Faster time to value for developers means that Jamf customers have new features in their hands before having to request them
Jamf has made all things Apple easier for individuals and organizations since 2002. Zach Halmstad, Jamf co-founder, originally worked full-time in the IT department at the University of Wisconsin on the Eau Claire (UWEC) campus deploying, updating and tracking over 400 student and faculty Macs. He soon partnered with Chip Pearson who led a premiere Minneapolis IT consultancy and they co-founded Jamf.
The core mission at Jamf is to empower all its customers to succeed with Apple and deliver the gold standard in Apple device management.
Jamf Business Challenge
Just over three years ago Jamf, like most digital business enterprises, needed to go to market faster with new features and solutions continuously. The problem was getting virtual machines (VMs) and test environments fast enough to developers who were streamlining their processes.
“We didn’t want to become the ‘no’ team,” as Jason Gamroth, Enterprise Services Manager at Jamf describes. “We are always striving to provide the best solutions for real problems that our customers have, and do it in a way that empowers them and gets IT out of the way.”
Jason had come from a more controlled IT environment and getting secure, sanctioned infrastructure resources wasn’t trivial. Not everything was approved for one reason or another—cost, security, and performance all played a role in the decision.
Jamf developers needed more continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) solutions to match the pace of their more agile development schedules. They had a solid base of existing VMs, which were leveraged for much of their existing workloads, but keeping them up-to-date and issuing new ones for new development initiatives did not scale well for Jamf. They were in a fast-paced startup mode. Non-technical people at Jamf also had a tough time getting resources and did not have the expertise to provision for themselves.
Jason and his team at Jamf wanted a solution that could be provisioned for self-service as well as efficient and user-friendly. From a technical perspective, he also wanted to orchestrate sophisticated, complex provisioning scenarios behind the scenes for the developers.
Getting to the Solution
Let’s face it. Jason did not want his department to be the bottleneck in a thriving startup industry where they had to wait for VMs and then have to do a lot of post-provisioning after they had their resources running. As long as the builds were what they asked for, the developers did not care where they came from or how they were configured with backend complexity. The team went from being an IT champion to a hero using CloudBolt. They leveraged CloudBolt’s ability to orchestrate, automate, and provision resources into standardized “application development stacks” to request with just one click.
Since that time, the number of VMs they manage has more than tripled and they have successfully implemented many new initiatives using CloudBolt. In addition, not only the developers on the front lines, but also the security, support, and QA teams are now using CloudBolt to provision ready-made sets of VMs that can be configured quickly and maintained consistently.
According to Jason, “CloudBolt was immediately straight-forward and elegant. We had tried other similar products but got further in 30 minutes with CloudBolt than we did in 3 months with another solution.”
Highlights of CloudBolt at Jamf
Jamf leveraged CloudBolt to do the following:
- Provide self-service IT portal for non-technical teams and developers to gain access to pre-configured VMs specifically designed for their use cases
- Integration with Ansible to do automated tests—CloudBolt spins up VMs, they run test scripts on the VMs, log them, and then CloudBolt shuts the VMs down
- Orchestration and provisioning of various client and server operating systems with automated system updates and security patches
- Adopted CloudBolt companywide for software, security, and support teams, each using the extensible plugin features for customization using Python
- Cut provisioning from days to minutes while providing many more users access to infrastructure resources without delay
CloudBolt makes it easier for Jamf to roll out access to resources in AWS and Google Cloud. Super users have access to these public resources now as sandboxes in these environments. They plan to set them up to configure blueprints in CloudBolt that will be accessed by the same easy-to-use self-service portal that they use now for their on-premises VMs.