I’ve got a number for you: 62. As in 62 percent. That’s the amount of time networking teams can save when provisioning virtual machines (VMs) in VMware-based private cloud environments by automating core network tasks including IP address assignment and DNS record provisioning with Infoblox Cloud Network Automation instead of using manual processes.
The number comes from a new report by Tolly Group, an independent testing lab, available now for free at www.infoblox.com/tolly-cloud.
Infoblox commissioned the Tolly report to highlight the gap in network automation for private clouds. We’ve been talking for a while about how manual provisioning of IP addresses and DNS records can take hours or even days, undermining the promise of private clouds in delivering greatly increased agility and scalability. But we typically cited anecdotal information instead of hard data to back up our story.
So we called on Tolly, one of the most respected names in the IT testing and certification business. I sat down with the Tolly team, described the automation gap and then let them go to work on setting up a test scenario. They did a careful and detailed comparison using the VMware vRealize Automation platform (formerly known as vCloud Automation Center, or vCAC) to evaluate manual processes against Infoblox Cloud Network Automation, which integrates seamlessly with VMware. Each workflow was carefully measured with a stop watch to compare time differences.
The result: A networking team provisioning and destroying 500 VMs a week in a private cloud environment would need only 16 hours a week for managing IP addresses and DNS records compared to 42 hours with manual processes – a savings of 62 percent. The benefits are even more dramatic as the number of VMs increases.
This massive time savings doesn’t even take into account the important benefit of reducing human error, and the fallout from problems such as duplicate IP addresses or inefficient clean-up of DNS records. The report also assumes the same individual does all the manual tasks, when in reality most IT organizations will have multiple handoffs between the server/cloud team and the network team.
“Simply put, manual tasks and processes such as creating networks, assigning and tracking IP addresses and provisioning DNS records is a major bottleneck,” the Tolly report says. “While server and storage parameters can be configured and spun up in minutes, network setup tasks can take hours or days.”
You can see for yourself exactly how Tolly reached this conclusion by reading the report, although you’ll have to decide for yourself the value of avoiding human error. So far, I don’t know of any way to precisely calculate the benefit of not getting a call at 3 am to restore a crashed network.