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Refactr Introduces Integrated DevSecOps Platform

The startup is enabling MSPs to automate their services environments with cloud-native tools deployed through a visual IT-as-code interface.

Refactr has merged its infrastructure management and security automation solutions into a comprehensive DevSecOps platform that enables cybersecurity-focused MSPs to visually design complex service environments.

The Seattle, Washington-based startup introduced Refactr Platform on Thursday at the ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2019 conference in Orlando, Fla.

The new platform empowers managed services providers to use an IT-as-code approach that's integrated with existing automation tools they can select and provision through a solution catalog, Refactr CEO Michael Fraser told CRN.

[Related: The 10 Hottest DevOps Technology Startups Of 2018]

The multi-vendor capabilities are supported by a visual interface for describing automation pipelines.

Refactr Platform combines the startup's two previous products: playbook.cloud, an Ansible-as-a-Service approach to configuration management; and Cloud + Security Architect Platform (CSAP). It also adds support for HashiCorp Terraform, Git repositories and version controlling, Kubernetes, and other technologies popular with DevOps practitioners.

"We pushed full speed to combine those as just one platform," Fraser said. "We shied away from doing that for a long time, because we didn’t think there was a dev component to the channel. But a lot of partners are coming around to that."

Unlike other DevOps solutions on the market, Refactr Platform is geared to MSPs and vendors that provide them with tools, rather than software developers, Fraser said.

Enterprise customers are pushing MSPs to adopt more cloud-native technology, Fraser said, and cloud distributors are encouraging and looking to enable that shift.

While the Refactr' platform's visual interface eases the transition to modern and highly secure infrastructure management, partners that prefer a programmatic approach can still automate their IT operations by accessing APIs through the platform, Fraser said.

"They can bring in scripts, playbooks and configurations to utilize on the platform. We're supporting all the tools in their native format," Fraser said.

And DevOps technology providers can use the new platform to push content to customers through the catalog, making Refactr "essentially the automation piece of what they are trying to do," Fraser said.

"Vendors are struggling to be able to figure out how to build content and provide it to customers in a way that works with products from other vendors," he said.

The startup, through its CSAP and playbook.cloud products, has seen early traction with MSPs, MSSPs and CSPs oriented toward cybersecurity, Fraser said.

"It's not just about infrastructure but creating automation platforms for anything you want to do," he said. "Any MSP that's got a major cloud focus" can build an automated practice using their existing tools.

RFA, a New York City-based solution provider with a booming financial services practice, had already turned to Refactr's playbook.cloud to automate more of its infrastructure, Markel Alayev, the company's director of service delivery, told CRN.

The hosted Ansible solution reduced the barrier to adopting Red Hat's popular configuration manager for the Microsoft and AWS partner, a long-time MSP expanding into MSSP territory with the launch of its own security operations center, Alayev said.

"Now that they've brought it in the rest of the platform, the new Refactr Platform, it allows for us to more easily pipeline and integrate other systems into Ansible as well," he said.

RFA has already leveraged Refactr to integrate security automation into its Slack environment by building a pipeline for tickets to be processed on a Slack channel, which had previously been a manual process, Alayev told CRN.

RFA's development team uses other DevOps tools for building software. But Refactr's platform uniquely stands out on the infrastructure side due to its integrations with multiple platforms and orchestration tools.

"This is more around templating infrastructure rollouts," Alayev said. "One quick deployment can spin up an Azure network with an Azure virtual machine and automatically get the domain created," he said.

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