Uniserver, a leading cloud and IT services provider in the Netherlands, has a single, clear mission: to make IT simple. Internally, however, the effort involved in provisioning cloud infrastructure and services for customers was anything but. Today, Uniserver is using Cisco virtualization and network orchestration tools, including the Cisco Virtual Topology System (VTS), to make its data center simpler, more flexible, and much more responsive to customer needs.

Netherlands-based cloud hosting provider, Uniserver Headquarters

Managing Escalating Complexity

Uniserver has been a leading network and cloud services provider in the Netherlands for many years. But as the number of pure-cloud competitors has grown, their data center infrastructure needed to be prepared for the future. The company was moving to more virtualized resources and cloud capabilities in the hopes of becoming faster and more adaptable. Company leaders envisioned a day when they could deliver all applications and platforms, for all customers, from pools of virtualized functions. But their existing data center infrastructure wasn’t designed for a virtualized, cloud-connected world and was reaching its limits.

Onboarding new cloud and infrastructure services could take days, or even weeks. And a reliance on complex manual configurations for each new service or change left ample opportunity for human error—increasing the risk of delays and outages. In fact, Uniserver operations teams spent too much time simply “putting out fires.” Often there was not enough left over to focus on future developments.

Uniserver leaders knew it was time to make a change. And last year, they did: deploying Cisco VTS and other Cisco data center solutions with the help from Cisco Premier partner Quanza Engineering.

Building a Programmable Data Center Fabric

Cisco VTS provides a simple, powerful software-defined networking (SDN) framework to automate the provisioning of multitenant data center overlay networks. It’s helping Uniserver to drive out much of the complexity associated with building and managing resilient cloud services, and deploy infrastructure services—even complex chains of virtualized functions—much more quickly and easily.

                                            Cisco Virtual Topology System

Using Cisco VTS gives Uniserver a standards-based, open software platform-to manage provisioning of their data center fabric. Instead of complicated, time-consuming manual coding and configurations, they can now create reusable templates to deliver cloud and network services much more quickly and consistently—without human error.

The Cisco software makes day-to-day management and orchestration of the infrastructure much simpler, allowing even non-technical staff to provision physical and virtual infrastructure services to customers in minutes. In fact, during the Proof of Concept, Uniserver’s COO was amazed to discover that he could now provision a new customer-facing service or even a full data center—a process that used to entail extensive manual coding—with a few clicks of a mouse. That speed translates directly to better responsiveness to customer needs—and faster time-to-revenue for new customer orders.

Delivering a Better Customer Experience

Using Cisco VTS and other Cisco data center tools, Uniserver has also dramatically improved the stability of its environment. The new, automated data center fabric includes tools to segment traffic and ensure a much higher level of resilience and availability. Uniserver staff can now perform maintenance and software updates without impacting customer services. The result is fewer outages, much less downtime, and superior customer-facing services.

With Cisco VTS SDN capabilities, Uniserver’s data center fabric is also more open, flexible, and adaptable. The company can easily integrate programmable physical and virtual network resources from multiple vendors, as well as public cloud resources. And, they can integrate with multiple virtual infrastructure manager (VIM) environments and hypervisors—their current VMware platform, as well as OpenStack and bare-metal provisioning in the future if they choose—over the same Layer-2 network, using a single console.

Just as important, Uniserver’s operations teams can now focus on embracing new DevOps models and driving new innovations for customers, instead of spending all their time just keeping the lights on.

As Chango Eersel, Uniserver’s director of operations said, “Continuously innovating and investing in new network technologies is essential to provide our customers with quality services and offer the most reliable cloud infrastructure. With the support from Cisco and VTS, our automated data center network has allowed us to offer new services and solutions rapidly to our customs and partners.”

Chango Eersel, COO, Uniserver

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John Malzahn

Senior Marketing Manager

Service Provider Cloud Solutions