Symantec has eliminated more than 213 years of lab administration time in the last 18 months by consolidating on a massively scalable, “Mega FlexPod” platform and leveraging technology from Cisco and Intel®.
When private clouds go big
Cisco and Intel®
partnering in innovation
Jon Sanchez, Director of Global
Symantec Labs, has built a massive
private cloud that delivers remarkable
time and cost savings
Symantec has eliminated more than 213 years of lab administration time in the last
18 months by consolidating on a massively scalable, “Mega FlexPod” platform.
Imagine eliminating more than 213 years—11,099 workweeks—of
administration time from your organization in an 18-month span. Now
imagine what could be accomplished when that time, representing
$26 million worth of personnel, is reinvested in the business.
Through consolidation and virtualization, Sanchez knew he could help the
customer support labs become more efficient and cost-effective. But he
didn’t want to just give them virtual machines (VMs). He wanted to give
them fully realized, software-defined data centers. In 20 minutes or less.
What may seem like pure fantasy has actually been accomplished
by Symantec. And the $6.9 billion leader in information security and
management has done so with one of the largest private clouds on record.
Engineering groups catch on
“We’ve definitely pushed some boundaries and broken some molds on
what has previously been touted as the biggest private clouds in the
industry,” says Jon Sanchez, director of Global Symantec Labs (GSL).
Rumors of a new GSL cloud spread like wildfire within Symantec.
Engineering, quality assurance, development, and even education services
teams heard about the customer support labs’ ability to spin up softwaredefined data centers in a matter of minutes. And they wanted in on the
That wasn’t the original plan. Initially, Symantec simply wanted to bring
together the technology resources sustaining 25 customer support labs,
which are tasked with replicating and resolving customer problems.
Sanchez suddenly had a scalability problem on his hands. Symantec has
600 labs worldwide. Giving all of them the amount of lab resources they
need through a private cloud would be a herculean task.
“Every lab was using its own servers. It was a purchasing nightmare, there
was competition for budgets, and we were wasting a lot of storage and
compute resources,” Sanchez explains. “And our TSEs [technical support
engineers] were spending too much time administering their own lab
kits. They had to install the OS, the network, the Exchange environment,
everything. We did the math on the time being spent, and it was the
equivalent of 45 to 50 full-time employees.”
“We tried with another vendor’s gear, but we broke it,” Sanchez reveals.
“It couldn’t handle our scale. So we turned to the FlexPod platform, and
even then, we had to stretch the typical architecture.”
Using the Intel® Xeon® processor-based Cisco Unified Computing
System™, Cisco Nexus® switches, and NetApp Clustered Data ONTAP
storage, Symantec built what is being called a “Mega FlexPod.” Instead
of a collection of “pods” that are loosely patched together, it acts as one,
seamless system with a single VMware vCloud instance.