Voonami, Inc., is located in Utah and offers services ranging from traditional co-location to fully hosted, managed cloud applications. Voonami is helping their enterprise customers transition from private cloud to hybrid cloud by simplifying the provisioning and replication of complex application environments. With their existing infrastructure, moving applications around and deploying new applications was costly and time consuming. Deploying network virtualization enabled Voonami to decouple the network from the underlying physical infrastructure so they could instantly and programmatically create complex multi-tier application architectures.

I had the opportunity to chat with Voonami’s President Ben Bush about their deployment of VMware network virtualization. Ben told me there was no other way to accomplish this application portability without network virtualization. Here’s more from my Q&A session with Ben, and you can read our full announcement here.

Q: Give me a sense of what you were trying to achieve when you started talking to the VMware team about virtualizing your network

Ben: We realized that the traditional path [for networking] just doesn’t work. We really needed to disconnect the network, just like we have on the compute side. When we disconnected the network from the actual physical hardware we could move at a pace that customers demanded.  So the VMware team and network virtualization has allowed us to truly create a very dynamic network environment that allows us to deliver very complex enterprise application, architectures, but at the speed of a true cloud-computing type environment.

Q: What can you do now that you couldn’t do before?

Ben: Having the network virtualized has allowed us to make very complex environments portable. So what we couldn’t do before is say, “Hey, let’s build a very complex environment and then let’s transport that environment from one of our data centers to another data center.”  You were rebuilding the whole environment in the next data center as you tried to move that thing around so that really just wasn’t possible.

With the network being virtualized all of the information and “stuff” that really makes up the architecture of that environment is encapsulated as an entire application stack and you can import it as a whole.

Q: Do you have any customer examples that illustrate this point?

Ben: Sure, we have a customer at a university that runs a very large application on top of the cloud, and having the ability to have all of the virtualization on the networking side as well as the computer side has allowed them to replicate their environments and still maintain, in staging and in development, the same complex networking environment that they have in production. A lot of times I think what we’ve seen our customers do is they’ll have that complex network built in production but because it is so complex to replicate, they don’t run that same environment in staging, they don’t run that same environment in development.  We help them mirror that network in all three environments. That’s one environment with web servers, app servers, database servers, remote access, VPNs and things that all tie back into that application, and it’s all self-contained because of the ability to virtualize that network.

Q: Can you give us a sense of what’s next for you guys as you continue to virtualize the network? 

Ben: I think that’s a good question. I don’t know that we’ve fully realized the true power of virtualizing the network or how to take full advantage of what this all means. Right now, we’re just excited about that fact that we can build multi-tiered applications very, very quickly on demand and port those around wherever we want. There’s huge value in just that one application of network virtualization. That said, we’re looking for ways to the stretch the network where you’re figuring out ways to bridge between sites. That’s another application with huge implications on cloud adoption, particularly in hybrid cloud.

Roger Fortier