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Case Study: PTC Accelerates Devops by Automating Tool Management

In this case study, we describe how publicly traded PTC's Cloud Services division accelerated DevOps by automating tool management and improving agent uptime with the Intigua Agent Manager. 

Customer Background

PTC (NASDAQ: PTC) is a global provider of technology platforms and solutions that transform how companies create, operate and service the “things” in the Internet of Things.

Challenge

When PTC created its Cloud Services group, which provides hosted versions of its on-premise products, it knew time-to-customer would be critical. Not only is the ability to get up-and-running quickly among the key reasons customers move to cloud, but also PTC can’t recognize revenue from new orders until instances are delivered. However, at the time, it was taking up to 50 days to fulfill each order.

With PTC continually developing new releases and onboarding more and more customers, it knew it needed a more automated, streamlined system. Manual processes were slowing everything down, and not just on the delivery side. Operations were also affected, largely due to tedious agent management. According to Tameem Hourani, PTC’s senior director of Cloud Services, “The only way to grow a modern delivery chain is with tools, and most tooling is driven by agents. When you’re managing agents at scale, things can easily get out of hand.”

With no containers and no guardrails around agents, they can consume too many compute resources and interfere with or even crash applications. Plus, manually maintaining the health and compliance of all agents is inherently error-prone and time-consuming

Solution

PTC initiated a project to transform its delivery chain, from build (deploy and configure) through run (monitor and troubleshoot). It chose Intigua Agent Manager to eliminate agent-related challenges. “Intigua’s unique combination of agent containerization, automation and policy-driven delivery are essential to achieving the agility and speed needed for large-scale, growing cloud environments.”

Intigua is a server management tool controller that enables DevOps teams to centrally and automatically deploy, upgrade, reconfigure, throttle, restart, clean up and reinstall tool agents. Intigua encapsulates agents within virtual containers so they don’t interfere with business applications, and monitors tools residing on cloud-based, virtual and physical machines. It uses policies to ensure they perform as required, where required.

PTC uses Intigua to manage its DevOps tools, such as Saltstack, Zabbix, SumoLogic and PTC’s home-grown reporting tool.

Results

Accelerated Time-to-Delivery

As part of the transformed delivery chain, Intigua helps speed turnaround by using policies to deploy specific agents based on application, region, operating system and data center.

Instead of taking 40-50 days from order placement to customer go-live, turnaround now takes less than five days—a 90% improvement that enables customers to get up-and-running and PTC to recognize revenue much faster.

Improved Agent Uptime and Performance

Intigua’s containers, self-healing and automated throttling help boost agent uptime and application performance. This is particularly evident in environments with login tools, whose agents tended to consume a lot of resources. As a result, PTC saves about 15 hours per week in resolution time.

No Agent Management Headaches

By using Intigua to automate Day 2 operations, PTC saves hundreds of hours that were previously devoted to manual agent care-and-feeding, including reconfiguring, troubleshooting, throttling, restarting, cleaning up and reinstalling agents.

Better Compliance

Intigua ensures agents are continually communicating with their platforms. In the past, PTC had no way to detect when agents weren’t responding and, therefore, weren’t working. Now, PTC can be certain VMs are outfitted with required, and properly running, tools.

Enhanced Scalability

Intigua’s policy-driven automation plays a key role in streamlining and accelerating DevOps, helping PTC to more easily and effectively scale its cloud services.