In January, Infoblox hosted a webinar on the private cloud in which three prominent (though unnamed) customers discussed their deployments. In previous blog posts, I talked about the benefits of private cloud and why our customers choose Infoblox over “freeware.” In this third and final installment, I wanted to share individual insights on private cloud from each customer. Their remarks have been condensed and edited for clarity.
Andrew from a major financial services firm
Andrew is the IT director at his financial services firm, responsible for infrastructure, security, and employee technology. He’s been an Infoblox customer since 2013.
On why his company implemented a private cloud: The key business drivers were speed, automation of delivery, repeatability, and greater consistency. We have been using a private cloud for 12 months. It’s a mixture of self-service infrastructure for developers and the data center for a number of products that we released in 2014.
We have a hybrid infrastructure, reusing a little bit of our existing infrastructure where it supported virtualization. The private cloud project provided us an opportunity to do something new that was simple to integrate, and get up and running. It was almost a green-field environment.
On why he chose Infoblox: We were using the BMC suite for cloud management, and BMC recommended Infoblox as a tool that they integrated with quite easily, and something to use if we wanted to get up and running quickly. We didn’t have a commercial grade IP Address Management (IPAM) solution. We were using a collection of spreadsheets and other manual processes for that. We looked at the competition and, honestly, Infoblox came out ahead of everybody else.
Of all the new things we implemented, the Infoblox solution was the quickest thing that we did. We had the equipment decided upon, procured, installed and up and running within about a month. We purchased two weeks of professional services help to get the solution started. One week of that was spent on training and experience management for ongoing operations. The other week was configuration and testing. It literally was two weeks to have it up and running, and the suite deployed our first test cloud infrastructure on week two plus one day. It was that easy, and we really haven’t touched it since.
We plan to broaden the implementation and use it for our legacy environment. We’re also going to deploy it across cloud infrastructure to our European and Asian business. We like the automation and the ease-of-use. It really is a black box and we don’t have to do too much with it.
Richie from a large multimedia company
Richie manages design and automation technology for his multimedia company and has been an Infoblox customer since 2012.
On the need for a private cloud: It was all about bringing efficiencies to the technology layer. We were trying to bring multiple brands together, creating common processes and common technology sets. Speed to market for server provisioning was one of the key points. It was taking anywhere from multiple days to weeks to provision the server at a physical level or even at a virtual level, whether we had IPAM or not. Once we built up our provisioning platform – which is based on VMware’s technology and integrated with Infoblox – it only took about 30 minutes or less to get a server built and provisioned.
On dynamic provisioning of VMs in the private cloud: We have VLANs everywhere. With VMware’s announcement this year of NSX, I only see it becoming easier in the future to pick up workloads, move them across the data center, or even move them across data centers, without having to make any major changes or have somebody interact with it manually. It could all either be automated or it would just know how to do it, like magic.
On availability: From our perspective, the Infoblox technology at a Grid level is very resilient. We provide one IP address for each data center, even though behind the scenes, there could be 10, 15, or 20 DNS servers that the customers don’t know about. We can take any of those servers down for Infoblox NIOS software upgrades and the users are none the wiser. Thanks to that capability, we don’t have to go build virtual IP networks to load balance our DNS servers. It’s making our lives a lot easier.
On why he chose Infoblox: The technology at one of our divisions was working for us, but the vendor was not innovating. That was a problem for us. One of the key points of private cloud technologies is speed to market, and you don’t want to have to create stopgaps in your provisioning technology or go without things like API calls or integration. The vendor didn’t have that and it wasn’t in their road map. We had to build our own API out of Perl. It was not scalable, but it worked for our size. But we wanted a commercial grade solution that we could pick up the phone and call the vendor and have support on those plug-ins. We also needed technologies that were very scalable because we have a very large environment – 29-plus nodes – and we wanted something that scaled very wide for our DNS and DHCP needs across the board.
Bob from a large retailer
Bob is a senior director of security engineering for a large retailer, and has been an Infoblox customer for 10 years. His company’s private cloud deployment encompasses multi-site high availability data centers with both internal and external zones, supporting development, QA, production, and corporate systems.
On the need for a private cloud: Our number one priority was time to market. Our environment supports customer-facing revenue-generating applications. More than anything else, we needed to hand off that infrastructure to the development team in order to get those products to market as fast as we could. We’ve had a big push towards agile development. We used to have release cycles twice a year and now we have them every two weeks.
On its cloud management platform: The integration from ServiceMesh to Infoblox was out of the box. The integration between the two absolutely played a key role in our decision to deploy Infoblox because we can’t provision unless we have the IP address base there. There was no custom development needed there at all. We were able to build the portal so that developers could go in, select what they needed, and within an hour everything would be built for them, fully automated.
On increasing the speed of deployment: Our original service-level agreement goals were less than eight hours. As we gained experience and the integrations became tighter with the product sets we were using, we were able to get it to under an hour.
On security risks in the cloud: It’s absolutely critical to deploy a robust DDI solution. The world we live in today, the risk is everywhere and it just keeps growing. For us to have visibility into what’s going on is an absolutely critical attribute for our organization. Without the strong audit monitoring, logging capabilities, and alerting capabilities that Infoblox gives us, we would probably not deploy. We just bought the Infoblox DNS Firewall and plan to deploy that over the first quarter.