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Image: Flexera One is a Digital Platform Conductor—but what’s that?

Regardless of the size of the organization, IT estates continue to evolve and expand beyond the four walls of the legacy data center. This means the utilized IT resources are expanding beyond those borders as well, and what we’ve traditionally used to manage them fall short in this new environment. Therefore, the role of Digital Platform Conductor (DPC) tools gains prominence in the IT orchestration, management and automation needs of enterprises utilizing the growing landscape of IT options and services. Many are unfamiliar with the term but know all too well the concepts behind these tools.

What’s a DPC tool?

According to Gartner, a DPC tool coordinates the various infrastructure tools used to plan, implement, operate and monitor underpinning technology and services for applications and digital products.

DPC tools integrate with and coordinate the interactions between infrastructure tools that are used for workload placement, self-service access to IT resources, IT asset management (ITAM), cost management and optimization and more. They conduct the interactions of the tools in your IT estate that enable you to achieve maximum value from your technology investments. It’s for this reason that we were excited when this distinct category of tools was created and expounded upon by Gartner. This functionality is something we anticipated a need for when we originally designed the Flexera One platform, which aligns with our Technology Value Optimization vision.

DPC capabilities

One of the capabilities of a DPC tool is to evaluate workloads and recommend placement options for that workload within your IT estate. Perhaps you have a multicloud strategy and a data center that’s being decommissioned, and the VMware environment within that data center is being shut down. A DPC tool could coordinate the evaluation of the number and size of required resources and make a recommendation for a cloud provider that would offer the most efficient landing spot for that workload. It’s important to note that this evaluation should not be constrained to the number and size of resources that are being used, but instead the number and size that are required.

Flexera’s investigations of thousands of workloads over the years have shown what you may already suspect, which is that on-premises workloads are typically overprovisioned—and overprovisioned means overpay when it comes to public cloud. Flexera’s Cloud Migration and Modernization functionality of the Flexera One platform counteracts this dilemma. Workloads are evaluated on what they need—not what they use—and recommendations are made accordingly.

Another important capability of a DPC tool is its ability to enable end users to access IT resources within their organization via self-serve functionality. You may be familiar with filling out a ticket in an ITSM tool to request a stapler or a new desk chair, but many organizations are looking to extend this capability to allow end users to request IT resources (e.g., requesting a Linux server with Apache 2.4.46 installed or asking for a Windows server running SQL Server Developer Edition”) via a self-serve mechanism. Flexera offers functionality to meet this need with our Self-Service offering in combination with our Flexera One Automation capabilities.

DCP tools also enable you to find, identify and catalog assets within your estate. Flexera has long been a leader in the ITAM space, and this long-standing, mature functionality has been incorporated into the overarching Flexera One platform. This enables the orchestration of data flows between the components of the platform such that, for example, software licensing considerations can be taken into account when a developer requests that SQL Server Developer Edition mentioned in the previous example.

Another critical function within your IT estate is the ability to monitor, manage and optimize cloud usage and costs. This ability has become so essential in the past few years that the FinOps Foundation was created to support the practice and its practitioners. Not surprisingly, this capability has been included under the purview of the DPC tools—and Flexera One has you covered in this regard as well. Our Cloud Cost Optimization (CCO) functionality, which is also part of the Flexera One platform, enables you to obtain full visibility into your IT expenditures under the classic “single pane of glass” regardless if those expenditures are in on-premises environments, public cloud or even if those costs are incurred from the consumption of SaaS services. Our CCO offering is so powerful that it was designated a leader in the most recent Forrester Wave: Cloud Cost Management and Optimization report.

At the forefront of IT solutions

The presence of this functionality in multiple analyst reports and documentation illustrates the importance of cloud cost optimization and the benefits it can afford an organization. Flexera One was one of the handful of vendors explicitly identified in Gartner’s original introduction to the DPC category and the related CCO and associated capabilities.

The emergence and maturation of DPC tools will continue to increase, and Flexera is at the forefront of this multi-functional category, providing additional technology value optimization functionality to our present and future customers.