If you needed to double the capacity of your data center in a matter of weeks, could you do it? As recent events have shown, it’s important to have an affirmative answer. Whether it’s due to rapid customer or data growth, a business acquisition, or external circumstance like a global pandemic, most companies will eventually experience an unexpected and urgent “scaling event.” That’s where a solution with built in infrastructure scalability comes into play.
During these pressure-filled situations, IT teams need solutions to expand enterprise scalability, because they don’t have the luxury of time to design the architecture, procure the systems, integrate them with existing solutions, and bring them into production. Instead of months or years, the timeline is often reduced to weeks.
The question becomes how to do it: How to expand capacity and capability; how to support a variety of workloads, use cases, and access models across a diversity of environments; and how to do so quickly, with minimal disruption to the business and without additional staff.
It all boils down to preparation, standardization, and automation.
Three Steps to Manage The Unexpected with Workload Scalability
First, you need to be prepared. That means developing contingency plans and replacing legacy systems with modern infrastructure solutions that are built to scale and capable of supporting workloads and use cases across multiple domains – from the data center to the edge to the cloud.
Second, you need more standardization. Not just with systems but also with operating models and policies that normalize the configuration, deployment, access, and security of those systems. Having different servers, management tools, and processes for each workload or computing environment creates too much complexity, which is often the greatest inhibitor of rapid, seamless scaling.
Third, you need software-defined automation. As computing footprints expand – often beyond the physical confines of a data center – manual systems administration becomes increasingly unsustainable. Establishing infrastructure-as-code will deliver the programmability required to quickly and easily deploy, monitor, and manage systems at scale.
COVID-19 taught us that these requirements are anything but trivial. In the blink of an eye, the demand for remote work, telemedicine, health-related research, new forms of e-commerce, and other use cases exploded. Whether they were ready or not, countless companies were forced to significantly scale their infrastructure in short order.
Prepared to Scale
Geographic Solutions, a leading provider of online employment software for state and local workforce agencies, experienced a 5000% increase in incoming traffic in the early days of COVID-19. Under the gun to handle the increased load, stand up new unemployment insurance systems, and distribute pandemic-related benefits to people in need, the company faced an extraordinary scaling event.
Fortunately, Geographic Solutions was prepared. They had a modernized, standardized infrastructure built on the powerful and scalable shoulders of Cisco UCS. They leveraged the automation capabilities of Cisco Intersight to accelerate server deployments by 3x. And they made history as a result, processing and distributing an unprecedented $41.9 billion in unemployment compensation payments and thwarting $10.7 billion in fraudulent claims in 2020.
What’s even more impressive? They did it all with a four-person IT staff.
Before a rapid scaling event lands on your doorstep, be sure to prepare, standardize, and automate.
And if you need additional inspiration, take a look at the full Geographic Solutions case study.