How to design agile and secure multi-tenant as-a-service data centers

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Far too many organizations remain committed to their outdated IT infrastructure setup. It’s only a matter of time before this decision comes back to haunt them.

Legacy-based configurations are labor intensive, as they use manual processes to run and operate hardware. If you rely on individual switch management, you will struggle to scale quickly, control costs, implement new solutions, and maintain flexibility as your business needs change.

A sensible way to avoid these pitfalls is to deploy a software-defined data center – essentially creating a cloud-like infrastructure on your physical environment.

This model uses software to manage the configuration and dynamically shape the infrastructure to your needs, providing enhanced security and increased agility. This provides a level of multitenancy that’s critical for companies integrating acquisitions or with complex requirements.

As great as this sounds, however, there’s a big difference between understanding the benefits of a software-defined data center and actually rolling one out. If you’re worried that your organization might not be fully prepared to build and deploy the infrastructure, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered.

Here’s how to design an agile and secure multi-tenant as-a-service data center.

1. Build a strong foundation

Build your physical infrastructure first. You must determine how your environment is going to be configured, connected, and interconnected to other sites.

Start by examining your current setup. For instance, are you in a physical infrastructure, either colocation or your own facility? Then start identifying what you want from your future environment. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you plan to support applications in the cloud?
  • Do you plan to support applications on site?
  • How much conditional security do you want in the environment and how will you maintain consistent security practices across the board
  • What is your strategy for disaster recovery?

The answers to these questions will help you decide your appetite for being in both a physical infrastructure and cloud.

With this information, you can then flesh out the hardware you need as well as the required software management overlay that controls it. Some examples of the latter include:

  • Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI)
  • Cisco Data Center Network Manager (DCNM)
  • VMware NSX-T
  • Juniper Apstra

After you’ve chosen the underlying hardware, turn your attention to the layer of orchestration software that sits on top of everything and manages it. Orchestration platforms, like Microsoft Azure Automation, Cisco Network Services Orchestrator (NSO), BMC Multi-Cloud Management and VMware CloudHealth, feature API integration and will coordinate the entire stack for you.

There are countless choices at each level. What you need from your infrastructure will, ultimately, dictate the path you take.

2. Design for flexibility and growth

The journey begins with a strong foundation, but make sure you’re designing your data center with flexibility and growth in mind.

Once your software overlay and orchestration tools are in place, you may want to add additional compute resources. You may want to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) measures to look at traffic patterns and improve your infrastructure through analytics.

Furthermore, ensure you’re giving your developers an environment that lets them actually develop. That’s where multi-tenancy comes into play.

With a multi-tenant setup, you can create logically separate mini data centers that mirror public cloud provider capabilities and ease integration in the case of joint ventures, B2B relationships, and line-of-business managed solutions.

While you must plan for your current business needs, you must also keep an eye on the future. Be sure you’re standardizing your practices and taking advantage of available commercial tools to allow you to optimize productivity and maintain focus as business needs shift.

Move toward a software-defined environment sooner rather than later

Legacy infrastructures are more challenging to support and much more difficult to troubleshoot. They prevent you from making the most of – and implementing – newer technologies. They also hinder flexibility and agility and limit your ability to scale as needed.

With a software-defined infrastructure, you can resolve these issues faster while also providing a better user experience.

Of course, this transformation doesn’t happen overnight. You may also lack the in-house expertise to tackle this endeavor by yourself. Don’t let these reservations stop you.

SHI will workshop with you to build a strong foundation, choose the right software overlays, and create an infrastructure that is secure and agile. In essence, SHI works with you to determine the best solution for your needs. Contact us to get the conversation started.

Don’t let your outdated infrastructure hold you back. Act now and set yourself for better performance today and in the future.