Software company faces constraints of growing IT needs, fears for weather-related disasters
It’s not surprising that as a software company, VRM focuses most of its IT resources on software development. In fact, in 2005, the company’s entire IT workforce was comprised of software developers with only one employee designated as the official director of IT support. Working out of a small office in Morehead City, N.C., he was responsible for keeping the IT systems running that powered the company’s rapidly expanding services.
As VRM’s IT needs grew and purchased more equipment, there were concerns about outgrowing the environment. In addition, the threat of region-specific weather on the North Carolina coast could potentially disrupt operations, and it also weighed heavily on the VRM team. If systems went down, client systems would go down, which would be catastrophic for VRM, their clients and their clients’ customer bases.
Colocation becomes viable solution for achieving reliable bandwidth and storage area network
Initially, the VRM team decided to house their servers with a colocation company in a nearby city. Within a year, that provider made major changes that resulted in downgrades to VRM’s service, so the search for another provider began. VRM’s designated IT leader met with several vendors, but liked what he heard from Flexential.
Immediately, a Flexential colocation data center in Raleigh, N.C. became the new home for the company’s servers, with VRM contracting for colocation, reliable bandwidth and a storage area network solution from Flexential. Right from the start, personalized service from Flexential and its willingness to work with the company through its growing pains impressed the VRM team.
Cloud solution positioned to alleviate challenges associated with limited internal IT resources
Thanks to the advancements in data center technology, the company found it was able to downsize from two full cabinets to a single cabinet while maintaining the required speed and performance. At the same time, VRM’s director of IT had transitioned to working as a consultant, and the company wasn’t prepared for potential downtime without an IT expert on hand to respond to issues.
Following additional conversations with Flexential, VRM started looking at cloud solutions, many of which had become more cost effective. After evaluating their options, the VRM team determined that moving to the cloud could take care of many of their concerns.
However, there were still the matters of finding the right vendor, cloud solution and making the actual cloud migration. The VRM team knew from previous experience that any major change in infrastructure could potentially create chaos and downtime if not executed properly. Just moving from two cabinets to a single cabinet had taken the company offline for three hours.
Flexential and VRM dream up flexible, fully managed and scalable public cloud solution
The VRM team did its due diligence and researched a variety of cloud services providers. In the end, however, the solid relationship already established with the Flexential team made them the front runner.
“Flexential didn’t come in as the highest or the lowest in price, but its team had already proven that they were reliable and would be able to help us make the transition. They also took the time to understand what our goals were and what direction we were taking the company. As they’d done in the past, they offered flexible solutions that could grow with us,” explained Michael Hill, vice president for software development and assistant general manager for VRM.
The solution included the Flexential public cloud, a fully managed, scalable solution that is audited for compliance with a number of regulatory requirements and robust enough to handle production workloads, along with a layer of managed security services. The migration to the cloud went smoothly, with Flexential working with the VRM team every step of the way.
Considerable cost and performance efficiencies leads to integration of Flexential Recovery Cloud
With its move to cloud computing with Flexential, VRM hasn’t had to add on-site support to handle the company’s continuously growing IT needs, but instead has been able to take advantage of cost and performance efficiencies. The company’s satisfaction with the Flexential public cloud also led the VRM team to incorporate the Flexential Recovery Cloud into their disaster recovery plan.
“Before adding the Recovery Cloud, we had a 72-hour DR plan. We knew that if we our systems went down but we could get them back up and running in less than 72 hours, we would be heroes as far as our clients were concerned,” Hill explained.
Hill views Flexential as a true partner and appreciates their technical input and advice. He also values the joint technical review sessions that Flexential conducts with his company twice a year as a way to ensure VRM is receiving the services that best meets its needs and at the performance level expected.
“I always leave the JTR meetings with valuable information, just as I do any time I interact with Flexential’s staff,” Hill said. “Their consultative approach, professionalism and attitude towards customer services is why we will remain a Flexential customer for years to come.”