Time for a colocation change

The CRBA focuses its efforts on providing services and value to its stakeholders through a diverse range of initiatives, from influencing economic and social policy to helping cultivate a diverse workforce. That doesn’t leave many resources for handling the infrastructure to support these programs. In fact, the IT department is basically a one-person operation.

Mike Montagna has served as the vice president of information systems for CRBA for over 20 years, handling everything from the phone system, copiers and help desk to all the network and backend technologies. When he started working with Flexential in 2003, it was simply a mutually beneficial partnership. Flexential enjoyed the benefits of CRBA membership while CRBA — and Mike — looked to Flexential for support for its website and various events.

The CRBA’s servers at the time were outsourced to a colocation facility in Texas. It was not an efficient, convenient or cost-effective arrangement. Equipment was shipped back and forth between CRBA’s Charlotte offices and the Texas facility any time there were major issues. Even smaller issues, like minor upgrades and repairs that Mike could have easily handled himself required large expenditures to have someone in Texas handle them. It also wasn’t a relationship that lent itself to uncovering ways to help CRBA better leverage technology.

In addition, the growth of CRBA’s membership base, along with the number and complexity of its programs, was putting more pressure on Mike. He needed to find a way to optimize both his time and resources.

Solutions to support growth, all under one roof

Mike reached out to his Flexential account representative for assistance in identifying options to help him reduce IT expenditures while keeping pace with CRBA’s increasingly demanding IT needs. It was determined that the best all- around solution was to move CRBA’s servers to the Flexential Charlotte - South data center facility, which was close to the CRBA offices. This allowed Mike to handle more of the regular maintenance himself because he could simply go over to the Flexential data center. There was no need to pay large shipping fees for transporting equipment nor to outsource tasks to a third party. Yet Mike knew if he needed assistance with anything more complex, Flexential had expertise and experience he could call on any time.

As CRBA has grown, Mike has counted on Flexential to support that growth with more services and expertise. In addition to colocation space, CRBA now utilizes Flexential for public cloud services — designed to handle production workloads — and storage for its accounting systems, along with data protection, managed security and numerous other managed services. CRBA will continue moving to more of a hybrid IT environment, relying increasingly on Flexential’s robust, secure and tailored cloud solutions for handling more of its IT requirements.

“As fast as CRBA has grown, Flexential has always grown even faster: expanding its service offerings and expertise; staying on top of emerging technologies; and ensuring they can provide whatever we need,” Mike said. “Flexential has never been afraid to make recommendations about how our IT assets could be handled more efficiently.

“The greatest thing for me, however, is knowing that Flexential is always there for me. They’re the IT staff I don’t have but sometimes need. I can call on them for anything, and they get it done.”

“I can do a lot, but I can’t do everything. For example, we had an exchange server go down. There wasn’t anything I could easily or quickly do to bring it back online. I called Flexential, they devoted the necessary resources, and they had the server back up right away.”

A loyal, longtime Flexential customer with peace of mind

According to Mike, the benefits of CRBA working with Flexential go far beyond quantitative measures. The fact that CRBA has remained a Flexential customer since the relationship started in 2003 attests to its high level of satisfaction.

“In the entire time I’ve worked with Flexential, there have never been any major issues,” Mike said. “There were some personnel changes on the Flexential side, but I’ve always been impressed with the smooth transitions. There’s a tendency to worry that you won’t get the same level of service or that the next person won’t understand your business or approach it with the same level of enthusiasm. The service levels just keep getting even better.”

Mike admits that he likes to maintain close contact with his vendors and “increase the touches” with various aspects of CRBA’s IT resources to stay on top of things and prevent problems from arising, but he doesn’t have to do that with Flexential.

“With some systems, I contact relevant vendors weekly,” he said. “With Flexential, I can go a month without any issues because they provide such high- level, 24-hour monitoring of our IT systems.

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