A significant percentage of customers I speak to these days are either planning, deploying or using a “Private Cloud.” Larger organizations which use Public Clouds are also likely running “Virtual Private Clouds,” which have many of the same characteristics as traditional Private Clouds. “Cloud” has a lot of advantages and helps the IT organization be more flexible. In addition, the byproduct is increased complexity of the network.
Two basic components of deploying anything on the network is allocating IP addresses and registering in DNS. As you may know, without an IP address, you can’t get to anything on the network. Without a DNS name, it is very difficult for anything on the network to get to you.
With traditional networks, doing this manually is tedious. With Cloud, the rate of change increases exponentially and manual processes don’t scale. We did a survey of some of our customers and found that 40% of our customers took days to weeks to get IP addresses assigned to new virtual machines! With Cloud you have new applications. These all require IP allocation and DNS registration that need to be available within minutes. One customer suggested their Service Level Agreement is to turn up new applications within 5 minutes. Try doing that manually!
Many Cloud automation systems automatically allocate IP addresses to virtual entities. However, those names are not registered in DNS. Real time visibility is minimal to non-existence, and generally not integrated with the IP address plan of the network. In this scenario, not knowing the current state of the IP allocation in the Cloud, makes troubleshooting a connectivity problem nearly impossible for a network engineer.
Infoblox helps to automate the process of IP allocation and DNS registration using our IPAM plugin to VMware’s vCenter Orchestrator (vCO). The IPAM plugin runs in the vCO environment and allows vCO workflows to allocate IP addresses and DNS names using Infoblox’s Trinzic DDI. vCO is also used by VMware’s vCloud Director (vCD) so anyone using vCD can also use the IPAM Plugin to allocate IP addresses and DNS.
The workflow queries Trinzic DDI for the next available IP address in the appropriate range and registers that in DNS. The Plugin also populates data about the virtual machine(s) virtual application (vApp), Virtual Data Center (vDC) and the virtual Organization (vOrg) into Trinzic DDI. This allows users of Trinzic DDI to see the real time status of DNS and IP allocation based on vDCs, vOrgs etc.
In addition to allocating new IPs and DNS names, is the importance of de-allocating when no longer needed. In most organizations, there is always a reluctance to remove addresses and DNS names from an IPAM system ‘just in case’ something is still in use. Using the IPAM Plugin, the vCO workflow that destroys the VMs and vApps, also de-allocates the IP addresses and DNS names. This makes it easier to reuse them.
IT organizations want to spend their time doing new, strategic projects and don’t want to have to worry about the day to day care of the network. Cloud is one way to achieve this. Cloud alone won’t work unless all aspects of the process, including allocation of IP addresses and DNS, is fully automated.