IHS Markit is a global information powerhouse, supporting the decision-making processes of the largest businesses and governments. Created through the 2016 merger of Markit and IHS, the newly formed company streamlined IT operations from the start by using data center modernization solutions from VMware to build a unified, on-premises private cloud.
Automation gave IHS Markit a strong competitive edge, dramatically reducing time to market for innovation and enabling the company’s IT environment to be more effective and efficient. However, IHS Markit wanted to drive further business advantage by leveraging the scalability of public cloud to propel its growth strategy. It now uses VMware Cloud on AWS to deliver a global hybrid cloud—without changing the way it deploys and manages virtualized infrastructure.
Enhancing agility, security and compliance
IHS Markit’s diverse customer base trusts the company to solve difficult problems by analyzing large volumes of data and providing timely and sound recommendations. To retain that business and drive future growth, IHS Markit must constantly innovate to deliver deeper insights to customers, faster. Approximately 1,400 developers work in nine development centers around the world, building information solutions to guide customers’ decision-making. Time to market and information security are of the utmost concern, and the company must comply with varying standards and data localization rules around the world.
As more countries demand that their citizens’ data be kept in the country, IHS Markit faced a dilemma: either forgo that business or commit to a certain capacity up front by spending up to a year and millions of dollars building a physical data center to support development and production workloads. Utilizing public cloud was an attractive option to meet localization requirements. However, IHS Markit wanted to leverage the automation and security policies it had already put in place with VMware vCloud Suite and VMware NSX Data Center, which had become crucial to maintaining its business velocity.
“We needed to respond even faster to the business, yet we faced increasing compliance requirements,” says Ben Tanner, executive director, head of IT product transformation at IHS Markit. “We saw public cloud as a positive disruption that would allow us to serve our customers better, but we needed a consistent framework for automation and provisioning across clouds.”
Enabling a seamless hybrid cloud strategy
IHS Markit was already using VMware vRealize Automation to deliver self-service infrastructure to its developers via private cloud and wanted to take that a step further by giving them a platform-as-a-service option on public cloud. The company decided to use VMware Cloud on AWS to extend its on-premises VMware vSphere environment into the AWS cloud and use VMware vRealize Automation Cloud for multi-cloud automation and governance.
“With VMware Cloud on AWS and vRealize Automation Cloud, we can provision and manage infrastructure the same way, whether it’s on public cloud or private cloud,” says Kory Grinberg, director of infrastructure and automation at IHS Markit. “That’s enabling us to fundamentally transform how we run IT.”
The company gains visibility and enables consistent operations across clouds with VMware vRealize Operations. Self-driving operations incorporate AI and machine learning to deliver realtime analytics and actionable recommendations that help the IHS Markit team proactively plan, scale and optimize its clouds.
Virtual networks are better secured by NSX Data Center, which provides an agile, software-defined infrastructure over any physical network to build cloud native application environments. Network micro-segmentation with NSX allows IHS Markit to build consistent, fine-grained security for east-west traffic into its application environments from day one, replacing much of the manual work previously required.
“NSX enables us to have a single security strategy across a multicloud data center environment,” says Andrew Hrycaj, principal network engineer at IHS Markit. “It’s multi-hypervisor and works with containers and public clouds, giving us the flexibility to deploy granular security policies wherever they are needed.”
Removing IT obstacles to business success
In just six weeks, IHS Markit moved 1,000 workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS from an office tower data center that had been gained by corporate acquisition and slated for closure. The company’s existing data centers lacked the capacity to absorb the workloads, so the team engaged VMware Professional Services and Technical Account Management Services to help coordinate and streamline the migration to VMware Cloud on AWS. Today, cloud native deployments can be completed much faster, with same-day, self-service provisioning of development infrastructure.
“With VMware Cloud on AWS and vRealize Automation Cloud, we can provision and manage infrastructure the same way, whether it’s on public cloud or private cloud. That’s enabling us to fundamentally transform how we run IT.”
Kory Grinberg, Director of Infrastructure and Automation, IHS Markit
By extending its vSphere environment into the public cloud, IHS Markit gains near-infinite scalability, as well as the ability to deploy infrastructure in different zones and regions as needed to meet data sovereignty and varying compliance requirements. As the company migrates hundreds of applications to the public cloud, it can do so incrementally and without refactoring, modernizing IT while minimizing any disruption to the business. It also benefits from a consistent cost model to avoid accumulating more physical infrastructure and technical debt.
“VMware Cloud on AWS and vRealize Automation Cloud accelerate our cloud journey and IT service delivery by enabling a hybrid, multi-cloud model,” says Tanner. “We’re removing bottlenecks for our product and development teams, helping them provide better and more timely information solutions for our customers.”
As IHS Markit continues with its global, acquisition-based growth strategy, it can onboard newly acquired companies much faster, using cloud infrastructure that meets compliance requirements. The company’s newfound flexibility allows it to pursue more business opportunities, realize value from those opportunities faster, and drive global growth.
“The ability to stand up infrastructure and better secure a network as quickly as we can with VMware Cloud on AWS and NSX Data Center is a game changer for us,” says Tom Hepworth, director of network engineering at IHS Markit. “We can finally move at the pace set by the business, not by IT.”
As IHS Markit deploys more workloads on public cloud, it plans to containerize applications and use vRealize Automation Cloud to manage Kubernetes clusters, giving the company a consistent operating model. IHS Markit also looks forward to using VMware NSX Intelligence™ to better understand application security requirements and firewall rules to strengthen security, accelerate cloud migrations, and simplify operations.
“One of the reasons we like to partner with VMware is that they give us an ‘easy button’ for just about everything in IT,” says Tanner. “That gives us time back that we can use to create more value for our customers.”
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