With the collaboration of several partners, the system integrator has created a high-tech space dedicated to the evolution of the data centre paradigm into a true Distributed Cloud
VEM sistemi has recently inaugurated the brand new DEMO Lab set up at its Forlì headquarters and dedicated to the evolution of infrastructures in the distributed Cloud environment. Created using all the technologies that reproduce the typical infrastructure of a medium-large company, the lab, set up inside the VEGA Experience Centre (VEM Experience Garden & Academy), has been designed according to the distributed cloud paradigm in which data and workloads move from local to public infrastructures, maintaining consistent and unaltered levels of security and data protection.
This space, realised with the collaboration of several strategic partners – Cisco, Check Point, NetApp, RedHat, Rubrik and Schneider Electric – has been created with the intention of making the concept of Distributed Cloud understandable, giving Italian companies the opportunity to experience first-hand the evolution that is affecting the paradigm of Data Centre design and implementation. “Our mission is to make it easy for our customers to adopt and benefit from technologies and services that imply a high level of integration complexity,” explains Stefano Bossi, CEO of VEM Sistemi. “Here you will be able to experience the VEM approach that aims to simplify the management of infrastructure, applications and data, in order to create a Private Distributed Cloud that responds promptly to real business, security and service continuity needs.”
In detail, the corner houses a Schneider Electric SmartBunker, a solution that highlights the trend towards increasingly specialised Edge Data Centres as an extension of cloud services for all those processes that inevitably require proximity to the work environment for reasons of latency, privacy and data sovereignty, computational capacity and near-real-time response. A visit to the Experience Centre can also include a view of a more articulated Schneider Data Centre, designed for more complex needs. In the latter space, there are Cisco HyperFlex hyperconverged machines on which traditional applications operate, and others developed with microservices that, thanks to technologies such as Red Hat OpenShift, can be easily integrated with the services offered by the main hyperscalers. In fact, one of the most fascinating demos shows how to add to one’s physical Data Centre the resources and functionalities made available by any Cloud to make our Cloud-native application work at its best, for example to adapt to traffic peaks or to modify and update our services without impact and in a continuous manner, adopting a structural policy focused on DevOps.
There is also a demo involving the simulation of a ransomware attack on a corporate file server. The systems that come into play here are:
- NetApp: via Cloud Secure service and Data Sense, it will be possible to foil the real-time attack
- Rubrik: the presence or absence of threats on file server backups will be assessed using the Radar service, followed by a demonstration of cyber recovery, i.e. restoration of an infection-free data
All of these systems are protected from cyber threats by technologies developed by Check Point such as Maestro (a unique system on the market that brings the logic of horizontal scalability typical of the Cloud world to data centres) and CloudGuard, which applies the same protection logic to the Public Cloud infrastructure as the on-prem environment.
Andrea Giuliani, Head of Design Delivery, explains: ‘The new paradigm is the result of a project that was conceived more than a year ago and was born out of our daily experience with our customers. We realised that ideas often remained hard-to-understand slogans for which a strong level of abstraction was required from our interlocutors, as they lacked the possibility of seeing in a tangible way what benefits the solutions and integrations were able to bring. At a time when all companies are moving towards the cloud, there are many complexities, sometimes disguised. Being able to visit our brand new premises and touch the infrastructures involved allows them to better understand the areas of application in their realities. We hope that a visit to the Experience Centre will show our customers how a well-designed infrastructure enables them to create and run scalable applications in modern, dynamic environments, working through robust automation, so that their systems and resources are more resilient, manageable and observable.”
The new DEMO Lab is located inside VEGA, which stands for VEM Experience Garden Academy: a unique project in the area based on the philosophy of open company, where training, experimentation and sharing are core activities. In this pioneering location, customers, partners, students and young talents can find the ideal space for innovation projects, start-ups, research, seminars, events and training, in a high-tech structure. A hothouse of ideas that has already seen the birth of many new projects and which more than 580 customers, vendors, partners, institutions and students have visited. In the Experience area it is possible to explore the best solutions and technologies dedicated to the themes of workplace management, digital resilience and digital transformation. The Garden area offers a context for hosting meetings and events, and where the growth of new talent can be stimulated.
The jewel in the crown of the VEGA project is the Academy, which Davide Stefanelli, President of VEM, tells us about: “We strongly wished to dedicate investments, spaces, laboratories, and lecturers to this project and to make our contribution in speeding up the process of training new professionals, indispensable in an increasingly digitised world. The spaces of our Academy were designed to host the three-year professionally oriented degree course in “Information Systems Technologies” of the University of Bologna, of which VEM sistemi is a partner“.
Unique in Italy in the IT field, the course of study is characterised by an innovative teaching approach oriented towards the quickest introduction of students into the world of work. In fact, after the first year of university at the Cesena site, students continue their studies directly at the VEM Academy, where the professionals themselves act as teachers.
“The challenge for the near future is not only to attract people from the region,” Stefanelli continues, “but together with the university is to try to figure out how to enhance training to also attract people from outside the region and from abroad with teaching modules entirely in English.”
In addition to its university collaboration, for years VEM has been working with the FITSTIC Foundation, which runs two-year post-diploma vocational and experiential courses, designed and developed to acquire the fundamental technical skills in the fields of technology, information and communication, offering the opportunity to immediately enter the world of work. The active participation that characterises these courses sees the VEM Group at the forefront both in the formulation of curricula adhering to the needs that today’s digital market demands, and in the involvement of VEM group professionals in teaching, as well as in hosting students for training internships.
Among the numerous collaborative initiatives promoted by VEM sistemi, aimed at giving young talents the opportunity to approach the world of work, we should also mention: the collaboration with the Cyber Academy of Modena, the Master in Cybersecurity: from design to operations delivered with the University of Bologna, the Cyber Security Management Course of the Bologna Business School, the two-year course organised with UNIS&F to become a Cyber Security Specialist, and finally the IT Girls Project, a free highly-qualifying training course certified by Cisco, designed to bring young girls closer to ICT professions.
Testifying to the importance that the Distributed Cloud theme has for VEM, in recent days the acquisition of 67% of NEEN Spa, a Managed Cloud Provider specialising in the design and management of distributed and highly reliable infrastructures, and one of the first in Italy to have expertise in elastic systems and to introduce the Cloud in the management of IT services, was completed. Thanks to this important step, the VEM Group will now be able to offer Cloud Native services to its customers, thus completing the range of services provided, which is based on four pillars: technology integration with VEM sistemi, cyber security with Certego, software development with mydev, and finally Cloud integration with NEEN.