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What were the driving factors behind the need to modernise your network infrastructure ?
We decided to completely redesign our data centres and our main goals were to :
• Increase reliability and scalability of our IT infrastructure with a focus on our data centre architecture
• Improve the Disaster Recovery procedure to achieve a near to zero Recovery Point Objective ( RPO ) and a reduced and deterministic Recovery Time Objective ( RTO ) where all apps are recovered in less than five minutes
• Reduce capital costs by leveraging disaggregated networking using white box switches and also reduce OpEx by deploying a fully-automated networking solution
To achieve these goals , we decided to migrate our two legacy data centres to two new data centre sites and replace all computing , networking and storage gear . The biggest change for us was a much more elegant and cost-effective network design that supports an active-active architecture across the two new sites .
What changing customer expectations did you need to address ?
Creval has seen increasing usage of online banking applications by our consumer and business customers – they expect applications to be available 24 / 7 . We worked to improve the overall reliability of the data centre infrastructure and designed the new data centres in a way
THE SOLUTION WE PUT IN
PLACE HELPED US ACHIEVE
OUR DISASTER RECOVERY GOALS
BOTH IN TERMS OF RPO AND RTO . where applications can fail over to the redundant site in just a few minutes . We paid particular attention to scalability and manageability with the objective to put in place a solution that could scale easily and be managed by a small team like ours . Another key consideration for my team was to develop a migration strategy without service interruption .
How does the improved infrastructure design allow for better communication across your regions throughout Italy ?
In the two new data centre sites , we implemented a state-of-the-art spine and leaf infrastructure and connected them with two 10G DWDM links . On top of this underlay network , we run a VXLAN overlay . The spine and leaf design guarantees the desired scalability , while the VXLAN overlay allows for stretching the layer 2 and layer 3 services and the reliability of a layer 3 underlay transport . This overlay architecture enables us to deploy an active-active data centre architecture where a catastrophic failure of the primary data centre can be recovered by the backup active data centre almost instantly .
The network has been built using Pluribus Networks Netvisor ONE OS running on Dell switches , S5232-ON for the spines and S5248-ON for the leafs . This disaggregated network approach using the Dell-Pluribus solution is much more cost-effective than our legacy architecture .
The real engine in this solution is the Pluribus software . The Linux-based Netvisor ONE OS powers a unique SDN automation solution called the Pluribus Adaptive Cloud Fabric ( ACF ) that enables us to treat the two physically separated data centre sites as a single entity from a network management perspective , where the entire network fabric can be managed like a single switch . This radically simplifies the provisioning and management of the network .
To facilitate the migration from the old data centre to the new data centre , we installed a pair of switches to connect the two legacy data centres with the two new data centres , creating a full mesh connection . Leveraging the flexibility of the Pluribus
ACF , we were able to create a single fabric spanning all four sites which allowed us to have a seamless migration of workloads from the legacy to the new data centres – all with no service interruption .
The two new data centres are identically equipped in terms of computing , storage and network resources . To better manage Disaster Recovery situations , we decided to use one data centre as primary and the other as secondary . The connection between the data centre and the internal MPLS network , Internet and various network functions are redundant in both data centres and are configured in such a way that should a catastrophic failure occur in the primary site , the traffic is automatically steered towards the secondary data centre , with all applications back online in less than five minutes .
How far has the solution meant you ’ ve been able to fulfil your network redesign objectives ?
From the network perspective , we are quite satisfied because the solution we put in place helped us achieve our Disaster Recovery goals both in terms of RPO and RTO , and provides us with flexibility around workload mobility and Business Continuity . The overall solution is very easy to manage and provides an intrinsic level of redundancy that , during normal operations , can support multiple levels of failure without service interruption .
Critically , the Pluribus solution seamlessly integrates with our existing infrastructure which allowed us to dramatically simplify the migration process ; everything with the economics of open networking and White Box switches .
How has the project enabled you to operate with worldclass data centre infrastructure and how will this benefit both business and customers ?
Our team is extremely satisfied with what we have achieved with the network upgrade . We have built a state-of-theart , flexible , scalable , reliable and easy to manage data centre that can safely support our company evolution for many years to come . ◊ www . intelligentdatacentres . com