CRADLEPOINT-CONNECTED DEMO UNITS BRING SIMPLIFIED VIRTUALIZATION TO CUSTOMERS
Scale Computing’s mission is to help companies simplify their virtualization infrastructure by combining storage, servers, and virtualization into a single platform for running virtual machines in a highly available environment. It has found through experience that potential customers understand its value proposition better when they can see live data center product demonstrations. To aid that process, Scale builds portable “racked and stacked” clusters that provide what are effectively “data-centers-in-a-box” capable of running entire infrastructures for display at trade shows and other industry events. To operate these clusters, Scale Computing’s staff must be able to establish reliable network connectivity at remote locations across the globe. Cradlepoint routing devices delivers this always-available mobile connectivity.
Scale Computing integrates storage, servers, and virtualization software into an all-in-one appliance based system that is scalable, self-healing and as easy to manage as a single server. Using industry standard components, the HC3™ appliances install in under an hour, and can be expanded and upgraded with no downtime. High availability insulates the user from any disk or server failure and a unified management capability driven by the patented Ultra-Easy HyperCore Software™, efficiently integrates all functionality. The result is a data center solution that reduces operational complexity, allows a faster response to business issues, and dramatically reduces costs.
Scale Computing’s target market is made up of IT departments at small-to-medium and mid-market organizations that may not have the in-house expertise or resources necessary to implement virtualization. To demonstrate how its HC3 product makes virtualization easy, Scale builds portable “data-centers-in-a-box” that function optimally when they are able to access networking protocol for clock synchronization (NTP) to keep the clustered devices in sync. The Scale Computing staff also needs to be able to create its own secure WiFi networks when local networks are either too expensive or unreliable.
Cradlepoint routing devices provide instant-anywhere, application-specific wired Ethernet and 3G/4G/LTE wireless WAN connectivity that is highly available, reliable, and secure. Cradlepoint protects Scale Computing’s main office access through the use of advanced WiFi encryption, LAN Segmentation, and VLAN capabilities.
Mobile Connectivity: Whether Scale Computing attends trade shows, partner roadshows, or “lunch and learns,” co-founder and CTO Jason Collier says his company’s success depends on its ability to demonstrate its solution directly to prospective customers.
“When people see the actual HC3 product and how simple it is, the light bulb goes off. They realize that the infrastructure they might spend days if not weeks building to run virtualization can be created very quickly using our solution. Within ten minutes of set up, we can start deploying virtual machines off of a web browser. Cradlepoint enables us to show them that speed and simplicity, which is huge,” said Collier.
Affordability: Collier has found that many location-provided network connectivity solutions are either unreliable or very expensive. By using Cradlepoint, Scale gets the connection it needs at a fraction of the cost.
“Being able to have connectivity options saves us a ton of money at trade shows. Before, when we'd buy an Ethernet connection it would cost us hundreds of dollars a day. Since the Cradlepoint solution enables us to create our own connection, each device pays for itself on the first day of the first show we attend.”
Multiple Connectivity Access: As the Scale Computing sales team moves from location to location to demo its solutions, it must often improvise to obtain network connectivity. Cradlepoint solutions give the team a variety of ways to connect.
“Whether we're hooked up to Ethernet, WiFi, 3G, or 4G, we just don’t have to worry anymore,” Collier says. “We just show up at a location, turn on the Cradlepoint device, and we’re good to go. If there is any problem with our connection, the device handles the failover so we can keep going without interruption.”
WiFi Bridging: Cradlepoint routers enables Scale Computing to use bridging mode when it needs to connect wireless access points and join multiple LANs. Because wireless clients on bridged WiFi networks generally share the same bandwidth as the bridge devices, Scale also looks to Cradlepoint to provide an ample broadband connection.
“When we’re at trade shows we configure the WiFi as a WAN bridge. We use the bridge to connect to a hotspot on a phone or iPad, and then everybody in the booth tethers into the same cluster through the Cradlepoint. At the last show we did, we had five people in the booth running demos on the same cluster at the same time because we were able to get a very strong broadband connection through the Cradlepoint.”
Access to Core Services: Scale Computing also uses the Cradlepoint devices to provide the ATP transport protocol, DNS service, and broader router net access.
“It’s one less thing we have to configure in our cluster, because we just depend on the Cradlepoint to serve up this functionality. When we're demoing how customers can use our HC3 solution to create virtual machines, we use the Cradlepoint for DHCP and all of the other things that come along with it. And I've got to say, it’s been rock solid.”
Rugged Dependability: Between all the events where it demos its HC3 solution, Scale Computing estimates that each of its “data-center-in-a-box” clusters and Cradlepoint routers have travelled an average of 250,000 miles.
“Our equipment has been pushed out of the backs of trucks and just generally treated pretty rough. But the Cradlepoints hold up. We’ve been using them for more than three years now and haven’t experienced one fail.”
Industry-Vetted, Future-Proof Solution: Scale Computing is about to embark on the construction of a new generation of event clusters. In deciding whether to continue using Cradlepoint, Collier says that he factored in his own experience and that of other Cradlepoint customers.
“I did my own research looking at forums and reading reviews, and I feel confident that Cradlepoint will continue to give us the functionality we need. We just did a hardware release of a newer, faster platform and I’m planning on using the just released COR IBR1100 solution for the new clusters.”