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HOSTING Creates a Versatile Cloud Solution for Mid-Sized Enterprises

Denver-based HOSTING needed a customizable traffic steering solution that could flex with the variable needs of its customers. Adopting F5 LineRate gave HOSTING the elasticity and programmability to meet the needs of an important customer segment, while at the same time aligning costs with revenue.

Business Challenges

 

Denver-based HOSTING is a premier cloud services provider serving mid-sized enterprise organizations. According to Chief Technology Officer Darrell Hyde, the company’s tailored, service-oriented approach is a major differentiator against the industry’s often much larger competition.

“We look to understand how our customers’ IT infrastructure contributes to their business and revenue streams so that we can craft a solution that works for them,” Hyde says. “The ability to customize solutions in a way that’s flexible and extensible is a critical part of helping our customers maintain their competitive advantage.”

With more of its customers needing to scale up or down quickly in response to unpredictable or seasonal workloads, HOSTING went looking for a cost-effective solution that could deliver the rich feature set of a single-tenant cloud services environment. Whatever platform HOSTING chose, it needed to provide today’s cloud customers all the services they expect—such as intelligent traffic management and SSL offloading—and give them greater control over their private environments.

“We want to empower customers with a real understanding of their IT spend, its characteristics, the value it’s driving, and how to best utilize it. The monitoring and integration hooks in the LineRate platform enable us to do that.” Darrell Hyde, Chief Technology Officer, HOSTING

Solution

 

With all of these criteria in mind, HOSTING surveyed the landscape and performed what Hyde calls “some heavy vendor bake-offs.” Ultimately, the company chose the new LineRate application proxy software from F5.

LineRate’s developer-friendly platform, which supports Node.js, makes it easy to create a broad range of networking services. And LineRate’s modern REST API enables integration with its highly customized orchestration and monitoring systems. This automation integration capability, coupled with its ability to quickly instantiate in a virtual machine environment, offers the highest levels of scalability and reliability.

“We spent a lot of time vetting different vendor APIs,” Hyde says. “We found the LineRate REST API to be very complete, full-featured, and easy for our teams to work with.”

Hyde says LineRate was able to offer everything HOSTING needed while still containing costs. That was due in part to LineRate’s subscription-based pricing model, which enables HOSTING to closely match its costs with its bookings. Also critical to HOSTING is LineRate’s inclusion of intelligent traffic management and SSL offloading, thereby eliminating the extra licensing fees often associated with such services.

“Having complete control of a virtual application delivery controller through a web portal—which LineRate enables—means big savings. My clients won’t even know we’re performing maintenance. That’s a significant win.” Eric Pfleckl, Vice President of Technical Services, Natural Insight

Benefits

 

Using the LineRate application proxy, HOSTING is now able to deliver truly customized solutions that can scale elastically and give customers a detailed view of their web traffic, helping them reduce their IT costs.

Customized Solutions

Given HOSTING’s priority to deliver solutions that map to each of its customer’s business needs, the ability to provide programmability was essential. LineRate’s REST API enables HOSTING to extend and customize the platform for each customer deployment.

One of HOSTING’s first customers to take advantage of the new offering was Natural Insight, a provider of hosted workforce management software that uniquely integrates scheduling, time keeping, task management and data reporting for 40,000 workers in 70,000 locations.

According to Natural Insight’s Vice President of Technical Services, Eric Pfleckl, HOSTING’s ability to provide essential services such as traffic management and SSL offloading in a single, scalable service enables his company to focus on its core mission rather than worrying about its IT.

“We’re software people,” Pfleckl says. “We write software and innovate from that perspective. It’s really helped us to have HOSTING provide the solutions that we need as our infrastructure demands grow. And with the REST API available in the LineRate platform, HOSTING can productize our requirements and provide them to us.”

Performance and Reliability

HOSTING built its business model on the belief that it can best serve its customers—for whom uptime and performance are critical—by delivering premium services on top of enterprise-grade infrastructure. In its early years, Hyde says, the cloud industry suffered from perceptions of unreliability, but today those expectations have shifted.

“The fact is, people expect cloud services to function like utilities,” Hyde says. “They expect that web applications are going to be available and functioning. That’s a space where the LineRate platform can help us differentiate.”

Cost Control

According to Natural Insight’s Pfleckl, the services HOSTING is able to provide through LineRate not only eliminate the need for costly infrastructure investments but also significantly reduce time and effort in maintaining the solution.

“We chose managed services with HOSTING so we don’t have to focus on the physical hardware or how to virtualize and build the infrastructure,” he says. “But it also saves us in downtime. Having complete control of a virtual application delivery controller through a web portal, which LineRate enables, means big savings. My clients won’t even know we’re performing maintenance. That’s a significant win.”

Visibility through Monitoring and Reporting

Most cloud services customers experience an ebb and flow to their traffic pattern, whether it’s seasonal, daily, yearly, or driven by special events and promotions. The programmability and interfaces LineRate provides enable HOSTING to capture detailed performance data that lets customers see when they need to purchase additional capacity and when they can decrease their spend.

“Previously we didn’t have visibility into what the traffic was doing,” says Pfleckl. “There was kind of a black box that didn’t give us any visibility. By virtualizing our client application servers, we’ll have the ability to fire up additional servers at peak times, which is incredibly attractive.”

That’s the kind of value that, according to Hyde, really speaks to HOSTING’s core mission and value proposition as a company. “We want to empower customers with a real understanding of their IT spend, its characteristics, the value it’s driving, and how to best utilize it,” Hyde says. “The monitoring and integration hooks in the LineRate platform enable us to do that.”