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Global information, analytics, and solutions company IHS Markit provides data-driven insight for its government and corporate customers. Using VMware vRealize Automation, the company has already rolled out a private cloud that helped developers cut a 6-month infrastructure provisioning process down to one week. They’ve also been using VMware NSX-T Data Center to secure their workloads at a granular level with micro-segmentation, and to fundamentally re-think network design.

At VMworld 2018 in Las Vegas, Andrew Hrycaj, Principal Network Engineer for IHS Markit, spoke about the company’s plans for software-defined networking and hybrid cloud. IHS Markit has deployed VMware NSX Data Center, including NSX-T Data Center and VMware NSX Data Center for vSphere, into five data centers. “The NSX Data Center advantage for us is the fact that it can interact with so many different environments; from containers, to the public cloud environment with AWS and Azure, to on-prem,” said Hrycaj. “We’ll be able to utilize micro-segmentation across all of them with a common security footprint. If NSX-T goes to all those different environments, we can apply the same security policy across all those different platforms. It makes operations’ life easier because the transparency is there.”

 

Innovating with IaaS

The company continues to use the VMware vRealize Suite, including VMware vRealize Automation, heavily. IHS Markit has also installed VMware vRealize Network Insight and the VMware Identity Manager component of vRealize Automation, to help manage its NSX implementation. The goal is for the network operations team to use vRealize Network Insight to troubleshoot the environment, and to discover connections in the NSX Data Center environment when developers are writing applications in the private cloud. Hrycaj noted that the vRealize components help his team spin up VMs, and implement tagging and firewalls. “That way we can deploy product loads really quickly with a pervasive security strategy across the board.”

A major reason for Hrycaj attending VMworld was to give a talk about how IHS Markit developed automation strategies to provision VMs, and implemented firewall-as-a-service with vRealize Automation and VMware vRealize Orchestrator. It had taken up to 200 days for IHS Markit developers to provision resources manually. With these VMware-driven IaaS solutions, that time was cut to two weeks.

 

Into the Cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS

IHS Markit is beginning a project to move a lot of infrastructure to AWS using VMware Cloud on AWS. Hrycaj noted that one of the reasons they undertook their private cloud project was because they wanted some of the as-a-service “luxuries” that developers already enjoyed in the cloud. “In the beginning, we were trying to bring those developers back home, so to speak. But now, we’re embracing both worlds: our on-prem solution and VMware Cloud on AWS.” Using VMware Cloud on AWS will also allow Hrycaj and his team to extend their security footprint, including network and policy templates developed with NSX and Palo Alto Networks, into the cloud through a single control plane with no re-work.

 

What’s Next?

So what’s Hrycaj’s vision for what IHS Markit will look like at VMworld 2019? “We went from last year just learning about NSX-T to now having five fully-fledged data centers running all these different vRealize Automation and vRealize Operations integrations,” he said. “Next year, I think we’ll be heavily into VMware Cloud on AWS, and really big container champions.” vRealize Automation provides container management capabilities, including new integrations with Pivotal Container Service (PKS) for Kubernetes cluster management use cases. IHS Markit developers plan to use containers in the company’s private cloud.

Hrycaj continued, “We’re really interested in how VMware is stepping up container integration with NSX-T. We plan to harness the power of NSX-T to apply the same security strategies to our containers and multi-cloud environment alike. To see NSX-T grow at such an accelerated rate, and to think of where it’s going to be 12 months from now is really, really exciting.”

As IHS Markit has innovated with a new private cloud, “VMware has been with us step by step,” said Hrycaj. “That helps us develop our own product. And because we have such tight integration, we have the confidence to move into new products that VMware may be testing out in the market. We know that they’ll be there with us and not abandon us if things go wrong, and stay with us when things go right. So, we’re willing to go into a brave new world because we have a trusted partner.”

 

Learn more about how IHS Markit has been successful with automation and cloud services.