Gauteng Business News

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IT & TELECOMS: Every Computer Has a Cloudy Lining


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Cloud computing has become the technology consideration for organisations that are looking to optimise their IT operations and reduce operating costs. Until now, leveraging the cloud involved either setting up and running applications in the cloud and managing them long-term off-premise, or running services as a one-time event. Migrating existing services, applications, and virtual machines to the cloud presented immense networking complexities, and if performed outside a local data centre, was a non-trivial challenge. Moving live services without user interruption was virtually impossible.

F5 and VMware therefore developed a joint solution to overcome these limitations and enable enterprise customers to migrate application services between clouds without user impact. Live virtual machine (VM) migration - moving a VM from one physical server to another while the machine is running and processing transactions - has been one of the core technologies propelling virtualisation’s mass adoption in the data centre. Live migration enables a more dynamic and agile environment as virtual systems flow between hardware devices based on usage, consumption, availability, and so on. Until recently, however, even this advanced technology was generally relegated to use within a local data centre, staying confined to one physical network.

“The F5 and VMware cloud migration solution moves VMotion from the binds of the local data centre and enables live migration of both VMs and the back-end storage across the WAN between data centres and clouds,” explains Andries Louw, Managing Director of Enterweb, an EOH company and the sub-Saharan distributor of the F5 product range. “F5 has created a workflow that automates the majority of the migration, making it possible to execute these migrations with a minimum of manual configuration.”

When designing a solution for WMWare’s VMotion product over distance, F5’s goal was to create a system that enables secure live migrations between multiple cloud-based data centres without any interruption in the application service or user downtime. “F5 accomplished this goal using a suite of existing F5 products and technologies that already plug into vCenter for VM application networking management,” says Louw. “Not only does F5 enable long distance VMotion events from cloud to cloud, but the same solution can be deployed within the local data centre to migrate running VMs from one physical network to another physical network (assuming the VM network configuration remains unaltered).”

This solution can help move VMs from the dev/staging network into production, or move a running VM between security zones such as the DMZ and the private network. This integrated solution between F5 and VMware enables long distance VMotion for between data centres and clouds for the first time. The solution works with existing network and IT infrastructure, and does not require a re-architecture of local or remote networks.

“This seamless solution uses existing technologies from both F5 and VMware to enable transparent live VM migration over long distances, guaranteeing the applications are migrated in a secure and optimised manner and always remain available before, during, and after the VMotion migration. Moving your applications and services transparently between clouds is now possible, and simple,” says Louw.

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