ne Digital: Driving the Hybrid Cloud Revolution

Nicolas Echavarria, Managing Partner & CEO Hybrid cloud is the new norm for enterprises today. Although public and private cloud delivers proven benefits to companies, a hybrid model brings forth the promise of maximum efficiency and minimum spending, in particular for companies with dynamic or highly changeable workloads. As computing needs change, hybrid cloud facilitates the seamless movement of workloads between private and public clouds, leading to improved performance and benefits. According to Gartner, 90 Percent of organizations will adopt a hybrid infrastructure by 2020.

This new model, however, comes with a set of challenges around storage and network connectivity—that requires careful designing of the network topology—and visibility into the total deployed instances involving several cloud service providers. Also, it is really hard for organizations with small and very busy IT teams to have time to understand cloud deployment options in a very confusing and volatile market. Meeting these challenges and gaining traction across industries with its top-notch hybrid cloud implementation model for managed infrastructure is ne Digital.

Harnessing the Power of the IBM Cloud and VMware

The brainchild of Nicolas Echavarria, designer and alumni from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business— ne Digital was founded as ne Graphics in 1999 as a specialty hosted service provider. Over the years, the company has transformed into a full-fledged IT consulting practice that provides hybrid cloud with the power of IBM Bluemix Infrastructure and VMware Software- Defined Data Center (SDDC) architectures to Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs). ne Digital’s Hybrid Cloud Express (HCE) is a pre-built VMware Cloud that allows SMBs to reap the benefits of hybrid cloud from day one (more information on Hybrid Cloud Express can be found in This product relieves businesses from the burden of creating a cloud infrastructure from scratch, and companies can start using their new private cloud along with their already existing on-premise VMware cluster, if any. Organizations can save over 120 hours of highly trained engineering time that goes into building their private cloud as ne Digital’s experts take care of all the storage and networking complexities. Also, with HCE onboard, organizations no longer have to worry about changing the content or settings of its virtual machines to run in the new cloud.

“We have created an easy to use product with robust feature-set that allow SMBs to move their on-premise virtual machines to any of our 35 datacenters around the world,” says Echavarria, Managing Partner and CEO, ne Digital.

With VMware NSX, moving virtual machines into a Hybrid Cloud Express instance in the IBM Cloud without modifying a single parameter is a game-changer, our customers can even keep all their subnets and IP addresses intact

The key component that facilitates the transition of virtual machines without disruption is VMware NSX. While most cloud implementations offer Software Defined Networking (SDN), ne Digital offers true network virtualization using the latest version of VMware NSX. It also acts as the bloodline to high-end security, one of the four fundamental elements— speed, security, quality, and value— that make ne Digital stand tall against the competition.

To create a safe and secure cloud, VMware NSX supports the latest practices of micro-segmentation. The first of its kind, network micro-segmentation facilitated by NSX enables granular firewalling and enforcement of security policies on individual workload in four different pre-configured environments— development, testing, production, and management—each with a three or four tier application deployment structure (Data, Application, Integration, and Web). With micro-segmentation, security functions are directly integrated into a virtualized workload that does not require a hardware-based firewall. It ensures that security policies accompany the workload, in case of migration or reconfiguration of the network. Also, a well-configured VMware NSX implementation ensures that virtual networks are isolated from the underlying physical infrastructure. “With workloads isolated from actual network and all firewall rules implemented on each workload, security of an application becomes a first-class citizen in the virtualized world,” explains Echavarria.

"We have created an easy to use product with robust features that allow SMBs to move their on-premise virtual machines to any of our 35 datacenters around the world"

With security taken care of, the other deciding factors for hybrid cloud adoption are scalability and flexibility. SMBs should be able to make the most of the vast resources and free, unmetered data transfer among the IBM Bluemix infrastructure datacenters across the world, a must have for replication and site recovery. A complete quality assurance checklist by ne Digital ensures that all of the company’s HCE instances come with these capabilities and comply with the best practices and standards suggested by VMware and IBM. Echavarria expresses that the key to achieving customer success and overall solution sustainability is to abide by the best practices established by VMware in its validated designs.
However, no cloud solution is good enough if it cannot justify the cost and deliver value to the organization. Keeping in mind that the primary driver for any organization to opt for cloud is cost optimization, ne Digital—one of the few advanced VAP IBM Bluemix certified partners for more than 5 years, offers better pricing than the amount it takes for businesses to build it on their own, buying directly from IBM. This goes a long way in making ne Digital the ‘partner of choice’ among SMBs.

"With workloads isolated from actual network and all firewall rules implemented on each workload, security of an application becomes a first-class citizen in the virtualized world"

Reaping the Benefits of Hybrid Cloud

ne Digital's hybrid cloud implementation services are future-ready for cognitive and Artificial Intelligence(AI) challenges, a Hybrid Cloud with presence on the IBM datacenters around the world provides secured back-end access into API consumption of the IBM Watson cognitive computing services. “We enable our customers to stay ahead of the curve with their product and service offerings and relieve their IT teams from the conventional infrastructure burden,” states Echavarria. For instance, one of ne Digital’s customers wanted to establish their VMware cluster in a cloud service and stop investing in their on-premise aging hardware that was costing them a fortune to maintain up-to-date. ne Digital created a VMware cluster setup with the Hybrid Cloud Express implementation in one of the IBM Bluemix datacenters located in Washington. ne Digital built a layer 2 virtual private network (VPN) that effectively expanded their own on-premise layer 2 network. The completion of the setup instantly gave the client flexibility and accountability. The client was no longer worried about their local infrastructure since the set up allowed them to expand seamlessly into the new location and gave them the ability to add new hypervisors as they grow. With ne Digital creating an additional datacenter in IBM cloud, the client was also able to migrate their virtual machines from their on-premise location to the Washington datacenter without changing the IP addresses of the machines. This was made possible without a single modification, while giving the client a much-needed boost in speed and flexibility.

Echavarria credits these successes to the company's culture and their highly educated and trained team. From the moment an order is placed, ne Digital makes sure that the customer interests are at top priority. To make every deployment successful, the team focuses on finding the right alignment and determining if a hybrid cloud or born in the cloud model works for them. “Sometimes when these models do not work for organizations, we take the initiative to provide guidance and feedback on how they should move forward.” To maintain a high level of service, ne Digital also makes significant investments in education and training for their team, especially around virtual networking and VMware NSX. Additionally, the company strives to maintain a strong and stable base team that offers support to a group of on-demand trained resources that helps ne Digital to perform at its best during peak demands. “We are a group of highly capable and passionate people helping organizations evolve their IT model and infrastructure into a hybrid-cloud one,” concludes Echavarria.

ne Digital

Chicago, IL

Nicolas Echavarria, Managing Partner & CEO

Creators of Hybrid Cloud Express for VMware with NSX on the IBM Cloud. The SDDC for SMBs.

Ne Digital