“Networking is the hardest part of Cloud” says a project manager involved in the development of Orange Business Services’ Private Cloud solutions. Why? It’s simple enough to create a VM, why should it be difficult to build a network? Well, creating a VM appears to be “simple”’ because tools such as BMC’s CLM (coupled with a hypervisor) are available that hide all of the complexity. You just have to specify how many vCPUs and how much memory you need, select the software stack you want to run and hit the button. A few minutes later your VM is up and running.
That’s great, but your VM is probably part of an application that consists of many VMs that have to be interconnected, hence you’ll need to give it an IP address and network interfaces. You will probably need to connect the application to the outside world, either the public Internet and/or a corporate VPN so you’ll have to define a gateway. Your application will have to adhere to the corporate security policy, which means protecting the application from external and internal threats using ACLs, firewalls and other security mechanisms. To ensure high availability for your application, or to allow it to scale, you’ll have to introduce load-balancers. In many businesses the different network elements involved (routers, switches, firewalls etc.) are managed by different teams using different tools. In order to build the network for an application a developer has to negotiate with each of these teams to get the necessary resources - a process that can be fraught with error and take days or weeks.
You can see that networking is complex. Tools are required to hide the complexity and to make the creation of a network as simple as the creation of a VM. Enter Cisco and BMC who teamed up to build a solution to address this problem. The solution leverages Cisco’s networking expertise and BMC’s skills in network management and automation, specifically the Bladelogic for Network Automation tools (BNA) which is part of BMC’s CLM solution set.
Cisco designed a data center network architecture that is performant, scalable, flexible and secure and that can be shared among all of the applications that run on the Private Cloud. The sharing is key as it drives Capex and Opex savings. The network can comprise both physical appliances and NfV functions such as Cisco’s CSR1000v virtual router. The decision to use physical or virtual is basically a trade-off between the performance of purpose built networking hardware and the flexibility of software, noting that some enterprises have to use physical for compliance reasons.
BMC BNA acts as an SDN controller managing the network as a pool of virtualized network resources (VLANs, virtual routers, virtual firewalls, virtual load balancers, IP addresses etc.) and it uses these resources to build virtual networks to meet the requirements of individual applications. When an application is created BNA dips in to the pool to get the resources it needs and builds a virtual network. When an application is retired, BNA releases the resources back in to the pool. Cisco and BMC defined a number of standard virtual network templates that a developer can chose to make life easier when creating an application. These range from simple network access to multi-zone with security and load-balancing. Custom templates can be built if necessary.
All of this is done transparently to the application developer who only sees CLM and the catalog of services used to build the application. In addition to being able to select the type of VM, operating system etc. the developer can also select the type of network, including the firewall, loadbalancing and other networking options. In a matter of minutes the developer has a fully operational application.
Thanks to the cooperation between Cisco and BMC, with Orange Business Services Private Cloud solutions, building a network for your application is now as simple as creating a VM – the IT team is liberated to focus on creating value for the business rather than on managing the IT infra.
Learn more about liberating your IT with Orange Business Services Private Cloud Solutions
Mark is an architect at Cisco. He’s been working with Orange Business Services on various cloud-related projects for the past four years. When he’s not working on cloud; music and cooking are two of his many passions.