With roughly 35,000 employees worldwide and headquarters in both Beijing and Morrisville, North Carolina, PC maker Lenovo has quite a network of partners in North America.
When the company started investigating a new hosting environment to service its partner network, it needed to be secure, accessible for partners 24/7, easily and quickly updated, and provide single sign-on capability. Most importantly, resource constraints meant the new site had to be up and running without changes to the back-end systems.
The result is Lenovo Partner Access, a hybrid cloud environment based on an application called webNetwork, which delivers a private datacentre, a public cloud build and local device resources through a common desktop with a single password.
Lenovo called on independent cloud service consultant 2nd Watch to manage the migration and hosted environment. Today, the system operates on Amazon Web Services' (AWS) EC2 inside a virtual private network, with MySQL database technology and AWS relational database service and domain name system.
The outcome has been high availability, support for multi-tenancy, and skills to provision AWS as demand scales up or down. Lenovo's chief solutions officer, Rich Cheston, who managed the move internally, has seen the scalability potential of cloud computing bear fruit.
"There are currently thousands of active users on the Lenovo Partner Access, and the user base is currently growing an average of 50 new users per day," he said. "The single sign-on to a unified cloud and access from any device has revolutionised the way we deliver IT services to our partners in North America."
In a unique hybrid cloud workflow, webNetwork integrates the channel partner's internal systems for user authentication before users are directed to the AWS-hosted site. 2nd Watch then manages the SLAs/unique requirements for different customers, many of which can vary based on their size and tolerance for risk.
The system has been so successful that Lenovo is now using it for other hybrid/AWS or private cloud-based websites where departments such as HR need to interact with outside contractors.
Lenovo Partner Access was also the result of a detailed business plan, which included metrics and commitments to the business concerning revenue, profits, and users. Every year, the goals are raised, and so far, Lenovo has achieved them — partly thanks to the ease of use, security, and scalability of the cloud.