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Cisco helps automate Experian’s worldwide data centres

Cisco helps automate Experian’s worldwide data centres

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Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure (Cisco ACI) will serve as the foundation for Experian’s data centres and colocation sites around the globe. With a standardised, integrated network architecture, Experian will be able to consistently deploy, manage and secure applications across dozens of regionally distributed computing sites.

Recently named one of Forbes’ Top 100 ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ in 2018, Experian launched a global data centre innovation initiative to modernise, standardise and automate its data centre technology. Cisco ACI will provide improved global technology operations for Experian, which has one of the largest databases of consumer information in the world. ACI is the core technology for Cisco intent-based networking in data centres.

“We wanted to standardise our network architecture and IT operations worldwide,” said Robert Abner, Senior Network Engineer at Experian. “And we wanted to implement policy-based automation so that changes could be made universally instead of one switch, one data centre and one region at a time. With Cisco ACI, we can develop standardised scripts and policies and then push them to all of our sites.”

Connecting data centres in key regions

Experian is using Cisco ACI Multipod to logically connect multiple data centres within three key regions: the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil, which allows them to be managed as one big data centre. Regional resources can be managed collectively and workloads can be spread among multiple sites for greater redundancy.

“With Cisco ACI, we have more granular control of traffic, policy and security,” said Abner. “For example, we can make a change to a single tenant or server with contracts and filters instead of making changes to the firewalls. It’s easier, less risky and doesn’t impact the entire environment.”

Aligning virtual and physical environments

To further extend data centre consistency and operational efficiency, Experian is now testing and preparing to deploy the new Cisco ACI Virtual Edge (AVE). The next generation of the Cisco Application Virtual Switch (AVS), AVE is a hypervisor-independent virtual appliance that pushes the functionality and control of Cisco ACI into virtual environments.

“ACI Virtual Edge will eliminate the overhead of VLAN management and it will allow us to configure once and deploy everywhere, which will save time and costs,” said Abner. “It will also enable us to track communications between virtual and physical machines.”

Intent-based networking

Intent-based networking represents a fundamental shift in the way networks are built and managed. Moving away from the manual, time-intensive methods by which networks are traditionally managed, these modern networks capture business intent and translate it into network policies. These policies are then automatically activated across the entire infrastructure, with the assurance that the business intent is delivered as planned. Cisco is leading the intent-based networking revolution by transforming the entire network — from the data centre and campus, to the branch and edge.

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