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Transforming Your Cloud with HCI


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Over the Christmas holidays, I went on the usual trek with my mother in the beautiful Slieve Bloom Mountains in the middle of Ireland. It’s something she does every week, heading out early in the morning to slip and slide in the mud, count trees and enjoy the fresh air, coming back with nothing but new blisters and 20+ km under her belt. Every time I go home, I always end up spending half a day with her on some forlorn mountain or canal path, enjoying some quality time and a respite from the craziness of Manchester. The thing about my mother is that, regardless of being an avid trekker for over a decade now, she gets us lost, every time, without fail. I knew this, even as we planned the loop we’d walk, even when she kitted me out with all her walking gear, and even as we set out on that chilly morning. It’s daunting, going out in the wilderness with her terrible navigation skills and a couple of paper maps- how old school- just knowing that those two hours we’d planned on would end up being double. Sure enough, four and a half hours later, red-faced and exhausted, we finally got back to the car, just in time for the sunset. And that was without getting lost!

It’s the exact same thing with your cloud journey. From where you’re standing now, it looks like an impossible trek, a steep trail that leads into the whiteness of the clouds. It’s so much more complicated than plucking some whisps from the air and staking your claim. There are so many different aspects to consider, from finding the right solution designer and designing it, to actually deploying your apps/desktop/files and all of the bits in between without causing your company hundreds of thousands of pounds in downtime. And you have to be an expert in every single bit. But unlike our water-logged orientation maps, getting to your cloud destination is as easy as taking out Google Maps. Or, as we call it in the world of digital transformation; Hyper-Converged Infrastructure.

When you’re looking at digital transformation by adopting a cloud operating model, it’s important to simplify your IT infrastructure- and that’s where HCI comes in. It integrates compute, storage, networking virtualisation and management from a single plane to make it easier for you to reduce administrative tasks. It creates the foundation for your modern data centre and private cloud architecture, sort of like a map on which you add the little details; a ridge over here, a cliff over there….

But how do you know if you find the right HCI solution? People always say ‘oh you always have your head in the clouds’ like it’s a relaxing thing- it’s not. We were literally walking in the clouds for a majority of those four and a half hours and all it did was obscure the view, drown my hair and dissolve my eyebrows clean off (a very scary sight, let me tell you). But when you’re in the thick of your cloud journey, it isn’t so bad. Look for a HCI solution that combines simplicity, reliability, predictable performance and scalability to turn that misty blob into a fluffy ecosystem that feels like cotton candy and tastes like doughnuts (I can’t promise on the doughnuts).

Here at Cetus, when it comes to cloud we recommend VMware’s vSAN. It offers an exceptional storage solution and it provides a sunny, clear path to an organised, modern virtual infrastructure, so that you don’t start your cloud journey looking into a dark forest of unknowns. It doesn’t require additional software and it consolidates all of your data centre functions to reduce that pesky complexity, while abstracting compute, storage and networking resources. Combining direct-attached storage devices, vSAN forms part of a vSphere cluster that creates a distributed, shared data store. Its HCI that reduce the issues regarding complexities and incompatibilities of traditional data centres while offering a software-defined approach to control and manage your virtual data centre environment.

When my mother gets lost on the rocky face of the mountain, she has no one to rely on but herself. Or sometimes me, but I’m useless without a phone signal. Starting your cloud journey doesn’t have to be a dreaded first step into the gloom, and you don’t have to do it alone. With the Cetus team behind you, feel confident that no matter what ravine lies ahead we’ll guide you around them and straight to the cloud without fail. If you want to hear more about VMware and maybe pick our experts’ brains on the best way to get your cloud journey mapped out clearly and easily, make sure to register for our Transform Your IT Strategy with VMware workshop at the end of this month, and sprint ahead of your competition in 2019.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Award, Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized, VMware

Going Above and Beyond with VMware


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It’s been an incredible start to 2018 for Cetus. You may recall a recent blog when we announced that we earned VMware’s highly sought-after competency in Network Virtualisation– now we can proudly declare that we have been recognised as the VMware Rising Star of the Year 2018!

After being nominated and shortlisted earlier on this year, we were holding our collective breaths as a small group of Cetus elite travelled to London beneath sunny skies on the 18th of April. The prestigious VMware awards were presented at the 8th Partner Recognition Dinner in the Amba Hotel in Charing Cross- very fancy altogether.
VMware hosts the annual awards as recognition for those partners in the UK who have gone above and beyond in the field of IT solutions and are key to the growth and success of the major vendor- so of course we’d at least be nominated! That being said, we knew that we’d be up against some very tough competition. But we rose above the other nominees, having proven that Cetus are one of the best in the delivery, service and support to users of VMware solutions.

The Rising Star award recognises Cetus Solutions as a quality provider of VMware, going farther than most to design a bespoke solution to fit your business and be there for you when any problems arise. It guarantees excellent service, from the moment you start researching the answer to your IT problems, all the way through to its the implementation and beyond.

“We are delighted to win the award for Rising Star 2018 at VMware’s prestigious UK&I Partner Recognition Dinner. For us, the award celebrates what has been a fantastic year helping our customers to transform their organisations with market-leading technologies from VMware. The award recognises our continued investment to achieve and maintain the highest levels of technical competency, knowledge and experience across VMware technologies to ensure we deliver first-class solutions, service and support for our customers.” said Claire Gibson, Head of Marketing and Strategic Vendor Alliances, who went to London to collect the award.

“It is a great honour to be recognised by VMware as the Rising Star for 2018 with our focus on the NSX / VSAN solutions. Cetus have been working with VMware since the early days of GSX/ESX Server virtualisation platforms and continue to develop customer solutions based on proven technologies. The award is a great testament to my team’s commitment and this recognition is proudly received,” said Managing Director Mike English.

If you want to work with VMware’s brightest star to solve your IT solution challenges, speak to one of our experts today. Alternatively, our free-of-charge security posture review will provide you an opportunity to discuss your endpoint security challenges, as well as your wider cyber security posture with regards to perimeter, data centre and cloud components.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Our Upcoming Events, Security, Uncategorized, VMware

When ‘Traditional’ Approaches to Security Are No Longer Enough…


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Security attacks are without doubt increasing in sophistication and frequency. With the average time to detect a breach over 200 days(!) the damage an attack could cause is frightening… Simultaneously, for many organisations their IT infrastructure and networks are becoming increasingly complex – with 83% of businesses believing the complexity of their organisational structures and IT infrastructure is putting their companies at even greater risk for security breaches.

In recent years, the number of high-profile data breaches compromising sensitive information has continued to rise. Although breaches were achieved in different ways, the majority exposed the fundamental weakness of the perimeter-centric network security model: after all, once the perimeter is breached, it is difficult to stop threats from moving laterally (east-west) throughout the data centre. These attacks have proven that investing in perimeter firewalls is insufficient and that more investment is needed to secure east-west (server-to-server) traffic.

One solution is virtualisation. Virtualisation abstracts the underlying infrastructure from the applications running on top of it, giving IT departments full visibility into the data path. Abstracting applications from the infrastructure provides the ideal enforcement point to compartmentalise applications through micro-segmentation of the network. This allows simplified security-policy creation and management. It also helps reduce the overall application infrastructure attack surface and provides the ability to effectively prevent threats from breaching the data centre. Leveraging abstraction in the data centre also protects the infrastructure from any compromise.

In our attempt to help more organisations improve their security posture, we are proud to announce that last year Cetus Solutions earned VMware’s highly sought-after specialist competency in Network Virtualisation. VMware, who pioneered the term software-defined data center (SDDC), awarded Cetus with the accolade after demonstrating technical competency, experience and expertise in delivering NSX solutions.

VMware NSX is the network virtualization and security platform for the software-defined data center. VMware NSX brings security inside the data center with fine grained policies tied to the virtual machine they protect. Essentially, with NSX, IT departments can programmatically create, snapshot, store, move, delete, and restore entire networks with the same point-and-click simplicity and speed of a virtual machine—delivering a level of security, agility, and availability never before feasible with hardware-centric or traditional operational approaches.

Our Managing Director, Mike English, had a few words on the achievement;

“We are delighted to have secured the Network Virtualisation competency from VMware. In the last twelve months, we have seen an uplift in conversations centred around data center security and particularly micro-segmentation. VMware NSX’s capabilities makes this level of protection economically and operationally feasible for the first time for a lot of customers. By gaining this competency, it shows our commitment to helping customers define, deliver and manage their security strategy in line with their business requirements.”

With the threat landscape increasing ‘traditional’ security approaches are failing to effectively secure a modern organisation. Now is the time to revaluate your approach to security. Our free-of-charge security posture review will provide you an opportunity to discuss your endpoint security challenges, as well as your wider cyber security posture with regards to perimeter, data centre and cloud components.

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Blog, Our Upcoming Events, Security, Technology, Uncategorized, VMware

Micro-segmentation; As Easy as Stealing Candy From a Baby


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I often feel that trying to come up with a good metaphor is a bit like herding cats. I know; I’ve used a simile to describe the difficulty of creating a metaphor; but that’s kind of my point. As is the case with my latest blog requirement: Micro-segmentation. You see; VMware have already nailed it with their ‘Hotel & Castle’ metaphor for VMware NSX.
It just works…

It goes like this:

1. Think of your perimeter security as your ‘castle’. A solid wall of impenetrable protection with only one way in and out (your firewall). This is your ‘North/South’ traffic protection.

2. Think of what happens when your castle walls are breached: burning, pillaging, looting; all sorts of terrible things. That’s because your protection is facing ‘outwards’. Once in; your internal (East/West) traffic is unprotected and susceptible to pillaging. Now I’m not sure what ‘pillaging’ is, but the metaphor implies that your servers are now vulnerable.

3. Now think of a hotel. You can stroll in without being challenged (usually). But once you’re in you can only access public areas. If you need to get into staff areas, rooms, gyms or whatever; you’re going to need a keycard that grants you access to a particular subset of private areas.

That’s what micro-segmentation does – well, metaphorically at least. In theory, I now only need a short statement to align the metaphor with your data centre; so here goes: Micro-segmentation provides hypervisor level, layer 4 protection for east/west traffic within your data centre; preventing cyber threats from spreading once they’ve breached your perimeter security. Clever stuff!

I think it’s fair to say that my description above is somewhat simplistic. The good news is that our VMware NSX certified experts can explain it properly to you. Our free-of-charge security posture review will provide you an opportunity to discuss your endpoint security challenges, as well as your wider cyber security posture with regards to perimeter, data centre and cloud components.

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Directors-9619Paul Kiveal – Business Development Director
Paul works with business leaders, helping combine strategic objectives with innovative technical solutions, developing inspirational new IT platforms that transform the way technology powers organisations.