolved to now support all infrastructure components—physical or virtual—as well as applications to allow “full-stack” sandboxes. In addition to automating Dev/Test, other use cases include sophisticated lab automation, multi-tenant demos, training, proof-of-concepts as well as sandboxes for Developer and ISV ecosystems. “Quali’s 350+ customers span cloud providers, service providers, telcos, technology vendors and several enterprises including several of the Global 100,” said Lior.


DevOps is all about speeding up the ‘time-to-market’ to enable ‘fast IT’ without making it ‘reckless IT’



The Anatomy of CloudShell

CloudShell is built with the ability to model diverse deployments in a sandbox, enabling organizations to quickly and safely deliver data and applications. Enterprises are evolving from on-premise data centers to hybrid cloud deployments with applications anywhere and “anything-as-a-service”; CloudShell preps up organizations in times of these changing horizons.

Under the hood, Quali’s cloud sandboxes follow the pragmatic routine of ‘model, orchestrate, and deploy.’ The approach begins by creating a blueprint of the customer’s software development architecture and the myriad structural components surrounding it—via self-service portals. Following which, “we provide or create, replicated models for the entire production environment with sophisticated reservation mechanisms for the entire L1-L7 stack including switches, servers, converged and hyper-converged infrastructures, in addition to a number of private and public cloud environments like VMware vCenter, OpenStack AWS and Azure,” Koriat elaborates. By combining the replicas with the orchestrated DevOps workflow, Quali’s CloudShell ‘blueprints’ and sandboxes allow individual developers and testers access to a more holistic environment.

Quali works closely with its customers to ensure their technology implementation and business metrics are on track. “At Quali, we track this as ‘time to value’—a key metric that defines how quickly customers can leverage sandboxes to derive meaningful business benefits starting from something as simple as automating the setup and teardown of their environment,” notes Koriat. Optimally, an accurate CloudShell implementation accelerates time-to-market by up to 75 percent, while saving costs by over 50 percent.

Backed by a Community

The models are also made available as open source software in a developer community with a growing list being added very frequently. Quali’s open source contributions are available on GitHub. Quali works closely with customers and a special delivery team eases down the complexities that arise with hybrid cloud deployments. In the process, the teams serve as a feedback loop for enhancing efficiency, time-to-market, and ultimately, a better user experience. The recent launch of an Idea Box platform and other interactive forums on the Quali community portal has made the task of sending and viewing feedbacks more easier for customers and partner organizations. Business intelligence and analytics are also integrated into Quali’s CloudShell allowing for data-driven business decisions to be made.

Quali’s enterprise clientele spans over several industries, including healthcare providers, financial services institutions, and retailers. Prominent public cloud providers and a majority of the top ten service providers from around the world use Quali to take their DevOps strategies to the cloud.
Illustrating the proficiency of Quali’s cloud sandboxes, Koriat recounts Cisco’s success story with Quali. Through the DevNet initiative, Cisco has built up and engaged a sprawling community of developers and an extensive free resource center that collectively contributes to its innovative solutions. Cisco has abstracted the underlying infrastructure complexity and allowed developers to focus on coding and applications. Underpinning the entire framework is the CloudShell cloud sandbox, fully-equipped with a slew of Cisco toolsets, forming the nucleus of DevNet. CloudShell’s ‘model, orchestrate, and deploy’ schema and the visual object-based automation has resonated very successfully and the volume of activity in the developer community stands a testament to Quali’s proficiency.

"At Quali, we track this as ‘time to value’—a key metric that defines how quickly customers can leverage sandboxes to derive meaningful business benefits"

Intelligent Automation to the Fore

Automation is the buzzword du jour across the board, yet in that regard, DevOps is still nascent because of its fragmented delivery structure. Organizations are still adopting disparate DevOps tools for different stages of a software application’s lifecycle. “We talk about DevOps but the ‘Ops’ aspect is still missing. A good number of DevOps tools in use today remain exclusive to developers, while operations teams use a different set of tools and practices,” observes Koriat. “There is massive scope for a gamut of one-stop-shop solutions to replace the prevailing point solution paradigm.”

From a technical and product perspective, ‘standardization’ is becoming a concern of monumental importance. Very often, organizations try and adopt a do-it-yourself approach and underestimate the complexity of these heterogeneous orchestration solutions with time spent on tool integrations sidelining teams from their core business proposition and negating the value reaped through agile DevOps automation. Standardization is key. To that end, Quali has recently joined the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS) group that is developing a standard for sandbox blueprints called Topology and Orchestration Specification for Cloud Applications (TOSCA).


“There have always been talks about a ‘DevOps pipeline,’ where all the tools can be connected in a serial fashion,” states Koriat. However, the practical implications tell a different story. DevOps at scale cannot be a serial pipeline; it has to be a parallel one and there are still some key technologies lacking to fill in the spectrum of DevOps tools. With every passing day, the DevOps domain is getting consolidated through mergers and acquisitions, and Koriat predicts that in the next few years, there will be a condensed set of clear, differentiated leaders. “When it comes to that, we believe Quali will be a value proposition leader with our hybrid cloud sandboxes for the entire DevOps lifecycle. The future is exciting.”

Company
Quali

Headquarters
Santa Clara, CA

Management
Lior Koriat, CEO

Description
Delivers Cloud Sandboxes for automating the DevOps lifecycle.

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