By Rick Stevenson, CEO, Opengear
DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider and the second largest web hosting company in the world. In serving those customer websites – as well as the over half a million developers that have deployed to their cloud – DigitalOcean has weighty obligations when it comes to connectivity and reliability (this is only amplified by the company’s 99.99% uptime guarantee to their customers). Their business needs include maintaining resilient connections, supported by dependable backup connectivity to remote, unmanned data centers around the world. They also depend on the ability to access offline equipment in these remote data centers, while saving the time and cost it would take to have technicians travel to those remote locations in the event of hardware failures.
And the requirements don’t stop there. Digital Ocean must have the ability to maintain persistent serial connectivity during periods of maintenance, enabling technicians to reload a device remotely from the console when connectivity is lost during rebooting. When vetting solutions to meet these business needs, DigitalOcean determined they would not choose a solution reliant on a mobile KVM, which would be slow, expensive, and not capable of handling their needs across all possible situations. The company also decided to avoid expensive solutions that require additional hardware, such as dedicated DRAC or iLo cards that would need to be installed at every server, and come with activation and licensing costs.
To meet its network resilience needs, DigitalOcean selected Opengear. DigitalOcean depends on Opengear’s 48-port console servers throughout its remote data centers, with a console server managing the 40-some servers on each rack. The console servers have been utilized to achieve dependable, resilient server management and out-of-band connectivity that keeps every server accessible remotely, even in the event of network outages. Additionally, Opengear’s Smart OOB™ and Failover-to-Cellular™ capabilities provide for reliable and intelligent cellular-based backup connections. DigitalOcean leverages Opengear’s solutions for initial site bootstrapping, where they have the ability to remotely connect in to an entire data center. To perform this bootstrapping, an out-of-band server providing remote access is connected to a firewall and spiders out to the other devices in the data center involved in the site bootstrap.
As DigitalOcean has grown (and grown quickly), the hosting provider has found Opengear capable of meeting its evolving needs, employing new Opengear platforms in its recently developed next-generation data center design. These upgraded data centers make use of Opengear’s CM7148 console server, as well as the IM7248 Infrastructure Manager, notable for featuring LTE connectivity. Beyond delivering the network resilience DigitalOcean requires, Opengear solutions also provide intelligent monitoring of network UPS and environmental factors, as well as rendering it simple to quickly and remotely perform diagnostics and maintenance without ever losing the ability to control devices, even during reboots.
In the cloud infrastructure and hosting business, maintaining the resilience to guarantee network uptime to the customers who so critically depend on it is at the heart of a provider’s success. It’s absolutely essential that DigitalOcean is able to quickly access their devices in data centers all over the globe, in order to simply and swiftly resolve any issues that arise, and to keep their word (and their 99.99% uptime guarantee). DigitalOcean’s customers should take confidence knowing that in Opengear, DigitalOcean has found flexible, affordable, reliable solutions which provide resilient connectivity, and which DigitalOcean plans to continue to rely on going forward.
Rick Stevenson is CEO of Opengear, a company that builds remote infrastructure management solutions for enterprises.