The need for colocation
From farmers in the field to seed manufacturers, big data has the potential to transform agriculture. Chemical and seed manufacturers and distributors turn to TKXS to analyze their data for process innovation, cost savings and efficiency gains.
Customers share large amounts of data from multiple sources including sales, GPS, public databases and crop sampling. TKXS then standardizes and analyzes that data to uncover actionable insights that customers use to make business improvements, from adjusting product pricing to leveraging condition-based performance of a seed, chemical or technique.
The customer data that moves through TKXS’ servers is the crux of its business. And while TKXS’ experienced IT staff could manage the data servers on-site, they chose colocation for two reasons: (1) to enable staff to focus on other critical projects and client matters; and (2) to prevent damage in the event of an infrastructure failure.
Choosing a new colocation vendor
As an eight-year contract with one colocation vendor wrapped up, TKXS felt it was time for a change. Timothy Carroll, technology operations manager at TKXS, began searching for other options, hoping to find a more reliable partner with a better value proposition.
“We were motivated to move,” said Timothy, “and we were considering everything – from generators and fire suppression to the amount of floor space and even the cleanliness of the facility.”
Location, location, location
While Timothy evaluated a number of colocation facilities in Research Triangle Park, he found the answer just one block away. “After years of working with a facility that was adequate at best, it was ironic that the perfect partner was literally staring us in the eye the entire time – right across the street,” said Timothy.
A Flexential data center had opened a couple of years prior, and, for TKXS the location was ideal. TKXS’ databases are extremely large, making them impractical to copy over the internet. With Flexential, the TKXS IT team could easily go on- site to perform routine maintenance tasks without wasting time driving across town.
TKXS was impressed by the facility, as well as Flexential’s focus on compliance and security. TKXS requires that data center vendors meet SSAE 16 and PCI DSS compliance, and provide periodic SOC 2 and SOC 3 reports. The fact that Flexential already met those requirements and more validated it as a reputable and reliable partner.
“We aren’t required by law to operate under regulatory compliance, but we do it to be good stewards of our clients’ data. Industry standard certifications speak to the reliability and reputation of the Flexential facility,” said Timothy. “On top of that, they have all the safety bells and whistles, including multi-factor authentication for entrance to the facility, 24/7 video monitoring and tight standards and practices for employees.”
Great value, greater peace of mind
According to Timothy, the Flexential data center surpassed all others they considered. On top of higher value, the cost was about 25% lower than TKXS’ previous colocation provider.
“It was a no-brainer to go with Flexential. We were getting the best facility and service, at a lower cost,” said Timothy. “We also began to see intangible cost savings. For example, I can call the Technical Assistance Center and know I won’t get nickel and dimed if I need them to reboot a server. They aren’t going to charge me a Remote Hands fee just to push a button. You don’t get that level of service with other providers.”
TKXS also enjoys the peace of mind that comes with knowing its customer databases and mission-critical workloads are in a reliable and secure facility. Flexential ensures the redundancy, bandwidth and availability that TKXS needs to process large amounts of customer data. If anything goes down, a system is in place and ready to take over without incident.
TKXS has now been a customer for over eight years and has renewed their contract every three years. “Flexential has done a fantastic job and delivered on everything they promised,” said Timothy. “They treat us the same way they treat companies who take up three times the space that we do. We trust Flexential. They’re a critical part of our business.”