Case Study / Check Point
Senior Solution Manager, Check Point
Case Study Highlights
Check Point organizes several conferences throughout the year, in which hands-on labs are being conducted in order to communicate new product updates and best practices. Each lab consists of hundreds of attendees who need access to complex environments in which they can carry out the designated tasks.
With Ravello, Check Point has been able to streamline the hands-on labs by offering on-demand provisioning and eliminating the need to configure and maintain hardware such as ESXi servers and laptops. This has lead to a 50% reduction in costs, better performance, and elimination of capacity planning due to the innate scalability and ease of use of Ravello’s solution.
Conferences are a Key Part of the Check Point Sales Enablement Ecosystem
As an international leader in the IT security domain, Check Point organizes conferences for internal and external purposes in order to bring together different parts of the organization, as well as keep a close connection with partners and customers.
For example, the 2015 sales kickoff in Las Vegas was intended to bring together the sales teams, product teams and partners for a series of topics intended to communicate the recent product releases, strategy sessions, and hands-on labs.
Process Before Ravello Required Heavy Planning and Extensive Resources
Before using Ravello's training solution, the labs organizers were using two methods to set up the environment for their trainees:
Buying ESXi servers on top of which VMs were installed, and then assigned to the trainees
This method required a large upfront investment in the hardware, which was partially left unused after the events finished. Shipping the servers, setting them up at the event locations, configuring the networking and the storage resulted in an extremely expensive process that consumed considerable amounts of time from multiple people within the organization.
In addition, since capacity planning is challenging before the event due the variable number of trainees, this approach led to a shortage of environments, requiring attendees to share environments, leading to a suboptimal experience.
Providing VMware Workstation/VirtualBox images for trainees to install on their individual laptops.
This method required the trainees to go through an extensive list of steps required to set up the environment on their own. The complexity of the networking architecture made it difficult for trainees to set up their environments, leading to a shift of focus from the training content to the environment setup. In addition, there were several cases where trainees' laptops were not performant enough to run the environments needed for the training.
Ravello Introduced an Alternative that is Scalable, Cost-Effective and Easy to Implement
Check Point's story with Ravello started at the Las Vegas sales kickoff in 2015, where our champion, Jonathan Fischbein, listed Ravello as the third backup option for creating the hands-on labs. Since the number of attendees at such large events is impossible to predict before the conference starts, Ravello was selected as an overflow option, in case the number of attendees was higher than expected.
Faced with a much larger number of attendees than initially thought, over 100 Ravello environments were created on demand within a matter of minutes, allowing the organizers to adapt immediately to the number of attendees in the hands-on labs.
Based on the success in the Las Vegas event, Check Point decided to make Ravello the standard option for creating cloud lab environments at their future events. "After Las Vegas, it became clear that Ravello should be our #1 solution for our conferences' hands-on labs." (Jonathan Fischbein, Senior Solution Manager). As a result, at the next event in Vienna, more than 900 environments (comprising over 1800 VMs, 1800 vCPUs and 3.6 TB RAM) were provisioned in less than 30 minutes. Leveraging the Ravello Training portal, trainees were easily added to the hands-on labs, and each of them were assigned an environment. The switch to the Ravello solution was well received not only by the organizers, who didn't have to worry about provisioning and configuration, but also for the trainees, who now had their own individual environments in the cloud.
Ravello Allows Check Point to Focus on the Content, rather than the Infrastructure during Large Training Events
Through the adoption of the Ravello training solution, Check Point has proved to be a relentless adopter of breakthrough solutions that improved the overall training lab setup process in several ways:
Trainers loved the simplicity and flexibility
Using Ravello, Check Point was able to eliminate the need to provision physical hardware for the labs. Leveraging Ravello's nested virtualization and overlay networking technology, the Check Point labs organizers were able to create the desired environment in Ravello and then spawn as many instances as needed. This eliminated much of the troubleshooting during the events, allowing the organizers to focus more on the creation and delivery of content, rather than the setup of the infrastructure.
Trainees can now focus on the content instead of the infrastructure setup
With Ravello, the trainees were now offered individual environments, eliminating the need to share them with other people. Using a simple HTTP connection to the Ravello Training portal, the trainees were able to access a fully functional environment in a matter of minutes, removing the need to go through numerous instructions on how to setup the environment. In addition, the web interface that Ravello exposes makes it so that the training labs can be optimized for various regions (Europe, US, Asia, etc), and can be accessed through any device - Windows, Mac OS X, Linux or Mobile Devices.
Many of the trainees were also excited about being able to share blueprints with their peers, allowing them an easier method to troubleshoot their existing environment, and an ability to revert back to specific working states of the environment.
Reduced costs by 50%
Using the Ravello Systems SaaS pricing, which only charges for the amount of resources being utilized, Check Point significantly reduced the associated costs with buying hardware that was partially left unused outside of the conferences.