Even in the highly innovative cloud computing sector, global cloud solutions provider Virtustream is attracting attention. Virtustream enables enterprises to deploy enterprise applications like SAP into the cloud. A recent Gartner Magic Quadrant, ranking the top 15 global infrastructure as a service (IaaS) providers, positions the company as a visionary for cloud-based enterprise-class software solutions and services.
A key Virtustream advantage is the ability to tailor enterprise cloud solutions to meet its customers’ complex and diverse needs. Its move to offer encrypted cloud-based services was prompted by a prominent global client wanting to deploy its SAP implementation in the Virtustream cloud.
Mike Olson, Virtustream’s vice president of operations and compliance, recalled, “The client was unwilling to make the move without encryption. I was surprised to see that security vendors that provide encryption products for devices like desktops and laptops just can’t handle enterprise databases. During our research we found an SAP-endorsed solution from Vormetric that had been in production for several years; we decided to investigate further.
“We initially focused on business model compatibilities: We use a pay-as-you-go, consumption-based billing model and were delighted to hear that the Vormetric solution was flexible enough to support our primary go-to-market approach.”
Pete Nicoletti, CISO for Virtustream, noted, “Our technical criteria included ease and flexibility of implementation, performance impact, simplicity of key-management administration, and the ability to handle diverse task segregation models.”
A rigorous stress test was conducted on the Virtustream customer's SAP applications, running on a Linux server with a DB2 database. “From initial concept, to having everything fully approved by our customer took under two weeks. It worked so well, met our target price point, and with Vormetric’s reputation, we felt confident that we had made the right choice,” stated Olson.
Nicoletti said, “We recorded production response-time test data before and after implementing Vormetric Data Security and they only increased by a few percentage points because of the efficiency of the encryption algorithm and the fact that we use the latest Intel chip sets that support AES-NI (Advanced Encryption Standard-New Instructions).
“The expertise of Vormetric’s pre-sales and support teams was fantastic; they rolled up their sleeves and added value immediately. It’s good to know that this level of support is there, should we ever need it.”
Vormetric Data Security provided Virtustream with platform independent, single console administration for consistent data encryption and key management across all major databases. This extensible approach imparts improved security and operational efficiencies, and supports structured and unstructured data for Linux, UNIX and Windows servers. Vormetric Data Security avoids the need for application recoding that is frequently dictated by conventional column-level encryption and native database encryption technologies.
Virtustream’s clients employ many different modes of operation; from transferring all encryption-related tasks to Virtustream – including key escrow, key management, and administrative functions – through to requiring only a hands-off, monitoring role with no access to the administrative console. Nicoletti reflected, “Even if a client needs to change models quickly, the Vormetric solution can swiftly support whichever direction they want to take.
“The ability to handle any type of data, including databases at our client’s locations or at ours, and the ease of customizing profiles for separation of duties, is a really powerful combination. It allows us to enter sales situations knowing that we have a compelling answer to any of the prospect’s compliance or operational requirements.”
A frequent initial concern for Virtustream’s prospective customers focuses on the possible performance degradation caused by traditional encryption methods. Nicoletti responded, “Just like we did during our own proof of concept – because the Vormetric solution deploys so quickly – we can actually do the ‘before and after’ comparison using the client’s own data; they can witness for themselves how negligible the impact really is.”
He continued, “We’ve also found the solution to be extremely resilient. We continually validate how well our data center disaster recovery processes actually perform and we’re exceptionally pleased with the way Vormetric manages communications during process load location changes and application spin-ups; everything comes back online in a very timely, consistent and orderly manner.
“Our partnership with Vormetric and the power of its encryption solution has enabled us to turn an area of potential customer concern into a significant differentiator for our sales teams.”