By Matt Gowarty, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Cloud and Virtualization at Infoblox
I have spent the past several days at Cisco Live Milan attending sessions and supporting the Infoblox booth at the World of Solutions. After hundreds of discussions on private clouds, an interesting trend reminded me of an earlier blog post – Crawl, Walk, Run – that compared private cloud deployments to parenthood.
As parents, we’ve all used “Go ask your father (or mother) for help” – or if you’re not a parent, I’m sure you’ve heard it while growing up. Typically this answer came because of three reasons. One, you were too busy at the time. Two, it was something you didn’t want to do and decided to pawn it off on anyone else. Or three, it was something you couldn’t answer and you didn’t want to appear stupid in front of your sixth grader (i.e. today’s Common Core math homework).
This theme resonated as I spoke with the IT and network personnel at the show when dealing with private clouds. Server teams and executives hear the promises of spinning up new instances in a matter of minutes, but there are a couple of family secrets that are often overlooked.
First, while the virtual server can be spun up quickly, it also needs an IP address and DNS record provisioned to actually allow it to work. The challenge lies when the server teams typically owns the virtual instance but the network or IT team owns the IP addressing and DNS components – so they have to go ask someone else for help. And delays occur because the network team is busy with other projects or the person with right expertise isn’t around or these are tedious, repetitive tasks that are often put off as long as possible. That’s why the amount of time it takes for when a request for a new virtual instance comes in to when it’s actually availability to the end-user is often measured in days or weeks, not the minutes people expect.
Second, the other little secret is tied to the fact that the power of virtual machines isn’t just spinning them up, it’s also tearing them down. While we need to have details to get the instances running, when they are decommissioned, the vast majority of network and server teams never clean up the IP addresses or DNS records. So now there is more risk of incorrect information, using duplicate IPs or have records that can inadvertently impact a future deployment next day, week, month or year.
So while DNS and IP address provisioning is often the last thing thought of when it comes to private clouds, it’s a major component that must be addressed to take full advantage of a dynamic and elastic deployment. And as new solutions such as Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) gains traction, the need for automation of network component is even greater.
Infoblox is the leader in enterprise-grade services including DNS, DHCP and IP address management. Our release update to our Cloud Network Automation solution is helping customers with this exact problem by providing automation, visibility and scalability for private cloud deployments.