Global Application Networking Company Improves Performance and Agility



About the Company

An application delivery networking vendor, the company runs a technical user community site where over 100,000 global IT professionals collaborate with peers to enhance and create solutions to better deliver applications. This community site is a key competitive differentiator for the company, who is the recognized market share and innovative leader in its space.

The Vision and Challenge

The company had an increased desire to accelerate deployment lifecycles and deliver more features quickly to the community site, which required the company’s development team to quickly improve the site’s manageability, scalability and lifecycle management without adding headcount or significantly increasing operating costs.

As successful as the site was, the success created some challenges that needed to be addressed. The biggest challenge was the ever-increasing number of users, applications and modules. The more successful it became, the more the needs of every component grew. Not only were there more users and internal customers, but also more globally-distributed users. There were also more security risks stemming from social application complexity and the open source framework. The IT team identified clear changes that would be required to be made due to the stress on the system.

The IT team managed their architecture through a process of mapping and understanding the intersections of infrastructure and data for this core community application. The community has immense value to the company as it is proven to increase customer satisfaction and increase the likelihood of customers to recommend them to peers. The application features and functionality are directly linked to continued positive influence of those metrics.

Until then, the site community was deployed in a one-size-fits-all enterprise IT environment designed to support financial applications and key business functions. To support the team’s business plans to grow and strengthen its global reach, the IT team needed to accelerate and optimize its DevOps initiatives.

The company determined they could meet the needs by virtualizing the entire site, including application delivery appliances and by migrating to a hosted environment in the cloud with enterprise architecture that mirrored what you would normally see in an internal datacenter.

“We knew the application would need to perform faster overall and we would need more frequent code pushes. To be successful, we needed an improved understanding of application and infrastructure dependencies, better performance and a manageable security plan.” —Senior Director of Product Management

The IT team wanted the community to be able to grow and expand rapidly. There was a desire to propel the community forward in a way that traditional IT infrastructure couldn’t. IT wanted a cloud infrastructure they could implement, embrace and manage successfully that reduced complexity and increased agility. The architecture needed to address typical cloud concerns regarding security and performance while providing a reusable cloud framework that could be used for future projects. The company’s goal was to fully execute the migration in less than 30 days from contract signing.

Summary of Needs

  • Accelerate and optimize DevOps initiatives by improving site manageably, scalability and lifecycle management without adding headcount or significantly increasing operating costs
  • Enterprise architecture for the cloud that mirrored architecture normally seen in an internal datacenter
  • Architecture needed to address typical cloud concerns regarding security and performance while providing a reusable cloud framework
  • Full migration in less than 30 days from contract signing

The Outcome

Cloud was an obvious option when weighing the various paths that could be chosen to grow. All typical cloud concerns needed to be addressed when evaluating cloud providers. The company wanted to find an enterprise-focused cloud provider that had a clear focus on cloud and that understood enterprise reservations and needs.

The company chose InterVision as their hosted cloud provider due to their established position as a cloud leader and their vast array of best-of-breed products, which could be easily integrated into the site’s architecture that guaranteed an equal stake in the success of the project.

InterVision’s team guaranteed security and compliance and had technical credibility with the IT team, plus their environment was compatible with the VMware platform. Not to mention, the cost of InterVision’s environment was a lower operational expense than the existing environment.

“Migrating [our] global community to the cloud wouldn’t have worked with just any cloud provider. To complete the migration in our timeframe with an environment that supported our technology, we needed a cloud partner with an enterprise frame of mind not only committed to a successful implementation, but also our long-term success in the cloud—both from a financial and technical perspective. InterVision was that partner.” —Senior Director of Product Management

After performing a 14-day test drive, the customer and InterVision initiated a 30-day build out in which the design and infrastructure build, functional and scale/ failure testing, operational and process testing would occur. A four-person team from the company consisting of individuals from operations, development, security and testing were responsible for overseeing the complete build. The team tested, mitigated and documented 47 total failure scenarios and deployed over 100 sensors to monitor top-to-bottom health from a single point, including mobiles. Forty-two total processes were provisioned across two environments and only 124 GB of memory was utilized.

The final architecture resulted in a multi-faceted strategy utilizing F5’s BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager with datacenter firewall services, BIG-IP Application Security Manager and BIG-IP Access Policy Manager along with BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager, BIG-IP WebAccelerator and BIG-IP WAN Optimization Manager solutions. Together these represented an industry-first at the time, a true cloud-enabled Application Delivery Network (ADN) that delivered the agile benefits of the cloud while leveraging best practices from the enterprise. Having an environment that established enterprise best design practices was critical to making the cloud a viable option.

Post-migration, the community site immediately began experiencing the benefits of the public cloud and DevOps’ hoped-for agility became a reality with faster, more frequent pushes of updates. Security was no longer a concern with an integrated perimeter firewall, web application firewall protection for HTTP-level attack prevention and ongoing vulnerability scanning. The site’s assets were protected using enterprise best practices in a more dynamic cloud environment. Scaling of cloud resources was instantaneously available post-migration.

To constantly tune performance or handle community traffic changes for resources from the edge to the core, the site could instantly reallocate CPU, memory and storage to maximize investment without the constraints of physical hardware. InterVision’s cloud cost-analysis portal provides usage reports any time so there was never any uncertainty about what costs are, where they occurred, and where more or less resources are needed.

As a result of the project with InterVision, new features shipped faster, valuable information assets were comprehensively protected, and the customer could scale cloud resources on-demand. The customer could also respond quickly and confidently to tactical events and ensure the best community member experience.

Summary of Benefits

  • New features shipped faster with improved DevOps agility
  • Valuable information assets and community trust were comprehensively protected
  • The company could scale cloud resources on-demand and in-line with their strategic plans
  • The company could respond quickly and confidently to tactical events and ensure the best community member experience
  • The company benefitted from the agility of InterVision’s hosted environment while maintaining an architecture and delivery scheme that makes sense to enterprise architects and IT leadership

To learn about InterVision’s hosted solutions, click here.