VMware helps AeroData take flight

VMware has announced that AeroData, has implemented a secure, highly available multi-site software-defined data centre (SDDC) based on VMware solutions to deliver flight data access for more than 21,000 flights in North America every day.
The resulting SDDC environment – which includes VMware NSX, VMware vSAN, VMware vSphere and VMware vRealize Log Insight–provides AeroData more efficient and effective security management, higher levels of application availability and continuity, and according to AeroData, the company’s SDDC environment has reduced costs by at least 50 percent.
AeroData’s flight deck client-server application is the last application used by pilots before the aircraft entry door is closed. The company knows first-hand that just five minutes of system downtime can result in more than 100 delayed flights, a significant loss of revenue, and damage to its customers’ reputations.
To meet those demanding high-availability requirements, AeroData established data centres in three physical locations, and deployed VMware NSX as part of an active-active-active environment to have critical flight information accessible at a moment’s notice, and adhere to both customer and federally mandated security requirements. Advanced NSX functions enable AeroData to use all three data centres as a single pooled resource of capacity to service customer applications. NSX cross-data centre capabilities allow AeroData to route customer workloads to any of the data centres, with live fail-over rather than a traditional backup/recovery business continuity environment.
“When looking at the architecture we wanted to move to, we started with VMware NSX, because we see it as the most revolutionary development in data centre security in more than a decade,” said Terry McDonough, President and CEO, AeroData. “Not only do we save a significant amount of money by modernizing our data centre environment using our existing networking hardware, but the features available through VMware NSX provide a dramatically more secure and highly available design. We simply could not achieve our desired architecture with a hardware-based approach.”
With VMware NSX as its core network virtualization platform, AeroData migrated many of its critical networking services off of hardware to NSX, including firewalling, load balancing, routing, switching, logging and monitoring. One of the biggest benefits for AeroData is the security provided by micro-segmentation using NSX. By isolating applications within micro-segments, NSX enables east-west firewalling and has reduced AeroData’s firewall rules by more 85 percent. Moreover, using NSX, AeroData has been able to create and apply firewall polices from one central management window to NSX applications across all three data centres. This capability has significantly reduced the time it takes to write and manage rules in hardware appliances, achieving optimum uptime while drastically decreasing the number of firewall rules.
AeroData has very specific availability and security needs, including load balancing of web servers and SQL Servers, CIPHER management, Client IP visibility, improved logging, improved health monitoring, and failover management. AeroData uses NSX along with a third-party intelligent DNS service to deliver global load balancing capabilities for its data centres.
AeroData has also adopted VMware vSAN to streamline storage management and improve application performance. VMware vSAN has significantly reduced the effort required to setup and maintain AeroData’s storage environment, which is an important benefit for a small company managing three sites and working to minimize costs for its customers. AeroData uses VMware vRealize Log InsightTM for centralized logging of its VMware and non-VMware environments helping it to rapidly pinpoint and troubleshoot IT issues across its sites. AeroData developed a .NET plug-in to forward application logs from .NET applications to Log Insight and to filter them efficiently. VMware vRealize Log Insight also provides content packs for various other third party applications used by AeroData, making it easy for them to transition from decentralized log management to a centralized log management approach.
“With the help of VMware, we have transformed our environment, and moved from being ‘hardware dependent’ to ‘software managed’ while dramatically improving the availability of our applications by eliminating single points of failure,” said McDonough.

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