Sample Use Case for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
An ARG client for voice and data was on the verge of making a substantial investment in infrastructure. Even though time was of the essence, we asked them to consider an alternative to resolve their situation. Rather than just replace what they had, we encouraged them to think differently. The results speak for themselves…
- 45 users in headquarters, 5 remote workers. Most employees work from home one day per week. Client service was a strong focus – high availability was a critical need.
- IT infrastructure in need of refresh. Mail server was beginning to show its age and required periodic reboots, frequently requiring IT staff to return to the office over the weekend or during the evening to restart. Application services were same generation and were struggling under loads not previously anticipated. Storage network was operating well, but was reaching max capacity. All infrastructure was located on-site. The data center door was frequently propped open for heat dissipation. Per local building code, fire suppression sprinklers where located above racks. Capital costs to refresh infrastructure: $250,000.
- Remote access accomplished through popular VPN client. Employees reluctantly used the client, because the interface was clunky. Most employees tried to anticipate needed files before leaving office and emailed or saved locally whatever information they anticipated needing to accomplish their work away from the office. Remote workers using VPN were noticeably less efficient than those within the office.
- Backup and recovery was handled by a managed service provider (MSP). Testing was not encouraged. Significant costs were associated with testing and a substantial interval was required to restore the production environment. The client lacked confidence in the recovery process because of lack of testing.
- Client outsourced most IT responsibilities to the MSP. On-site support was provided twice per month for maintenance, patching and network management. MSP monthly cost, including backup and recovery service, $9,000. Additional licensing costs, time and material costs for work not specifically delineated in service agreement was additional.
- ARG consulted with client and identified email as the immediate need. We were able to quickly show the client that migrating to a hosted exchange solution was the easiest path to stabilizing their user experience and taking the pressure off the IT staff. The transition to a hosted email solution was conducted at an urgent pace and completed approximately 10 days after decision by a top-notch firm who had moved millions of email users to a hosted environment
- ARG then turned our attention to the aging server stack and exhausted storage infrastructure. After considering a variety of options and user experiences, the client opted for a complete transfer of its infrastructure to the cloud, connecting with a 1Gbps private line to the service provider in another market. 100 Mbps of internet access at either side would provide a backup to the private line, as well as access for remote workers.
- To further improve the remote worker environment, desktop as a service (DaaS) was deployed with the cloud service provider. DaaS was implemented for financial and productivity reasons. The client wanted to capture the productivity gains of avoiding lengthy computer startup and shut downs as employees transported their laptops back and forth from the office, as well as to provide a desktop environment on tablets used in the field. The ability to move to thin clients at a cost of $500 per device represented significant savings compared to the full laptops costing $2,000 each.
- The transition was accomplished in approximately 6 weeks, including the deployment of DaaS. The hosted exchange service was simply redirected through the cloud service provider to seamlessly tie email into the desktop.
- Lastly, a backup service was established that is testable and has restored confidence in management that the IT environment is secure.
Financially, the new deployment cost less on a monthly recurring basis than the client’s former MSP. The client avoided a $250,000 capital outlay to refresh the infrastructure, and is saving $1,500 per client issued to employees. Importantly, the client only purchased what was necessary at the point of the decision. Several revisions and upgrades have occurred since then to right-size the clouded infrastructure. It has been noted that making incremental adjustments is a far superior way of managing IT capacity, compared to the long-term forecasts the IT team had conducted previously.
Efficiencies of approximately 10 minutes per day per employee have been estimated and more work is being conducted after hours from home due to the consistent interface.
After two years, the client’s internal IT resources are focused on strategic initiatives, not the break-fix work that previously consumed their time. Up-time has been improved dramatically, while employees are comfortable conducting work on any device from any location.