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VMblog's Expert Interviews: John Purrier Explains DevOps and Automation and Automic's Solutions and Strategies

Interview Automic 

Whether it's a DevOps team delivering new customer-facing apps or data scientists determining what the business is seeing, it's all about the right information, right place, right time.  Automation allows business to work at machine speed.  It also ensures accuracy, consistency and accountability of every activity. 

I recently had a discussion with John Purrier, CTO of Automic, to find out more about the company, the problems they solve, and how they fit in the industry.

VMblog:  Tell us about Automic and what the company does?

John Purrier:  As the largest pure-play automation vendor in in the market, Automic has focused solely on Business Automation for more than 20 years. Automic provides enterprises with the necessary capabilities to drive competitive advantages, respond to customer needs and ensure customer loyalty in this digital age. We deliver solutions in areas such as Release Automation/DevOps, Workload Automation and Orchestration/Provisioning and serve more than 2,700 customers worldwide including, Netflix, eBay, Vodafone and TASC.

VMblog:  What problems does Automic's technology solve?

Purrier:  As enterprises work to implement their digital transformations, they are weighed down by complex legacy IT systems that have required significant cost and time investment over the years. As a result, IT is being pulled apart - digital front-office teams quickly innovating with a wide range of open-source tooling, while the back-office applications continue with slow, yet reliable, version rollouts. 

Despite their considerable differences, the front and backend systems are always connected. As new digital apps are deployed, updates to the core, back-end data will be required. 

Automic bridges this DevOps gap by enabling enterprises to scale continuous delivery across both front and back-end applications. Automic equips enterprises with the tools they need to drive successful digital transformations by providing agility and speed to traditional application delivery combined with reliability, compliance and scale to new digital applications.  

VMblog:  From a competitive standpoint, what sets Automic apart from other companies in the space?

Purrier:  As technology continues to evolve at an exponential rate, today's younger technology companies are encouraging enterprises to rip and replace legacy infrastructure with new architectures and methodologies and redeploy entire systems to the cloud. In fact, there are very few technology vendors on the market today that don't require organizations to throw out significant legacy operations; with Automic, enterprises do not have to do so. 

Automic's technology embraces legacy infrastructure - rather than rejecting it - by empowering enterprise legacy IT systems to work faster and more efficiently and be compatible with more modern, open source technologies of today.

VMblog:  I see Automic recently announced major new capabilities within its product and service offerings for Application Release Automation. What's new in this version?

Purrier:  The newest features and capabilities of Automic Release Automation include a practical blueprint that enterprises can use to determine their roadmap to continuous delivery. Pipeline visualization tools, open-source community-driven content, Automic's online marketplace integration, online maturity assessments and a multi-tenant cloud sandbox for prospects to try before buying.

The latest version of Automic Release Automation simplifies the DevOps journey by providing a practical approach that enables enterprises to scale continuous delivery across both back-office applications and modern, digital front-office applications. The solution makes the digital transformation to continuous delivery quick and easy for enterprises both young and old.

VMblog:  Have any other product announcements been made recently? If so, can you tell us a bit about them?

Purrier:  Automic recently announced its Continuous Delivery for Siebel solution, which automates Siebel version upgrades and release of new capabilities within Siebel using fast and agile development methods. The solution addresses operational and lifecycle issues by providing modern-day capabilities such as continuous integration, packaging and version control, parallel team development facilities and automated provisioning and patching for Seibel. It offers speed, agility, quality and even zero downtime upgrades for Siebel.

We also recently announced Automic Automation for Hyperion Financial Management (HFM). Automic Automation for HFM provides both finance and IT teams with unprecedented visibility and control of the entire financial close process. HFM is supported by Automic's Workload Automation product, resulting in continuous operations and zero downtime updates for all users. Employing Automic's propriety HFM integration, users can eliminate 90 percent of normal business processing errors.

VMblog:  We are starting to see more and more DevOps adoption in the enterprise. What is driving this increasing adoption?

Purrier:  More and more companies are waking up the fact that DevOps practices are the best way to give them the agility they need in the digital age. The stats are undeniable: 30x more frequent production deployments and 200x faster production deployment lead times.

Companies see agile companies like Facebook and Automic customer Netflix achieving tremendous success in redefining and even inventing new markets, using DevOps to cultivate rapid, repeatable release cycles. Automation plays a vital role here also - in fact, successful DevOps implementations are not possible without automation.

Consumer behavior has changed as a result of these companies, and customers now expect rapid changes based on their demands. Businesses are acting agile, but IT often lags behind. We know that DevOps practices and tooling are the best way IT can work with the business and development to facilitate this transformation.

VMblog:  As Automic's new CTO, you are responsible for driving the company's automation strategy. Tell us about your approach and goals.

Purrier:  I feel automation will become yet more sophisticated through the use of large-scale analytics and heuristic decision automation, informed by machine learning techniques. Additionally, the business will have more direct control over IT resource usage through the specification of business policies around budget, SLAs, and compliance. In effect, the automation engine will make the right decisions based on past and expected future experience combined with what is right for the business.

The cloud will be so pervasive that the phrase ‘cloud adoption' will cease to exist. The company's view of the "cloud" will encompass an organizations enterprise data centers, public cloud providers they choose to work with, and partner's data centers. With this model everything will be in the cloud, a key role automation will play is to decide where workloads should be placed based on what makes the most business sense for that particular workload and whether to shift workloads from one data center or public cloud to another to improve budget, SLA, or performance profiles. Whether we are working in the cloud or not will become irrelevant; one less thing to prevent business agility.

VMblog:  What does the year ahead look like for Automic, any specific plans?

Purrier:  We're going to be opening a new Automic innovation center in Austin, Texas near my home, where we will explore some exciting new ways to evolve our automation offerings. I foresee some exciting opportunities in large-scale analytics for DevOps, machine learning and heuristic-driven decision automation that will make great steps in how much value automation can bring to the business.

As with every year, we have some exciting announcements to make in 2016 that will help our customers achieve our ideal - the Agile Enterprise. Whether that be increasing agility by freeing up time for innovation with Continuous Operations and Continuous Service or enabling Continuous Delivery with DevOps.


Once again, I'd like to give a special thank you to John Purrier for taking time out to speak with VMblog.

As Chief Technology Officer, John Purrier is responsible for driving Automic's automation strategy. With more than 20 years of industry leadership experience, John is a technology visionary focused on emerging cloud technologies, including multi-cloud interoperability and DevOps. Notably, Purrier is a founder and board member of OpenStack.

Published Tuesday, June 28, 2016 6:34 AM by David Marshall
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