Brokering the Cloud


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Virtacore’s dynamic cloud infrastructure-as-a-service helps CIOs transition from resource provider to resource broker.


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Brokering the Cloud

  1. 1. Cisco and Intel partnering in innovationPeruse a list of the top 10 characteristics to look for in a financial brokerand you’re bound to find “trustworthy” and “responsive.” When we investmoney, we expect the experts to be quick to respond to market demands,to take a holistic view, and to manage our funds seamlessly.Compare that to the demands being placed on today’s CIOs and thetwo are increasingly similar. When a business unit submits a request forcompute power, they expect fast, secure results, and they want the abilityto ‘see’ how their server environment is performing.“CIOs are being asked to transition from being a resource provider toresource broker,” says Phill Lawson- Shanks, CTO at Virtacore, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IKANO Communications Inc., headquartered inSterling, Va. “That means they need to adapt to a new service deliveryparadigm that leverages internal, external, and hybrid cloud fabrics, wherevirtual instances and resource pools are both dynamic and manageable atan increasingly granular level,” he says.As a leading cloud services provider, Virtacore understands the intricaciesof leveraging IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) to reduce capital costs and operatingexpenses. At the same time, the company realizes the need for speed,visibility, and increased manageability.Which is why it’s currently in the process of building a new coreinfrastructure with the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco® UnifiedComputing System™ (UCS), Cisco Nexus® and Catalyst® switches, CiscoIntelligent Automation for Cloud (Cisco IAC), and a next-generation hybridstorage solution from Nimble Storage.Currently located in Equinix International Business Exchange data centersin Silicon Valley, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., Virtacorebecame the first cloud service provider to leverage Equinix Business Suitesearlier this year. It is also among the first to be nominated to VMware’svCloud Powered program, which requires partners to offer on-demandaccess to virtual infrastructure from a public cloud while supportingapplication and API portability between a customer’s internal data centerand the VMware Powered Service of their choice.The move to a wholesale data center model coincides with the company’smigration to Cisco UCS® and Nimble. Together, the two strategies aregiving Virtacore the performance and visibility it needs to stay ahead oflarger competitors, delivering broker-like services at an extremely cost-effective price, says Lawson-Shanks.“Before we started this migration it could take up to six weeks to deploy acustomer’s cloud instance. Now we can deploy within a matter of hours,”he says, noting that proofs of concept run on the new core infrastructure ina production environment, allowing for a simple transition to a full servicecontract once customers are satisfied.“From our perspective, we’ve gained a block of resource we can carve upand deploy any which way we need. From a customer perspective, theyget a real world experience of what the system is going to be from soup tonuts that helps to allay any reservations they may have,” he says.Two of the first Virtacore customers to migrate to the new cloudinfrastructure include a large food distributor and a well-known softwareprovider. Both are experiencing faster response times—almost doublewhat they were experiencing previously—with the added advantageof confidence. As Virtacore engineer Matt Tedder explains, the newenvironment offers “a single pane of glass” management view thatprovides crucial information about processing speeds, memory, networkavailability, and storage, as well as built-in pre-emptive monitoringcapabilities.Virtacore’s dynamic cloud infrastructure-as-a-service helps CIOs transition fromresource provider to resource broker.Perspectives and SolutionsBrokering the cloudSpring 2013Unleashing IT
  2. 2. “Nimble offers the cleanest user interface we’ve seen from a storageproduct,” says Tedder. “From just a few sets of tabs, we can obtain a top-down view of everything.”In the case of the food distributor, the first application to move toVirtacore’s Cisco UCS/Nimble platform was SharePoint, a mission-criticalapplication which is performing better in the cloud than it did on a tier-onemanufacturer’s blade infrastructure. For the software provider, the mainadvantage is being able to quickly spin up customer instances with a highdegree of visibility.“Latency is not an issue any more. It’s about the performance of thesystems, installing them correctly and managing them appropriately,”notes Lawson- Shanks, adding that Virtacore is looking to capitalize on thescalability of Cisco UCS and Nimble CS series, as well as the self-serviceprovisioning capabilities of Cisco IAC, to support future growth.“We’re only limited now by the amount of power our hosting partners canprovide us,” he says.Complimentary consultationFor more information and to qualify for a personalizedconsultation on leveraging a joint Cisco UCS and NimbleStorage solution in your data center, visit the Resource Centerat:© 2013 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Cisco, the Cisco logo, Unified Computing System, UCS, Nexus, and Catalyst are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. andother countries. To view a list of Cisco trademarks, go to this URL: Third party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does notimply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company. (1305)Intel and the Intel logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries.Spring 2013Unleashing IT