nToggle

nToggle Achieves Operational Efficiency with Cumulus Linux

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Cumulus has been an excellent technology partner for nToggle. Our infrastructure is massively scalable with a low TCO due to how we deployed Cumulus and BGP. Cumulus' expertise in BGP eliminated the need for us to hire a full time network engineer, and their support is second to none

Ben Gordon, Co-Founder and CTO, nToggle

Industry

Adtech and SaaS

Business Objective

Operational efficiency, redundancy and load balancing

Partners

Ansible and Penguin Computing

Overview

nToggle delivers heightened efficiency and transparency for buyers and sellers amidst the rapid rise of programmatic advertising. Their proprietary algorithm-driven platform helps supply and demand partners manage the ever-expanding bid stream. Operating globally, nToggle's big data platform “toggles” real time bidding requests across all digital media utilizing the latest analytical and machine learning techniques to optimally match supply and demand.

Challenges

Coming out of stealth mode, nToggle wanted to leverage cloud principles for their infrastructure without actually going into the public cloud. In order to have low latency while serving their users with real-time information, nToggle needed to build a private cloud. 

With a web-scale IT like environment, nToggle wanted to architect and operationalize their stack without the traditional silos of compute, storage and network. Their objective was to reduce complexity and increase operational efficiency by leveraging existing in-house Linux talent and know how to manage the entire infrastructure.

As a programmatic traffic shaping platform, the network was critical and had to be operational at all the times, thus the team was focused on building redundancy within their infrastructure.

Solution

After much research and evaluation on the architecture and solutions, the nToggle team decided on layer 3 Clos architecture with Cumulus Linux® and Cumulus Networks Routing on the Host. Initial POC quickly confirmed to nToggle that they could reduce the infrastructure complexity and gain operational efficiency with a relatively small but effective team. With linux OS across the stack and leveraging existing talent, nToggle was able to reduce their OpEx, streamline operations and unify their infrastructure.

Routing on the Host eliminated layer 2 complexities and introduced horizontal scalability without the need for any expensive load balancer appliances. The main criteria for selecting Cumulus Linux and Routing on the Host included:

  • Operational efficiency: Linux across the stack helped to unify the infrastructure. With single OS, nToggle was able to:

    • Automate their compute and network with Ansible
    • Standardize on Datadog for monitoring
    • nToggle did not have to silo their team and hire a dedicated networking professional to manage the network.
  • Redundancy and load balancing: Bringing layer 3 routing protocol to the host gave nToggle redundancy by using anycast addressing. By advertising the /32 addresses directly into the routing domain and assigning the same IP address to multiple hosts, several routes to the same anycast "destination" are available. This provides similar load-balancing functionality in a simplified fashion without the need to deploy expensive load balancers that limit scalability.

  • Lower TCO: Ability to leverage existing team and tool sets (automation and monitoring) allowed nToggle to reduce their OpEx. nToggle did not need to hire network specialist or purchase additional tools for their network.

A simple, all-routed network allowed them to eliminate any high-cost, specialized appliances.

RECAP

nToggle leveraged Cumulus Networks to deploy an all-Linux, modern network architecture, capitalizing on their existing in-house Linux expertise and tools. With the goal to adopt web-scale principles to achieve operational efficiency, nToggle unified their infrastructure, giving the team higher performance while reducing complexity and cost.