January 5, 2015
The client has been long established as a leading accounting and financial services firm with locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Quebec. For years they have continued to provide accounting services, accounting software advice, and value added business decision making services to a variety of clients such as; sole proprietorships, small to medium sized clients, as well as not for profit organizations.
Infrastructure management dilemma
Their search was for a data services provider to manage infrastructure, provide them with colocation, and supply backup services to protect their highly sensitive data. As an accounting firm, the client had to make sure that these services complied with their industry regulations as well.
The decision was made to partner with a reseller and outsourcing partner of a much larger, international, and prominent business technology provider. After signing, their account was outsourced to one of the provider’s partner companies for delivery and actual implementation, while the larger provider served as the initial consultant. The larger vendor had set up the server infrastructure on-site at one of the client’s locations, but had provided their delivery partner with incorrect information. In addition, the configuration and sizing information was inaccurate and unsuitable for the client’s infrastructure. Multiple points of contact and slow, costly, turnaround for simple solutions exacerbated the problems.
Reliability and stability issues had an adverse effect on the firm’s productivity and ability to deliver. Virtualization and a hybrid cloud created a resilient setup, capable of tolerating even site failures.
- VDI allows users to access their desktop through a secure environment anywhere at any time
- Pathway Tier III certified data center ensures that client data is always safe, secure, and available
- Customizable and scalable storage and backup services are catered specifically to meet individual requirements
- Solid IDS/IPS and Firewalls with 24/7 monitoring
The client was hosting a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (“VDI”) environment at one of their office locations, but was lacking the resources to properly maintain it. As a result, performance was very poor – applications were lagging and taking longer than necessary to load, data was being lost, and productivity fell during crucial projects and delivery periods. Technical support was unable to provide a permanent solution. Ultimately, data was not always readily available, and the company’s overall perception and brand was being adversely affected. As an accounting firm reputation, reliability, and stability is very important.
Getting on the right path
Pathway noted the mounted frustrations in the process of auditing their larger infrastructure and provided a periodic growth plan review. The recurring barriers to productivity had to be resolved. Before the existing contract was about to end, the client decided to find a new provider with a delivery method, values, and capabilities that were better aligned with their organization’s needs and requirements. As an accounting firm, the client required that several prerequisites be met;
- They needed a single-sourced provider for faster turnaround and more importantly, ownership of issues
- A highly secure and private environment with an accessible infrastructure
- Responsive and flexible support services manned by knowledgeable staff
* ITIL is a registered trademark of AXELOS Limited.
Causes to their initial problems
Pathway was able to determine that problems were linked to disk latency issues, these were caused by a setup which was inadequate for the requirements imposed by VDI infrastructure. This, along with a lack of adequate resources and incorrect configurations were the primary causes to their ongoing problems. Multiple points of contact created a lack of accountability and poorly defined roles, delaying even the basic identification of problems, not to mention their resolution.
The Pathway solution
After Pathway identified the root causes to the specific problems, its team acquired and implemented the following resources and solutions to resolve the client’s issues and prevent similar ones from occurring in the future;
- Procured and implemented resources to improve disk latency
- Procured and implemented hypervisors in a hybrid cloud setup, which could support the load of the client’s current infrastructure and provided the option of additional capacity for growth
- Reconfigured the client’s VDIs to allow them to keep up with the resource demands and growth
- Recommended and implemented different tiers of storage to regulate use of the current infrastructure in order to sustain predictable performance
- High power users and administrators were placed on the appropriate high performance tier whereas less demanding user profiles were kept on the standard performance system
- Implemented a cloud-based site-to-site backup model that leveraged a hybrid cloud. All critical assets are now regularly backed up, with recovery checkpoints and reinstatement times that meet or exceed the client’s personal and regulatory requirements
- Cloud computing and VDI
- Managed services
- Cloud-based backup and storage services that adhere to the client’s strict industry regulations
- Office-to-data center connectivity
Benefiting from Pathway
Pathway was able to promise and deliver a far superior level of relevant service and support to the client in a timely manner, allowing the client to regain much needed focus on their own corporate objectives and their day-to-day operations. Pathway engaged the client with multiple tiers of expertise for each of their selected services, and simultaneously implemented infrastructure and support related to remediation, risk-mitigation and growth.
- Along with technical support and expertise – Pathway was been able to offer the following benefits as well:
- Vastly improved scalability
- Faster response times
- Improved bandwidth and throughput
- Proactive network monitoring
- Customized backup and storage
Partnering with an experienced ISO, SOC-2, and Tier-3 certified data center was recognized as both prudent and necessary, given the client’s profile and requirements. While multi-vendor arrangements with subcontractors may be appropriate for clients who are extremely large with longer delivery timelines, these arrangements are costly by way of remediating existing infrastructure issues – the preference of such consultancy-based providers is to overhaul the setup rather then resolve issues. Pathway’s combination of agility, price, timelines and complexity make providers in its class more accessible and appropriate for the needs of the mid enterprise market. After following Pathway’s recommendations and upgrading their infrastructure and resources to suit their requirements, the client has been able to realize significant savings on operations, energy, and labour costs.
What Pathway solutions was able to do for the client:Reduced physical resources:
- Saves on operating costs because less physical hardware is required
- Multiple systems can be run on a single server, virtual framework means less maintenance as well
- Energy savings
- Reduces utility costs and costs that are usually associated with owning and operating physical resources
- Resources are more efficiently used and power is reallocated
- Labour savings
- Systems are uniformly managed and monitored via a single server
- Virtualized servers can be managed either simultaneously by someone in house, or uniformly managed by the service provider
- Time and costs associated with maintaining and monitoring the network are drastically cut down