Case Studies Archive Search Case Studies

Ardenta Creates a Multi-Tenanted IT Infrastructure with F5 Application Delivery Controllers

IT managed services provider Ardenta wanted to build a high-performance IT infrastructure to meet the needs of its clients but had to keep each organisation’s applications, data, and network traffic entirely separate. Using F5 BIG-IP Application Delivery Controllers, the company built a multi-tenanted IT infrastructure that delivers high security and exceptional network performance.

Business Challenges

 

A UK-based business, Ardenta Ltd provides IT managed services, hosting, and infrastructure for enterprises that depend on high-performance networks. More than 75 percent of its customers are in the e-gaming industry, and these organisations need to ensure that their graphics-laden websites deliver exceptional speed, coupled with impeccable reliability. If their games run too slowly or are not available, players will log out, taking their loyalty and purchasing power elsewhere.

After 10 years of successful growth, Ardenta decided to build a greenfield IT environment across two international locations for added capacity to expand its business and meet the needs of existing and new customers, both in e-gaming and other industries. This new IT infrastructure had to be highly scalable and flexible so that Ardenta could accommodate changes quickly and effortlessly.

“We didn’t want to have to do a separate upgrade every time we wanted to add a new customer to our network or embrace a shift in the market,” says Con Spathas, Director of Ardenta.

Most importantly, Ardenta wanted to build a single network infrastructure capable of supporting many different customers simultaneously, while keeping their data, applications, and web traffic entirely separate and secure.

At the time, the company used load balancing solutions from two different vendors, but neither of these existing suppliers could offer products capable of supporting a multi-tenanted customer environment.

“BIG-IP products give us the headroom to grow our business and expand our customer base for many years to come.” Scott Hanson, Co-Founder and Technical Director, Ardenta

Solution

 

Ardenta selected a range of solutions from F5 and deployed them across three data centres. It installed four F5 BIG-IP 4200 hardware platforms running BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) and BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM); two BIG-IP 1600 platforms running BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM); and one BIG-IP LTM Virtual Edition, for use in the company’s development environment and another separate data centre.

This F5 solution supports a multi-tenancy customer environment and delivers all the functionality and flexibility that is so essential for an IT service provider. Spathas explains: “BIG-IP devices can be carved up logically to sit in different parts of our network and provide a mix of front-end and back-end services. Alongside load balancing, BIG-IP products also give us intelligent monitoring, application security, and global traffic management.”

In performance testing, the new IT infrastructure didn’t miss a beat when tested at 10, 20, and then 40 megabits per second (Mbps) of website traffic. In practice, there will be plenty of capacity to accommodate many more new customers. The BIG-IP platforms give Ardenta up to 100 Mbps throughput at each of its three sites, with the ability to easily lift this ceiling in the future, whenever necessary.

During the installation of the BIG-IP platforms, Ardenta took advantage of F5’s iRules programming language to customise network operations. For example, Ardenta uses an iRule to identify whether users are connecting through a desktop computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone and then directs them to the e-gaming site that will deliver the best user experience for that device. “iRules enables us to make this activity seamless to the user and super-fast,” says Spathas.

Benefits

 

Ardenta has succeeded in building a new IT infrastructure that will facilitate and support the company’s growth well into the future.

“This project represents a major investment for our company, so we had to ensure that we selected network products that would give us long-term value,” says Scott Hanson, Co-Founder and Technical Director of Ardenta. “BIG-IP products give us the headroom to grow our business and expand our customer base for many years to come.”

With the F5 solution, Ardenta has been able to create an IT infrastructure specifically designed to meet the needs of multiple simultaneous customers. This multi-tenanted environment will, in the medium to long term, be far more cost-effective for Ardenta than setting up a separate IT environment for each new customer.

“As a small company, we’re probably not one of F5’s most important clients, but we get treated like one,” Spathas says. “It is a nice, comfortable feeling that F5 is looking out for us, showing us how to get the best we can for our business, and helping us grow. It makes us think that, strategically, we made the right choice.”

“With load balancing solutions from other vendors, I would have had to have bought another license every time I added a new customer,” Hanson says. “With the BIG-IP devices, however, I can roll out services for another customer for a minimal additional cost.”

The BIG-IP platform keeps Ardenta’s customers’ Internet traffic, data, and applications entirely separate and secure, while enabling them to enjoy the cost efficiencies of a shared environment.

In addition, the use of BIG-IP Application Security Manager helps Ardenta to strengthen its defences around applications. “We have deployed BIG-IP ASM as part of a layered security strategy,” explains Spathas. “It helps us fortify our network and mitigate threats.”

Ardenta always strives to do the very best for its customers. The company believes it now has the IT infrastructure to deliver the exceptional service that its customers have come to expect. With the F5 solution, Ardenta can deliver an extremely reliable and high-performance service for its customers, 24/7.

The company finds the BIG-IP platform very easy to manage and maintain and has received good support and guidance from F5, from the outset.