Recruit Technologies supports various businesses in the Recruit group with IT infrastructure and application services. Recruit Technologies already provided public and private clouds, but demand was strong for a private cloud with the advantages of both: solid security, resilience, agility, and plentiful support. It chose F5 solutions to help it fulfill those needs.
Recruit is a group of classified advertising, publishing, and human resources companies in Japan. It matches the products and services of its clients to the needs of consumers at critical junctures in their lives. Since Recruit split into several entities in October 2012, Recruit Technologies, a subsidiary, has developed the IT and network marketing infrastructure of other Recruit companies.
In 2009, Recruit Technologies launched RAFTEL Standard, a private cloud that uses a virtual pool of servers. RAFTEL Standard was built on F5’s VIPRION and BIG-IP platforms to ensure that it would be highly flexible, secure, and able to handle unanticipated traffic surges. But the Recruit group’s needs intensified for public cloud services that could get new application services up and running quickly. This prompted the company to add R-Cloud, a public cloud, in 2011. With this addition, users could deploy new infrastructure in a few hours. Users could also choose the RAFTEL Standard for the resilience and high performance that make it better suited for large-scale services.
Despite the introduction of R-Cloud, “We needed the RAFTEL Standard private cloud because of its strong security and support provided by our infrastructure team. These don’t come with the public R-Cloud,” says Hiroshi Hoshina, a Senior Network Engineer at Recruit Technologies. Because RAFTEL Standard lacked the agility and flexibility of a public cloud service, Recruit Technologies’ challenge was how to bridge these differences.
Hoshina concluded that the solution was to deploy a new, private cloud with features similar to those of RAFTEL Standard but with the self-service set-up tools typical of public clouds. Hoshina and his people set about building RAFTEL Fleet, a private cloud which uses virtualized networks and servers. The goal was to give user company IT engineers a private cloud with the agility and flexibility of the public one, along with the public cloud’s control tools. These tools would let engineers directly launch servers, connect to networks, start up load balancers and SSL accelerators, and change parameters and settings themselves.
Recruit Technologies’ engineers decided on an overlay configuration using VMware NSX for virtualizing the RAFTEL Fleet network. This allowed virtual networks to be built on top of its flat L2 network using existing VLAN network infrastructure. They chose BIG-IP virtual editions (VEs) to virtualize the load balancing of VIPRION and BIG-IP hardware in RAFTEL Standard. In addition, the BIG-IP platform was installed for offloading SSL cryptographic processing with External Crypto Offload, a tactic that leverages the speed of specialized hardware while reducing the load on the virtual machines. F5 BIG-IQ Centralized Management was also added to further improve the efficiency of managing BIG-IP VE licenses.
Why did Recruit Technologies opt for F5 products? “We decided that F5 products were the best way to ensure RAFTEL Fleet would offer the same features as RAFTEL Standard,” explains Hoshina. Masaru Komiyama, a Network Engineer at Recruit Technologies, who works with Hoshina to provide RAFTEL Fleet, adds: “We were confident that F5 products would meet our criteria, because they are highly functional and stable in RAFTEL Standard, and we have been satisfied with their performance.”
RAFTEL Fleet uses virtualized networking to shorten lead times from the receipt of business specifications to deployment of the new application services. It leverages BIG-IP VEs to perform load balancing and other functions, and BIG-IP hardware for offloading SSL cryptographic processing. The configuration enables IT engineers to launch new services more easily.
Like R-Cloud, RAFTEL Fleet offers a self-service interface that sharply reduces the lead time for deploying new infrastructure. With RAFTEL Fleet, “we can deploy new servers, add communication parameters, and add and embed new BIG-IP VE instances in minutes,” notes Komiyama. The process of deploying new servers and adding and embedding new BIG-IP VEs into the server pool is drastically simplified. And adding and changing communications parameters—which used to take two weeks—can now be completed in minutes, giving user companies the agility to promptly take advantage of business opportunities. Network virtualization has also reduced the workload for Recruit Technologies personnel.
RAFTEL Fleet uses tools similar to those available with RAFTEL Standard. Thus the two systems are highly compatible in a way that makes it easy to transition applications between them. Recruit Technologies hopes that the new private cloud option will improve the ability of its consumer-facing businesses to respond flexibly to new opportunities in the field.
Hoshina says, “We’re starting off mainly providing a platform for application development.” The company assumes that applications developed quickly using RAFTEL Fleet will run under final versions of RAFTEL Fleet or RAFTEL Standard. The company is also looking into using RAFTEL Fleet as a subsystem of large-scale systems operating under RAFTEL Standard. “This should allow us to offer timely services while planning for future expansions.”