As an IT manager, you know only too well how traditional network and security solutions can be both rigid and increasingly complex. These problems slow down the delivery of new services and restrict the potential opportunities available for workload placement and mobility. At the same time, however, such flexibility is required by today’s business practices – without an impact on costs. In this article, we show you how to prepare your data centre for future challenges and exploit your existing capacity to best effect.
Traditional network and security solutions are rigid, complex and in many cases tied to a specific provider. This creates a costly barrier that prevents you from achieving the overall flexibility that’s potentially available from your data centre. It also slows down both provision of network services and workload placement and mobility because of the physical topology and manual processes involved. The constraints arising from having dedicated physical network and security solutions furthermore restrict access to an increasingly dynamic and virtual world, creating artificial barriers that make it difficult to optimise either network architecture or capacity load. Efficiency is further impacted by the need to provide services manually and the fragmented management interfaces involved. All of these factors restrict your efforts to rapidly deliver, move, scale and protect applications and data in response to new and changing requirements. Without, of course, generating additional costs...
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could move to a virtual, software-based network?
Virtualising your entire network environment on to a software platform would make your job significantly easier – but how could it be done? We know the answer: the magic term is “software-defined data centre”, or “SDDC” for short. SDDC represents the peak of virtualisation. It involves creating a unified data centre platform on which data centre-type services are no longer tied to specific hardware. The entire infrastructure is virtualised and available as a service. In this model, the data centre is no longer defined in terms of the underlying hardware but instead defined within the software. Computing, storage, network, security and availability services are combined in pools, aggregated, provisioned as software and managed by policy-driven software. Control is fully automated, while hardware configuration is handled by intelligent software systems.
For you as an IT manager, the big advantage of this model lies not just in its flexibility and scalability but more than anything in the fact that existing legacy applications can be retained and combined with new cloud computing services. In the process, the data centre becomes completely independent from specialised hardware and the configuration or programming of such hardware. In this way, you can simply bring together applications and the necessary resources (computing power, storage, network, security, and so on) as required – in other words, in the ways you need them right now. This reduces costs, energy consumption and management time. What’s more, fail-safe security is enhanced without the need for substantial investment. If a device fails, the data stream is automatically redirected to other services – and what’s more, with only minimal latency. Cool, isn’t it?
Making your data centre “future-proof”
We resolve this challenge – one that faces next-generation data centres – by offering a completely new network operating model that’s based on the VMware NSX platform. This model breaks through the barriers imposed by physical networks to offer you significant improvements in terms of agility and efficiency. It also incorporates directly into the hypervisor those NSX network and security functions that are traditionally handled by dedicated hardware solutions.
In parallel with server virtualisation, the virtualisation of the network allows you to treat your physical network as a pool of transport capacities that can be utilised, recovered and assigned for new purposes as required. In the model, a virtual network acts as a software container that supplies connected workloads with logical network components such as logical switches, routers, load equalisation functions, firewalls, VPNs and so forth. In this way, the NSX platform fundamentally transforms your data centre network and helps you to fully exploit the potential of your infrastructure and securely provide new services within seconds.
6 reasons for moving to an SDDC model now
- The time needed for network provision is reduced from days to seconds as a result of the virtualisation involved. This means you can release new services without the need for further investment.
- You can abstract virtual networks from the physical network and deploy them flexibly on any network hardware. Thanks to the higher operating efficiencies resulting from automation, you can provision networks in a more rapid and agile way.
- Using standard APIs, you can easily integrate third-party network and security solutions into your SDDC and also dynamically adapt these to changing conditions in your data centre.
- Thanks to micro-segmentation, the danger of threats spreading laterally within the data centre can be significantly curbed, while the security model in use within the centre can be substantially improved. Micro-segmentation is also useful from an operational point of view.
- Irrespective of the physical topology involved, you can move and reallocate workloads as necessary. In this way, virtual machines and any associated networks and security policies can be transferred between data centres within a matter of minutes.
- Since you can deliver new services without disruption, there is no interruption to applications currently running. This means you can run active/active data centres and offer immediate disaster recovery options.
Network virtualisation as the basis for innovation and efficiency
InfoGuard can support you in setting up an appropriate network and security architecture without sacrificing the advantages of an SDDC. Based on the VMware NSX platform, your new data centre will thereby fulfil today’s business requirements, support you in the economic reorganisation of your data centre operations and increase your flexibility in provisioning applications.