Not too long ago, mobile users considered themselves lucky to find a random WiFi connection that was fast enough to check an email or two. Today, users are surprised when they can’t connect to the Internet, and they expect to be able to safely conduct all manner of business and transactions using an Internet connection and their mobile device of choice.
Providing the Internet connection is the (relatively) easy part; providing a secure connection that is accessible from anywhere in the world—along with apps that will meet each customer’s specific needs—is the challenge.
ViaSat is a provider of satellite broadband and wireless services, infrastructure and technology that securely connects consumers, businesses, governments, and the military to the Internet anywhere in the world. To meet customers’ connectivity needs of today and tomorrow, the company turned to the hybrid cloud.
“We have deployed a hybrid cloud infrastructure and platform that allows our engineers to quickly iterate on services and applications for our customers,” says Josh Barry, director, cloud, ViaSat. “These apps provide everything from login and authentication, network function virtualization and metering to billing and other backend services.”
Barry says ViaSat made the strategic decision to shift to a hybrid cloud infrastructure several years ago.
“Our company's senior leadership understood the need for greater agility in responding to customer needs through software innovation, and the cloud was the way to make this happen,” he says. “We've built a substantial part of our platform with OpenStack cloud software as the foundation. We’re also working with a few partners to ensure we have closed loop monitoring and remediation for our growing infrastructure footprint.”
Barry says ViaSat has realized a number of benefits from the shift to a hybrid cloud model across its base of stakeholders, including improving the resilience and responsiveness of services the company develops and providing end users with a better experience.
“Our in-house software developers now have the ability to self-provision resources and design their software to scale infrastructure resources automatically via APIs as needs change,” he says. “That makes our developers more productive and responsive to the next set of customers, who are the companies, consumers and governments who use our services. Finally, there are the end users, who are the individuals using our services to access applications and data they need via the Internet.”
With the move to the hybrid cloud model, and all the functionality that move enabled, ViaStat had to fundamentally rethink how the IT department would support developers.
“We had to [give IT] the tools it needed to improve agility while maintaining our governance and policy structures, says Barry. “So, the affect on our IT department is evolving, but overall it's been very positive because our entire company is better equipped to deliver new value to our customers and compete.”
Deb Donston-Miller has worked as a tech journalist and editor since 1990. If you have a story you would like profiled, contact her at [email protected]
The IT Innovators series of articles is underwritten by Microsoft, and is editorially independent.