News Flash: To Be a Cloud Hero, You Must Be Fast and Agile
Quick! What superhero do you think of when you read the word “agile?” If you are like me, you probably think of The Flash. And now, let’s imagine being a SysAdmin trying to cable up a datacenter. Consider the old way of racking and stacking hardware, color coding and labeling all of the cabling, and running back and forth between routing equipment and other hardware. Or perhaps you are a network administrator, madly typing in thousands of lines of CLI code for every routing device across the organization. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do either of those at near light speed like The Flash?
While superhero speeds and agility like The Flash’s don’t come naturally, it is possible to accelerate applications and networks and improve the agility of deployments and management using Riverbed solutions.
SimplePay, a payment processing services company established in 2012, recently expanded to a global operation to reach target customers in Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US. Unfortunately, their IT infrastructure could not keep up with the speed of a distributed operation. To develop their global footprint, Rob Gillan, SimplePay’s Chief Technology Officer, chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) because of the ability to deploy infrastructure within regional zones and single-pane-of-glass management.
But to avoid having to virtually race around like The Flash connecting virtual environments within AWS, Gillan turned to Riverbed’s SD-WAN solution, which not only automated networking between regional clouds, but also provided a consistent and secure connection anywhere in the world. And the speed at which Gillan and team deployed and managed their networks verged on superhuman.
“We’ve been able with AWS and Riverbed to not have any infrastructure that we own from an asset perspective,” said Gillan. “We’ve got an ability now to very quickly build and deploy a global network that would have taken months of planning and deployment before, now in hours. You literally can turn on a new country in 15-20 minutes and that’s unheard of in this industry.”
Using Riverbed’s SteelConnect web console, deployments occur at Flash-like velocities. “We go ‘deploy please’ and it does everything for us. We say we need to deploy to this country, this country, and this country and it just happens. And ten minutes later there’s a global map sitting on your Riverbed SteelConnect console with green links between all the sites, it’s that simple.”
Rapidity and agility make mortals into heroes. Unfortunately, networks of today are actually running yesterday’s technology, and while compute, storage and other services have evolved, much network technology hasn’t changed in decades. According to ZK Research, it takes businesses four months to make network changes; and human error introduced by high-touch programming causes over a third of network downtime. This is not heroic by any measure. A true cloud hero will push well beyond the limits imposed by routers with CLI configurations and error-prone human interactions, by utilizing superpowers given by Riverbed.
But even with screaming-fast, properly-configured networks, you can’t always perform heroic feats when it comes to application performance. When CenterPoint Properties decided to migrate its IT environment to the public cloud, their application performance slowed to a substandard rate.
“In the very beginning, the cloud applications were slow and employees didn't like that,” says Beverly Maestas, VP of Technology Operations for the company, which acquires, develops, and manages industrial property and transportation infrastructure. Frustrated end users complained that they couldn’t get their work done.
Accelerating bits and bytes via a Riverbed solution made Maestas and her team cloud heroes as they were able to accelerate Office 365, reduce network traffic by 63%, and improve visibility into network performance. “Our IT organization isn’t that big, having our own datacenter is not our core business, and Riverbed has helped us feel bigger, move faster, and be more agile,” Maestas says.
Let’s think once again about the speed and agility of The Flash. Engen, an African-based energy group that refines and markets petroleum products, has 3,500 employees working in a vast network of facilities, depots, warehouses, and terminals. Unfortunately, because their network architecture required remote sites to inefficiently connect to their corporate WAN via regional offices, data bottlenecks were occurring that degraded overall performance. The Flash was stuck in molasses.
“Our help desk was getting lots of complaints from end-users,” says Nicholas Lain, architecture specialist at Engen. “Screens would freeze and connections were dropped. Ultimately our users were very frustrated and their productivity suffered.”
In order to unshackle Flash-like velocity and agility within the dispersed corporate architecture, Lain solved the app performance issues with Riverbed solutions. The end result was a 3x increase in connection speed, up to 75x improvement in application performance, and 80% reduction in data crossing the WAN. He also software-defined his company’s edge IT, which “enabled us to re-architect our branch IT, so that all branch offices and depots are now directly connected to the WAN.”
Connectivity runs at the speed of light in ideal situations. Unfortunately, due to the complexity of IT, the convergence of public and private architectures, and the nuances associated with complex application development and networking, Flash-like performance is often not achieved. But unleashing optimized applications and networks, quickly and efficiently, can occur when cloud heroes tap into the power of Riverbed.