Since its founding in 2009, Nutanix has become one of the fastest growing infrastructure and enterprise cloud companies in the world, with nearly 4,000 employees and a range of impressive customers including Toyota, the United States Army, and AT&T.
But with such hypergrowth comes the challenges of having a large internal app ecosystem, empowering employees to work as efficiently and intelligently as they can, and making processes and workflows have less friction.
One of those processes was automating and optimizing the request for provisioning virtual machines (VM) through its own Nutanix platform, which they use to run their business, while leveraging Slack as the user interface layer between VM requester and approver.
The Nutanix platform provisions virtual machines (VMs) among numerous other VM-related capabilities. Internal engineers request VMs daily to do their work.
But this request process is notoriously tedious for both the engineer requesting the VM to do their work and the team responsible for provisioning them. In order to get a VM, requesters must go into ServiceNow and manually create a request. Then an engineer on the provisioning team has to see the ticket and manually run scripts that provision the VM. They then update the ServiceNow request when the new VM is ready. Then the engineer who requested the VM has to check the ticket and follow instructions to access the VM.
The process required multiple manual steps that were spread across multiple apps. And because the provisioning team fields a huge number of requests each week thanks to the company’s massive growth, and these requests break up their daily workflows, the time involved was preventing them from doing more high-level strategic work to help the business continue its growth trajectory.
To make the process more efficient, the team at Nutanix leveraged Slack and Workato to remove the friction between the different systems. Workato’s intelligent automation engine handles the complex workflows behind the scenes, while Slack provides a seamless chat interface on the front-end.
Now, requests are made through Slack by querying Workbot to provision a VM based on the size and resources needed. Workato then automatically creates a ticket in ServiceNow and looks up the history of the requester. If it’s a standard VM and the requester has a good history, then a VM is automatically provisioned with Workato strategically choosing the right cluster in Nutanix.
If the requester is already using a lot of resources or requesting a custom VM, then Workato sends it for a manual review by the provisioning team, which they can handle right through Slack. Approval or rejection notifications also happen right through Slack.
Now, when requesting a VM, the process is as simple as asking Workbot in Slack.
Workato’s ability to analyze data and choose the optimal cluster to provision from, as well as provide a checkpoint for personal usage before granting a VM is a big help to operations. The automated process saves both money and time.
“Within minutes, they should have that VM up and running,” says Liam Frazier, manager of IT Lab Services at Nutanix.
Plus, it also benefits the team that has to provision the VMs. With this new process in place between Slack and Nutanix, the team saves 5-6 hours a week that they previously spent context switching and approving VMs. Meanwhile, the requesting engineers can get new VMs in 10 minutes or less, instead of going through a long manual approval process.
“We’re providing automated tools and responses, which is highly valued amongst the employee base here,” says Sebastian Goodwin, head of cybersecurity at Nutanix. “And it increases productivity.”
But, the best part? This automated virtual machine provisioning is now a process that even Nutanix customers can recreate internally at their companies.