Hybrid cloud for Australian government: Virtualisation and security with VMware NSX
Virtualisation technology and cloud services are making it easier for Government agencies to implement their Digital Transformation strategy. Data-centre virtualisation adoption is on the way up. So is the use of software-defined data centre (SDDC) technology and VMware NSX. Yet barriers remain such as networks being managed on physical hardware rather than via software.
By bringing together Macquarie Government’s secure cloud platform with VMware’s NSX, we are helping agencies achieve significant operational benefits.
Let’s look at some best practices when adopting hybrid cloud and VMware NSX.
Hybrid cloud flexibility.
Hybrid cloud promises a new era in infrastructure agility and streamlined operations. But for many agencies, the network is typically the bottleneck. Hardware-based management restricts administrators from quickly deploying new virtual machines (VM) or new environments for VM. It limits the ability of the network team to easily change the topology to add new subnets or VLANs. Additionally, due to manual reconfiguration needs the provisioning of new VMs cannot be fully automated.
Moving management into software helps achieve full automation of VM provisioning and configuration processes. Resulting in a simpler path to hybrid cloud. Configure new VMs within minutes, if not seconds and moving VMs between hosts becomes easier.
Our eVDC cloud solution can automatically re-configure the network. This means that the VM can keep its network configuration, even when moving to another host. Having such ability, to quickly deploy and tear down entire networks, and re-configuring the network on the move is an essential requirement for continuous deployment and integration.
Add network security.
A successful hybrid cloud architecture needs to be underpinned by a secure network. Implementing such security can become complicated and costly. In a hardware-managed network environment, security should be designed from the ground up. As a result, implementing changes to the security architecture can easily become a big and costly project.
Network segmentation – a well known IT practice of splitting a network into smaller chunks and securing them individually. VMware NSX takes segmentation to a much more granular level; down to the individual workload. By moving to a cloud provider and virtualised network, administrators can perform micro-segmentation of the network, to easily define and implement strong firewalls on each virtual machine and on the hypervisors running those virtual machines. Furthermore, changes in the security requirements are implemented quicker. Because it only requires the reconfiguration of the virtual network, not the physical hardware. Configuring stronger firewall rules becomes easier and quicker since deploying additional firewalls is now handled in software. Also, network administrators gain the ability to control the network traffic flowing between different VMs in a more granular fashion.
Networking and security automation and specifically the use of on-demand services – will play a more significant role as hybrid clouds become more prominent. Macquarie Government’s extensive integration with VMware vRealize Automation (vRA) and vRealize Orchestration (vRO) tools provides greater control and deeper visibility.
Hybrid cloud as a platform for DR.
Another use case for hybrid cloud within Australian Government agencies is Disaster Recovery (DR). Traditional DR services are costly and error-prone. It involves significant investment in duplicating an entire stack – from the data centre upwards. But this duplicate stack is often sitting idle and un-utilised unless the main site experiences a problem. With hybrid cloud architecture and integrating Macquarie Government’s VMware NSX into a DR plan, you can easily route your network to a different VM in the event of a problem without massive reconfiguration. This in turn helps IT teams to reduce Recovery Time Objectives while avoiding the expense of maintaining their own DR infrastructure.
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) recommends regular backups of data as part of their Essential Eight strategy to mitigate cyber security risks. Backing up data to a protected cloud is imperative to maintaining high level of security across the entire architecture.
These are just a few benefits of using data centre virtualisation with VMware NSX. The hybrid cloud solution has the capability to help reduce time-to-market for agencies, to provide, significant benefits to the Australian public. Partnering with Macquarie Government can help you leverage your existing VMware infrastructure to utilise VMware NSX benefits as we have extensive experience building services to meet your needs of the Australian Government Information Security Manual (ISM) and Protective Security Policy Framework.