Size Matters – Scaling the Enterprise Cloud

To date, blogs in the Enterprise Cloud series have explored the ServiceNow multi-instance architecture, our focus on availability and redundancy, and how we securely operate our environment. In my experience talking to the CIOs of the largest enterprises on the planet, these are really the minimum requirements. As CIOs learn more about the Enterprise Cloud’s capabilities, the conversation moves past the minimum required and onto the subject of scale.

Scale matters to the CIO because they want to know that the cloud can grow to meet the needs of their entire enterprise. Across the industry, CIOs are looking to aggressively move many different types workloads to the cloud. No-one wants to move enterprise work to a cloud that cannot scale to meet their needs today and for at least the next decade.

ServiceNow is not solely focused on departmental workloads such as sales or marketing, but rather on changing the way the entire enterprise gets work done. As the CIO of a Fortune500 company told me earlier this week, “We are looking at ServiceNow to be used across every one of our tens of thousands of employees in nearly every department over the next year.”

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Across our cloud, we serve over twenty billion application queries every hour and tens of billions of database transactions per month. We operate tens of thousands of individual database processes and automate over twenty thousand operational workflows daily. We have deployed tens of petabytes of storage and have many more petabytes for growth. Overall, the Enterprise Cloud is a large-scale global cloud that has exceptionally high performance and availability. When enterprise CIOs learn about the scale of our operation they quickly appreciate that we can operate at a scale that can meet their needs.

Yet, the overall scale of our cloud is one thing and the ability to scale an individual customer’s instances to their needs is another. The ServiceNow multi-instance cloud scales with the needs of each customer. Each customer instance scales nearly infinitely without commingling resources or depending on centralized compute or storage that can fail and cause mass outages.

We have individual customer instances that serve hundreds of thousands of enterprise employees across the globe that daily executes tens of thousands of tasks and performs millions of database transactions and consumes multiple terabytes of storage. We have customer instances that hold over one hundred million configuration items in their CMDB. We have yet to encounter an enterprise workload where we cannot meet their needs on the Enterprise Cloud (and we have several Fortune500 customers).

Size Matters

Nevertheless, behind the scenes we have built our cloud on technologies that can scale orders of magnitude larger. Some examples of the technologies we use are: multi-tiered ten gigabit networking, enterprise-grade compute servers, high performance solid-state drives, database read-replicas and functional shards, and load-sharing between pools of dedicated Java virtual machines for specific functions (user interface, APIs, reporting and so forth). While the use of these technologies is fascinating to me and to our skilled engineers, our customers simply see that the Enterprise Cloud is highly available, scales to their needs and performs exceptionally well under load.

So, yes, size and scale do matter. The Enterprise Cloud can absolutely meet the needs of the world’s largest enterprises and does so 24x7x365.

Stay tuned for our next post in the series coming soon!

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Allan Leinwand
Allan Leinwand has built a reputation for managing the world’s most demanding clouds – in B2B and B2C. He is the chief technology officer at ServiceNow responsible for building and running the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud – the second largest enterprise cloud computing environment on the planet. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all technical aspects and guiding the long-term technology strategy for the company. Before joining ServiceNow, Leinwand was chief technology officer – Infrastructure at Zynga, Inc. where he was focused on building one of the largest consumer cloud computing environments used in the delivery of the company’s social games to more than 80 million players daily. He got his start as a cloud pioneer at Cisco before “cloud computing” was a term and the idea of accessing applications from anywhere was still very new. In addition to expertise in running large enterprise cloud computing environments, he also provides expertise in software engineering, quality engineering and product-market fit to companies including Spoke, Inc.; Bulletproof 360, Inc.; MapAnything, Inc.; Founders Circle Capital; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is a Board member of Marin Software. Leinwand has served as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught computer networks, network management and network design. He holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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