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Introduction

Due to business opportunities and competitive pressures, organizations around the world are looking for new ways to move beyond the status quo. It’s not uncommon for IT leaders to look at their infrastructure—both physical and software—and realize that, though it used to be leading-edge, it’s become an obstacle to solving problems and grasping opportunities. And many of them realize, once their infrastructure is no longer aligned to business requirements and emerging initiatives, it’s time to make hard choices.

For decades, organizations forced updates, though disruptive, time-consuming and costly, were the status quo that every organization accepted. Whether or not they liked it, every few years, organizations would be forced to eventually buy an updated virtualization platform, updated hardware, updated tools and backup software. The updates would take months and disrupt their businesses, and they’d spend time bringing new systems online instead of driving innovation and improving customer experiences.

Massanutten Resort, a 6000-acre all-season resort in Massanutten, Virginia, recently faced the need for a major update. A few years earlier, they had updated to the latest version of a leading virtualization platform and added new servers, storage, and networking to their data center and disaster recovery site.

They built an industry-standard infrastructure for a medium-sized organization, and there was nothing wrong with it when it was initially deployed. But after a few years, they were encountering unacceptable limitations. They struggled with:

  • Running out of storage, as their data growth was double the industry average.
  • Suffering from the performance and reliability limits of several older servers.
  • Coping with a DR site that didn’t have the capacity to keep all workloads live simultaneously in the case of a failure.
  • Knowing that a major update would be time consuming and delay other initiatives.

Many organizations would do what they’d always done: purchase more servers and storage, add more virtualization licenses, use the older servers to shore up their DR site, and basically continue along the status quo. They had the skills and the budget to do this work. But they knew that it would be disruptive, they knew it would cause problems, they knew that it would limit their ability to innovate, and they knew that they wanted an alternative.

Initially, working with a partner, they explored new servers and storage, but were disappointed by the costs and complexity. Then they encountered another option. They encountered Cloudistics.

Initially Considering Cloudistics

After evaluating Cloudistics, Massanutten Resort conducted a proof-of-concept and discovered that Cloudistics could offer exciting benefits a typical approach couldn’t guarantee. Right away, the Cloudistics team proved that it could:

  • Go beyond virtualization by delivering a public cloud-like experience behind the firewall.
  • Resolve all their aged hardware issues with new hardware.
  • Provide all the storage they needed—60 terabytes at each site—with plenty of room to expand over time.
  • Deliver a DR platform that had the capacity to keep all workloads live in the case of downtime or disaster.
  • Cut their costs by nearly $65,000 in the first year.
  • The proof-of-concept benefits were so compelling, they choose Cloudistics to build their new IT infrastructure, moving away from legacy virtualization and conventional hardware with two Cloudistics Cloud Platforms: one at their production site, and one at their disaster recovery site.

Capable of supporting eighty virtual machines with room to spare and expansion space to accommodate future growth, they were happy with the Cloudistics approach. Massanutten Resort knew that the benefits uncovered in the proof of concept were compelling and they were excited.
And rightfully so. After the Cloudistics environment was fully deployed, they realized that the proof-of-concept had only scratched the surface of the benefits Cloudistics could deliver.

Uncovering the Hidden Benefits

The hidden benefits began with the Cloudistics white glove deployment, part of our premium experience. Cloudistics includes a white-glove installation service, which took 2-3 days to deploy the hardware stacks and get the platform ready to accept migrated workloads. This contrasts with weeks to roll out an up-to-date virtualization platform or months to build a do-it-yourself private cloud. The IT team at Massanutten basically sat back, engaged with the Cloudistics team where necessary, and watched the platforms be delivered, deployed, tested and brought to production ready status.

Then, unlike other platforms, Massanutten got benefits from the Cloudistics Cloud Controller, a single pane of glass interface for hardware and software alike. The interface is very intuitive. Knowledge transfer only took a few hours.
Having said that, they needed help a few times. Cloudistics, as part of its EarlyInsight Premium Support package, delivered assistance for both simple and complex questions in seconds. Massanutten found that the Cloudistics support model is much better than traditional models. Rather than waiting on the phone, providing license numbers and ID numbers, setting priority then waiting on a call back, the Cloudistics integrated support function, integrated chat, automatic log retrieval and secure remote assistance to Cloudistics made fixes quick and efficient. Cloudistics supported all the hardware and cloud software seamlessly, so a Massanutten administrator can engage on any problem in seconds and drive quickly for a resolution.

Cloudistics also includes an Application Marketplace. It’s pre-populated with operating system, application, and utility templates that make provisioning easy. And now that Cloudistics bundles Migration Manager into the product for free, it’s simple to migrate live VMware™ workloads from their old infrastructure to Cloudistics, creating gold standard templates of every application, and storing them in the Application Marketplace until needed.

Unlike many platforms, Cloudistics has integrated, application-aware snapshotting and replication for no additional charge. Massanutten leveraged these capabilities right away, using them to streamline their disaster recovery planning. Instead of purchasing third-party snapshot, replication, or data protection packages, Massanutten relies on the simple and effective data protection capabilities Cloudistics builds into every customer environment. Not relying on third-party tools cut their costs and complexity.

Finally, Massanutten rapidly benefitted from Cloudistics’ premium approach to updating and patching the platform. Unlike traditional IT infrastructure, where an IT organization spends time and effort updating firmware and adding patches, Cloudistics handles all patching and updating, as non-disruptively as possible. And that’s not just for minor updates. Massanutten just moved to the 4.0 version of Cloudistics’ cloud software, and the Cloudistics team handled the entire upgrade, keeping a mission-critical workload up and running on the disaster recovery site as they updated the production site.

Ultimately, Massanutten was pleasantly surprised by all the hidden benefits of the Cloudistics platform. Not only is it less expensive, it came with accelerated time to value, puts less pressure on the IT organization, streamlines support, offers better safety in the case of downtime or disaster, and even major updates take very little time or effort. From the perspective of the Massanutten team, Cloudistics is an improvement in every way.

Conclusion

The Massanutten Resorts experience proves that Cloudistics approach to private cloud is a viable alternative to traditional IT, offers benefits other approaches can’t match, and is a good fit, both in terms of features and costs, for medium sized organizations. With Cloudistics, Massanutten discovered:

  • A mature, software-defined approach that includes compute, storage, and networking virtualization without added licenses, additional software, or unnecessary complexity.
  • Capital expenditure savings of over $65,000 in the first year alone.
  • Operating efficiencies that span day-to-day activities all the way to patch and update.
  • No need to add third-party software for data protection or disaster recovery.
  • A better all-around approach to a modern datacenter infrastructure.
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