How the Right Load Balancer Supports a Video SaaS Provider’s Ambitious Plans for Kubernetes
It would be an understatement to say 8×8’s ability to offer its video and voice Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) requires high bandwidth. While the company has always sought ways to boost its throughput capabilities, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed huge pressures on the company’s bandwidth needs to both maintain and improve its users’ network experience. Earlier this year, for example, the company’s traffic surged by 50-fold in less than one month.
Ultimately, 8×8’s DevOps largely relied on Kubernetes infrastructure and a load balancer and other support that Citrix, an application-delivery solution provider, offered to help manage the unprecedented traffic.
In this, The New Stack Makers podcast, Alex Williams, founder and publisher of The New Stack, spoke with Pankaj Gupta, senior director of product marketing, cloud native, DevOps, security, analytics and network, for Citrix, and Lance Johnson, 8×8 director of engineering, cloud research and development They discussed how Kubernetes and Citrix helped 8×8 achieve and maintain agility while delivering a better customer experience for its collaboration product portfolio during this time of exceptional demand for video and other networking infrastructure capabilities.
Measured in data transfer terms, 8×8 saw a throughput of 50 gigabits per second per day at the peak, thus representing a “huge jump in end usage,” said Johnson. However, thanks largely to its load balancer capabilities and Kubernetes environments in place, 8×8 was able to more than just maintain the customer and developer experience.
Citrix’s Netscaler load balancer, for example, “fit the bill perfectly,” said Johnson. “It was able to provision everything I needed to connect that traffic.”
Citrix load balancer support also played a key role in helping to support the developer experience.
“Our main requirement was that when developers moved up to native Kubernetes, that it needed to be the same experience regardless — they’ve gotten to the point where they honestly don’t even know where they’re deployed and just know that their manifest defines their workflows and it works,” said Johnson. “So we wanted to keep them there so that it was a better experience for them. Citrix was the best product for giving that same experience that they’ve gotten when we deployed in the cloud or on-prem.”
Indeed, Citrix customers appreciate consistency for load balancers, Gupta explained. “There is a lower learning curve and feature consistency is there,” he said. “They can transition from existing monolithic applications to microservices-based applications much faster with operational consistency.”
8×8’s shift to Kubernetes and the cloud reflects how other companies with large-scale infrastructure needs, especially for video bandwidth, are meeting customer demands as remote workers continue to heavily rely on network connectivity. Moving infrastructure to the cloud certainly helps to autoscale network bandwidth and other infrastructure needs on demand. “That’s the biggest trend which we see at this moment,” said Gupta.