Much as we are living in the era of cloud, the fact remains that in the highly regulated industries, a bulk of mission-critical workloads continue to run off on-premise servers. Most of these IT hardware assets have been virtualized and VMware lies at the heart of more than 80% of these virtualized assets by all estimates.
With the cloud becoming a foundational pillar in enterprises’ digital transformation journey, CIOs are keen to move more and more workloads to the cloud. The shift is clearly taking place—and successfully too. For Home Trust Company, a leading mortgage, credit card and deposit services institutions in Canada, shifting the entire workload and production environment using IBM Cloud for VMware was a business-saving decision in the nick of time. When the pandemic struck in early 2020, the 1,00-employee-strong Canadian major was able to transform into a remote-working environment in a matter of just 24 hours. (See: Rising to the challenge.)
Overcoming compliance challenges
Companies are faced with serious obstacles when moving workloads to cloud. The most significant roadblock is posed by compliance requirements. Through partnerships with Intel and HyTrust, among others, highest levels of encryption, data protection, and compliance monitoring standards are enabled. This obviates risks such as inadvertent non-adherence to compliance and security requirements and enables clients to minimize audit risks as well.
Enterprises do have the option of developing an in-house reference architecture and migration framework. However, with even with a highly experienced team in place, the process can take anywhere upward of six months to put a robust reference architecture in place.
The IBM–VMware partnership provides a well-developed reference architecture upfront, which allows enterprises to straightaway start prioritizing workloads for the migration. In fact, IBM experts have noted that the provisioning can be achieved in a matter of a few hours of a workday. Some salient features enabled by the partnership include
- automated installation of vSphere on bare metal servers with attached storage options, with optional features such as VMware NSX and additional storage capabilities;
- a customizable virtualization service that offers full flexibility and configuration control, combines VMware-compatible bare metal servers, hardware, and licenses to build a custom IBM-hosted VMware environment; and
- a client-managed solution on a single-tenant infrastructure (see this resource for more details).
Thanks to the two partners involved, IBM and VMware, ‘IBM Cloud for VMware Regulated Workloads’ makes migration to the cloud a seamless affair. By virtue of their strengths in on-premises as well as cloud solutions, the duo ensure that all possible holes are duly plugged in when moving workloads to the cloud. Few other partners, if any, can match the value proposition that the teaming brings to the table.
Compliance is a big issue that needs to be addressed on a continuous basis and not after the completion of an event. Typically, a large financial institution may need several weeks of preparation for being open to an audit. With IBM Cloud for VMware Regulated Workloads, the workloads are always compliance ready. It even keeps track of instances where something went out of compliance and what remedial measures were taken to put things back on track. With IBM Cloud for VMware Regulated Workloads (see resource), clients can
- more effectively implement and govern security controls in the cloud;
- ensure auditing of all cloud administration;
- help protect business critical data assets; and
- prioritize meeting IT compliance for various national or industrial entities.
Control holds the key
When it comes to ensuring a fully complaint migration, it is paramount for the control plane to have a thorough visibility and grip on the elements in both on-premises and cloud environments.
IBM Cloud for VMware Regulated Workloads significantly achieves this through NSX-T, which serves as a common control plane across both virtual machines and containers, while also ensuring common security policies across both the environments. This also makes adherence to compliance more foolproof so that clients can more effectively implement and govern security controls in the cloud.
Also supported are bring your own key (BYOK) and keep your own key (KYOK) encryption services as well as FIPS 140-2 Level 4, which is the highest commercially available security certification.
As regulated industries undergoing digital transformation face the unique challenges of maintaining compliance in cloud environments and safeguarding their workloads, they must maintain a ‘full-stack’ understanding of potential vulnerabilities at the infrastructure, platform, and application levels. IBM Cloud for VMware Regulated Workloads is optimally geared to addresses their concerns.
Learn more about IBM Cloud for VMware Solutions.