Hamilton Building Supply, a leading provider of premium home building products and services, was experiencing downtime, limitations and frustrations due to their out-of-date server datacenter. The introduction of virtualization for on-premise servers and Google for Work applications in the Cloud paved the way for profound improvements in productivity, uptime and cost savings.
I’m also seeing the benefits of less power consumption and less heat generated after going from multiple physical servers down to two hardware servers running multiple virtual machines.
While the conventional servers running Microsoft operating systems were adequate at their time of purchase, they were past their useful lifespan, and the required processing workloads had increased twofold since their original installation. Remedial server reboots and manual power cycling were common. The number of servers running around the clock meant increasing power consumption and cooling costs. Hamilton Building Supply also had an expanding mobile workforce, and wanted to keep their on-premise workstation software costs manageable as well.
RED74 was contracted to provide several upgrades and migrations to Hamilton Building Supply’s overall IT infrastructure. First, the mail services were migrated from their aging on-premise Exchange server to Google for Work. This step eliminated downtime issues and any on-site maintenance for their IT staff, who have other roles in the company as well, and didn’t have any more time to devote to misbehaving servers. Their end users could continue to use their familiar email client software, or opt for accessing mail via their browser from anywhere. In addition, Google Apps provided word processing, spreadsheets, and real-time collaboration on documents regardless of employees’ locations. This was an improvement over traditional VPN for day-to-day office productivity.
The next step was to replace the aging servers with virtualization solutions from VMWare, running on new hardware from HP Enterprise. The most capable existing server hardware was upgraded and repurposed as a failover VM host, and fault tolerance and cutting edge disaster recovery methods were introduced. These leveraged the two nearby locations from the main building and the production building, so any downtime or hardware failure could be mitigated quickly and automatically between the two datacenters. Servers (now running the latest Microsoft operating systems) no longer had to be power cycled to fix recurring issues, and any scheduled maintenance could be performed quickly and easily from the administrator’s workstation.
1. A robust virtual datacenter that is hardened against hardware or software failure, resulting in a considerable reduction in downtime. Servers are monitored 24/7/365 by RED74
2. Cloud services from Google allow workers to collaborate and remain productive, without installed software requirements or even location constraints
3. The part-time IT staff spend much less time putting out IT fires, and can devote more time to their primary job functions