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’s ARC MBR1400 delivers this always-available mobile connectivity.
Cradlepoint’s ARC MBR1400 integrated mobile broadband router provides 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.
Whether Scale Computing attends trade shows,partner roadshows, or “lunch and learns,” cofounder 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.
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.
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. The Cradlepoint ARC MBR1400 gives 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.”
Cradlepoint’s ARC MBR1400 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 ARC MBR1400 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.”
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.”