As a SE manager at a company growing as fast as Skyhigh, I needed a way to let new systems engineers immerse themselves both in Skyhigh’s own technologies as well as those commonly deployed at our customers. For example, Skyhigh for Shadow IT integrates with common proxy and firewall technologies to add intelligence about cloud service risk to existing policies. Additionally, Skyhigh for Sanctioned IT allows customers to extend the reach of common DLP systems, such as Symantec and McAfee, to the cloud. While these integrations make life easy for our customers, it means that our SEs need to have a working knowledge of many different technologies. This is where Ravello has been our savior.
Using Ravello, we can build complex environments either from templates or entirely from scratch. This means that new SEs can quickly come up to speed by deploying use case specific training templates and seasoned SEs can create mock-ups of customer environment in almost no time.
With Ravello, we are able to provide new SEs with a “lab in the cloud” on their very first day. All they need is a web browser and an Internet connection and they can build anything from a simple proxy server to a complex security infrastructure including firewalls, proxies, DLP and SIEM as well as server and desktop infrastructures.
In some cases, customers ask see our product deployed in very specific circumstances but struggle to provide a dedicated lab environment for us to conduct a proof of concept. Ravello allows us to create these environments quickly and securely on behalf of our customers, saving them time and resources while also helping to shorten the sales cycle significantly.
While the environments vary from one enterprise to another, typical customer deployments feature at least a firewall, proxy, active directory, DLP, and some Windows servers and workstations – adding up to upwards of 14 CPUs and 32GB RAM. Then it all has to be connected in the typical route/switch environment that is familiar to the datacenter but foreign to IaaS providers.
Once again, Ravello to the rescue! Not only does Ravello make the creation of these environments a snap, it’s far more cost effective. By running an extra layer of virtualization, Ravello can fit several small virtual machines onto a single large instance.