Infrastructure: the Past, Present, and Future (part 3)


The Future

When we left off I was told by my director that unless those of us involved on the infrastructure side of the house moved towards automation and the cloud, we were out of a job within a few years at most. You can imagine what this did to the morale of the team across the globe. The company I worked for had made a large investment in the public cloud and it wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. But was it really going to mean the end of physical infrastructure? Was our only option truly leaving everything some of us worked for 18 years to build really just over like that? Truth be told, I took it as my opportunity to exit and try something new. Take my passion for Nutanix and see if I could help others move from that Past three-tier state to the Present HCI state.

For this entry, let’s pretend I never left and what could I have done using what I had in my arsenal then, and even more now that could have driven thought change.

Just to clarify, here is the Nutanix environment I was running at one data center for multiple departments (left). This replaced multiple racks of server blade chassis, and for reference here are all the DAEs that we removed (right) when we consolidated to Nutanix.

So we are running Nutanix, moved from ESXi to AHV, and ended our ELA with VMWare. We then standardized multiple sites globally onto Nutanix, all of them being centrally managed from Raleigh, NC. While we are at .Next in New Orleans, we started hunting for a backup vendor for VMs running on AHV. (I’ll have a whole post about backup vendors and that story.) The company I worked for also had made a large investment in the public cloud. Now I had gone to multiple certification classes and taken multiple exams on different platforms. I did join the public cloud class and that was easily the hardest most convoluted education I had ever received. There was so much work to be done and every VM that needed to be moved over had to be refactored. We had to create a whole team just to deal with that and of course, they came from the server team, because Nutanix had made our jobs that much less complex.

I did keep in touch with my old team for some time, so I know some of the issues they had. Issues like getting the networking set up properly. Getting the tools up and running for building the marketplace. Rebuilding VMs up to the VM owner’s satisfaction. VM uptime dropping considerably. Burning through the 4-year budget in just under a year. Developers leaving VMs running that they weren’t using (see the budget comment.) These are still a lot of the same challenges that anyone moving to the public cloud faces to this day.

So how do we move forward? How can we capitalize on the elasticity of the public cloud but not have to hire a team just to manage it? Back then, I had no idea and there was no good answer. Now you fast forward and there is a good answer and an easy way to do it. Stop refactoring, use your public cloud, keep control with an on-prem cloud, keep your data secure, and don’t worry about refactoring. I honestly wish I had these tools 4 years ago, but maybe it is best I didn’t or I would not have become an SE at Nutanix.

We have made it so simple. You can run AOS and AHV in AWS and soon Azure. You can use all of the same tools and management features that you have become used to or will become used to if you aren’t a Nutanix customer yet. You can lock down your east-west traffic. You can use our tools for cost governance with the public cloud. You can create a marketplace that can spin up workloads when and where they are needed. You can use automation tools to monitor, alert, and even remediate issues in the environment. Need ServiceNow integration? Yep, you can do that too. Do you prefer OpenShift or do you already have an OpenShift portal set up? Keep using it we’re certified. Are databases getting out of control or performing poorly? There is a tool for that to help set up or rebuild database servers and always-on instances to best practices on-premise or in the public cloud. The list truly goes on and on. But the best part of this, you don’t have to refactor anymore!

These are the tools that if I had them back then, I would not have been scared by my director’s comment about automation and the cloud. I would have had an answer, I would have been prepared and excited. But we are here now! This is the future I could just barely envision back then. I am no longer scared of the public cloud and in fact, I along with most everyone here embraces the public cloud, as it has a place right next to us.

That is the end of my story, but it might just be the beginning of yours. Yes, I work for Nutanix but any of my customers or coworkers will tell you I am here to help people like myself embrace the hybrid cloud like I would have.

So what story do I tell next?


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