IT@Intel: “Instant” VPN Scaling and Continuity

IT@Intel used Intel® architecture-based servers, virtual gateways, and a hybrid cloud to rapidly scale VPN capabilities.

At a Glance:

  • When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Intel’s global workforce of over 100,000 employees, along with contingent workers and ecosystem partners, begin working remotely.

  • We adapted and created the needed capacity with virtualized VPN gateways by fine-tuning off-the-shelf solutions using Intel® architecture-based servers and Intel® Ethernet network adapters enabled with SR-IOV functionality.

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Executive Summary

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, it propelled Intel’s global workforce of over 100,000 employees, along with contingent workers and ecosystem partners, to begin working remotely practically overnight. Virtual private network (VPN) connections would be needed for all of these workers, but Intel’s global VPN capacity was a fraction of what would be needed.

Depending on the geography, Intel IT needed to scale VPN capacity either through a public cloud service provider (CSP) or through on-premises local cloud servers. Either way, as the world cascaded into quarantine, there was no way to procure the necessary VPN gateway appliances. We adapted to the situation and created the needed capacity with virtualized VPN gateways.

In the scant days following Intel’s work-from-home order, we not only met Intel’s VPN capacity needs but exceeded them. We accomplished this by fine-tuning off-the-shelf solutions based on Intel® architecture-based servers and Intel® Ethernet network adapters enabled with SR-IOV functionality. Based on our internal team’s deployment, we were able to scale our virtual VPN gateways by 100 to 200 percent of the performance level seen in some dedicated hardware VPN gateway appliances.1 2 The solution spotlights the exceptional capabilities of virtualized solutions, SR‑IOV, and multicloud strategies for overcoming considerable challenges in a timely manner.

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