REVIEWER: Denis Martin, executive vice president and chief technology officer at NaviSite
BACKGROUND: NaviSite, a Time Warner Cable Company, is a leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class, cloud-enabled hosting, managed applications and services. NaviSite provides a full suite of reliable and scalable managed services, including application services, enterprise hosting and managed cloud services for enterprises looking to outsource IT infrastructure and lower capital and operational costs. NaviSite’s customized solutions are delivered through a global footprint of state-of-the-art data centers.
PLATFORMS: Infineta Data Mobility Switch is a physical networking appliance that NaviSite has deployed in its data center in a couple different ways. First, the DMS was deployed inline on a Layer-3 link (between two routers, or a router and a switch) and a Layer-2 link (between two switches), and supports both 1GigE and 10GigE ports. The DMS was also deployed out of path, where it was “hung off of” a router using policy based routing.
PROBLEM SOLVED: NaviSite launched managed cloud services for enterprise customers about two years ago. NaviSite weaved together multiple remote data centers into a large private cloud using high speed MPLS links for connectivity. NaviSite identified the following applications and traffic types to fully serve their cloud customers: Oracle Replication for E-Business platform; VMware backup and replication; Double-Take DR and replication software; and back-office bulk file transfers and log shipping. NaviSite ascertained that the initial set of customers will lead to a terabyte of data being transferred between sites every four to five days. In early phases of testing, the NaviSite team experienced very low utilization and response times between its California and Massachusetts facilities over a multi-gigabit MPLS link, and quickly recognized the WAN bottlenecks that could only be addressed by a WAN optimization solution that was purpose-built to accelerate big traffic workflows.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Four months ago, NaviSite deployed DMS and saw immediate utilization and performance improvements. The initial rollout included the California and Massachusetts facilities, with additional sites to be included over time. After implementing Infineta’s DMS as a key part of its cloud infrastructure, NaviSite has seen tremendous data reductions in our inter-data center cloud nodes, as well as increased baseline WAN throughput and WAN acceleration enabled transfers. The performance improvements allow NaviSite to deliver these services to additional customers without needing any physical capacity increase, leading to significant reduction in the marginal cost of adding new customers. Furthermore, with the 3-5x virtual bandwidth increase delivered by the DMS, NaviSite does not have to invest in WAN infrastructure upgrades in the near term, keeping both CAPEX and OPEX in check.
STRENGTHS: The DMS delivered immediate performance improvement (up to 10x in some cases) with very little investment in terms of training, and was extremely easy to deploy.
WEAKNESSES: Infineta doesn’t presently offer a central manager to manage a number of DMS’s deployed worldwide. Infineta has indicated that a central manager is currently on the product roadmap to be delivered in mid-2012.
SELECTION CRITERIA: The performance benefits delivered by the DMS outpaced benefits offered by all other solutions. Furthermore, the throughput levels to which the DMS can scale ensure that NaviSite doesn’t have to upgrade deployed DMS systems for a long time even with steady growth in WAN traffic rates. NaviSite can simply upgrade DMS performance via a software license (as part of a software upgrade) instead of ripping and replacing existing gear for added performance.
DELIVERABLES: The DMS provides a very user friendly graphical interface that provides useful reports to track performance improvements for the entire system, a given application or a single TCP connection. All reports can be exported as PDFs (and the data can be exported as CSVs) for offline review.
VENDOR SUPPORT: We received extremely timely support from the pre-sales and post-sales team at Infineta, and they are more than happy to brainstorm new deployment options with us as needed. In fact, the pre-sales guys were instrumental in helping us think through the optimal deployment options for the DMS in our network.
DOCUMENTATION: The DMS comes equipped with one of the most complete set of supporting documents I have seen for any 1.x product in a long time. There are dedicated documents covering the pre-install checklists, deployment planning guides, deployment options guide, user interface guides, command-line interface guides and a full set of FAQs. Also the graphical interface provides a contextual help function that is extremely relevant and detailed.
Product reviews are customer testimonials. We thank the author of this review for taking the time to share his or her expertise.