Reselling Service Provider Offerings with vCloud Director and VxRail

Cloud hosting with vCloud Director and VxRail

comdivision was tasked with enabling a fast-growing, full-service business hosting and data center in Ohio, USA, to resell service provider offerings to small and medium-sized IT companies. This would allow any local IT company to offer cloud hosting services directly to their customers as a one-stop shop.

The CTO, a 23-year veteran in the IT industry, emphasized the importance of automation and low maintenance for the solution. "We have worked hard to become HIPAA and PCI compliant, so the new service offering needed to ensure tenant separation and secure network design," he stated.

The Challenge

The primary challenge was ensuring visibility into the infrastructure to support ongoing audits and compliance with federal regulations and industry standards. This was a critical pillar in the design. They also aimed for a more granular approach to network security to protect tenants against data breaches. Additionally, they needed the flexibility to quickly expand the infrastructure as their customer base grew. "We had the idea to slice our physical datacenter into smaller portions that could be easily consumed by service providers to sell value-added and managed services in a secure and simple manner," said the CTO.

Fabian Lenz, senior architect and partner at comdivision, knew that with legacy hardware, this task could be daunting. "We mapped the business requirements to the IT requirements," Lenz explained, "and we only had a very tight time frame to do that ... but, what else is new?" he laughed. "We had to find a way to continually shorten the time to deploy new compute and storage resources with ease."

The Solution

Lenz and his team proposed a two-phased approach in their architecture concept and implementation plan. "During Phase 1, the scope was to deploy VMware vCloud Director and VMware NSX," said Lenz. "Phase 2 included VMware vCloud Availability and VMware Aria Operations with the tenant portal."

"I was relieved that our customer decided to go with Dell EMC VxRail—a hyperconverged platform—for the project," Lenz remarked. "With VxRail, we can rely on a standardized hardware & software-defined data center stack that can be easily expanded & maintained." Since VxRail comes pre-configured and pre-tested using VMware vSAN, the infrastructure could easily be expanded with a turn-key hardware set. "Without VxRail, deployment time would have easily been at least twice as long," Lenz knew.

The two-phased approach gave the service provider the opportunity to validate their proposed business model right after Phase 1 by utilizing and adjusting the platform in a synergisticmanner.

During the second phase, the customer's infrastructure team was able to utilize the platform within a Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service model to protect the on-premises vSphere-backed data center through vCloud Availability. Moreover, by leveraging the tenant portal of Aria Operations, tenants gained technical insights into their environment's resource usage and how to bill their customers as desired.

All phases were delivered through a clear and structured methodical approach. comdivision communicated all relevant dependencies and explanations upfront. This structured approach led to an efficient workflow across two continents.

The Result

Phase 1 was completed in less than 50 hours. During this phase, the core cloud infrastructure - based on an enterprise architecture for vCloud Director 10 and an NSX infrastructure - was set up and handed over.

“The cloud platform that comdivision created will be utilized by other service providers in a self-service fashion, and interconnected to end-customer sites via VPN or the Internet," said the CTO. "Our environment is now designed for easy scaling to match growing customer demand."

"Fabian was really adamant about us first articulating our clear vision of what we wanted to achieve business-wise, so he and his team could align the IT outcomes with the business outcomes," he continued. "We also appreciate that comdivision stayed well under budget and within the timeframe we had anticipated."

The Outlook

With ongoing growth, this service provider will need more insights into operational enhancements. Aria Log and Aria Network Insight will be evaluated to further enhance security and operational efficiency.



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