Un-disrupt the Cloud Disruption

BY Ben Ball

The cloud delivers amazing new capabilities for end-users and enterprises.  It also exacts a cost on network teams managing the back-end.  On March 21, BlueCat hosted Toronto technology leaders to talk through the implications of the cloud on network teams.  This “Un-disrupt the Cloud Disruption” session featured a lively discussion between Jason Grant, founder of the Automated Method, and BlueCat CTO Andrew Wertkin.  Here are some highlights from the discussion, which was also highlighted in IT World Canada.

“Innovate faster”

Everyone seems to agree that large organizations today have one business requirement:  innovate faster.

In the recent past, that meant hiring more network administrators to manage inbound DNS service requests.  With the advent of the cloud, the deluge of service requests became so overwhelming that the old model simply couldn’t catch up – there aren’t enough networking professionals in the world to handle all the DNS tickets.

Wertkin summed up the operational risk like this:  “If traditional IT teams can’t match that rate of change, the business is just going to go around them.  The people pushing out new virtual private clouds on AWS or networks on Azure aren’t going to wait around for a help desk ticket for somebody to assign the new network.”

This is when the network team loses control of the enterprise – when project leads and developers start to build their own workarounds.  According to Wertkin, “that causes all sorts of issues – not just governance and compliance issues, either.  Stuff breaks, because the system can’t cope with such rapid change.”

One DNS to rule them all

The better way – perhaps the only way – to keep up with this new pace is network automation through DNS.  With a centralized core DNS architecture, BlueCat enables organizations to automate a range of standard tasks, pushing those out to stakeholders through a self-service portal.

Wertkin frames the new approach to DNS management with automation in place:  “There’s one way to create a new DNS record here.  I don’t care where that thing ends up.  Here’s the API. Create some sort of abstraction to these different technologies because the one thing we know for sure is if a workflow is on AWS today, it might be on Azure sometime in the future.  It might end up spanning two different systems.  So, from an infrastructure standpoint we need something that’s common, and DNS is one of those common elements.”

Speakers and participants alike agreed that the key to DNS infrastructure in the age of cloud is flexibility.  With a standardized system for DNS running through a single database of records, you can run just about any automation use case through an API or BlueCat’s Gateway automation platform.

Get started with network automation

Centralizing and automating DNS sounds like a big task.  Everyone appreciates the potential benefits of DNS automation, but many question the level of effort to get there. 

The response was telling:  for most BlueCat customers, getting sign-off from outside stakeholders in cybersecurity, budget, and procurement often takes far longer than getting a centralized, automated DNS architecture up and running.  Citing a recent customer example, it took three months for everyone outside of the network team to sign off on a migration strategy.  It took one week to actually implement that strategy.

Even customers with labs, sandboxes, and pre-production environments struggle with outside clearance for network changes.  Working through the dependencies, the project managers – this is what takes the most time.

Wish you were at our Un-disrupt the Cloud Disruption dinner? Check out our Events page for upcoming discussions about DNS in your area.

 

Ben Ball

Ben Ball is a Government Market Manager at BlueCat, handling business development and marketing outreach in the Federal, State, and local government markets. Ben served for ten years as a Federal employee, with three tours as a Foreign Service Officer (Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan), and five years at the Department of Homeland Security, where he focused on immigration issues. A graduate of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Pitzer College, Ben lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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