Data Center Migrations & Consolidations
A major academic based health system in Philadelphia required migration services consisting of relocating nearly 600 servers and related technology equipment from the primary data center to the new “designated data center”. ComSource needed to develop a data center migration plan which allowed the move to occur in phases, enabling the IT staff to concentrate on one critical factor at a time and minimize the danger of excessive downtime at any point during the move.
ComSource, in conjunction with our migration partner, worked closely with the client’s project management office, attending pre-move meetings and planning sessions to develop a “playbook” based on a selected “move event” approach and timeline. Key to the plan’s success was our move methodology which was based on the applications priorities and dependencies. Once these “logical” dependencies were determined, a hardware or physical dependency check was performed. This helped put the servers into various groups and identify which ones needed an asset swap, parallel, forklift, etc. type of approach. The data migration took place during 13 move events utilizing one truck per move. ComSource also provided relocation of the customer’s IT equipment, including packing and crating, loading, transporting, unloading and uncrating. As part of this data center migration move it was imperative that customer manufacturer hardware agreements and warranty coverage remained valid throughout the relocation event. ComSource provided consulting services which included suggesting best practices for relocating, inventorying, communicating, change management and other measures associated with the data center migration.
ComSource successfully completed a nearly 600 server and technology infrastructure move over a 13 weekend period on schedule, working within the customer’s timeline and budget and meeting minimal downtime to the ongoing business operations.
Business Continuity, Recovery Services & Co-Location
A rapidly growing U.S. based retail corporation maintained a production data center in New York State. While they had always cut daily incremental backup tapes and weekly “fulls”…and in turn sent them offsite to a secure location, they never had a contracted warm or hot site facility from which to recover their critical applications in the event of a disaster at the main production facility. Several years ago the lack of a contract at a hot site recovery facility never seemed a major issue for a small retail company…just more of a potential minor inconvenience. As the company grew, in fact doubled and tripled in size, it became all the more apparent and actually critical to come up with a more effective and comprehensive business recovery plan.
The ComSource sales and support team went to work immediately. First and foremost, ComSource and their business recovery team experts worked with the company to examine all workload and applications with the intent of prioritizing which applications absolutely needed to be up and running in hours versus days in the event of a “disaster”. The company’s key applications were hosted on both IBM’s Power family with OS/400 applications as well as several applications running on Dell x86 Servers. Once ComSource and their recovery expert team collectively completed a full audit of all hardware platforms, all critical and non-critical applications and all current backup and recovery infrastructure they jointly selected one of ComSource’s elite Recovery Site locations in northern Georgia for the hot site facility. In this case, the ComSource long time affiliate, a true “Best in Class” Disaster Recovery Services organization, provided the customer with the best overall top to bottom recovery option with a secure facility, redundant components, extensive equipment inventory and a staff expertise across all of the end user platforms..
Dedicated platforms were selected and deployed processes were implemented to insure that in the event of a disaster at the production facility a rapidly growing retail organization could recover its mission critical applications quickly and efficiently. This long time valued ComSource customer has continued to utilize this premier Disaster Recovery organization and has performed many complete recovery tests over several years. The end user’s executive team can now “sleep at night” knowing that in the event of a disaster…most any disaster…the company can bring up and run all selected applications in a timely fashion with a highly skilled support team working closely with them along the recovery process.
Information Technology in the Healthcare Sector
A 528-bed tertiary care facility in western New York needed to successfully implement an EMR solution. ComSource, along with our partner affiliate, competed with top IT healthcare solution providers and consultants to win this major project that required significant pre-implementation planning, management and support to help deploy the mission critical EPIC software.
Due to timeline sensitivity and federal mandates, ComSource and our partner affiliate were tasked to successfully implement the EPIC software by providing the key services listed below:
- Planning and implementation pre-planning
- System’s analysis
- Change management
- Screen/report design
- Integration testing
- Activation planning
- Post implementation review
ComSource was able to assist this tertiary care facility in achieving their targeted deadlines and obtaining full funding of the project. The facility realized significant cost savings by choosing our ComSource partner affiliate over other alternative IT healthcare systems integrators. This successful EPIC implementation helped the client attain meaningful use objectives in a cost effective manner. In addition, the doctors and hospitals were able to report required quality measures that demonstrate outcomes, such as:
- Improved process efficiencies
- Maximized use of human resources
- Improved “return on investment” on the technology purchase
- Employee satisfaction
- Physician satisfaction
- Improved clinical quality outcomes
- Increased case flow
- Improved profitability
- Improved patient care and safety
Mobile Technology and Logistical Solutions
A leading freight and logistics provider needed to reduce their use of paper through the full delivery cycle, improve their customer’s view time for payment on deliveries online and increase efficiency among drivers, IT support staff and employees completing back-office procedures. The “partial” paper based system being used by this company was creating inefficiencies such as, data loss, lack of quality control and wasted driver time.
ComSource and our partner affiliate coordinated with all levels of the corporate structure to create a new solution. This interactive process allowed the employees to see how the new processes directly affected their jobs and incorporated their requested features in the new system. A complete mobility solution was implemented to allow the company to automate their entire delivery and collection process in real time. Key elements of this solution include:
- Drivers were able to scan items both within and outside the depot.
- Consignments were manifested electronically.
- “Sign-on glass” allowed the company to collect proof of delivery as well as accept and complete pickups in the field.
- Information was instantly transferred to back office systems which increased functionality for staff in regard to schedules,
deliveries, collections and depot operations.
- Handheld remote mobile hardware and software assets allow support staff to access the device to assist the courier
as needed. If a device is stolen it can be wiped of any sensitive customer information or corporate data remotely.
This provider benefited from the new mobility solution in the following ways:
- Significant cost savings through ongoing maintenance, processing infrastructure, “rate of return” and equipment repairs.
- Improved speed and efficiencies receiving deliveries, creating invoices and meeting the increasing demands of customers.
Information Technology Assessments
A nationally recognized retail corporation selected ComSource as a “checks and balances” to evaluate the performance of their current network and propose an architectural strategy that was both redundant and secure while requiring less maintenance. This company had a fast growing retail business and needed to ensure that their environment could support their current rate of growth.
ComSource assessed the current network design with an onsite CCIE engineer and an array of tools. The network design assessed was:
- IP Addressing Strategy
- VLAN Strategy
- Access Layer Switching Strategy
- Distribution Layer Switching Strategy
- Core Layer Switching Strategy
- Wide Area Network Strategy
- Internet Access Strategy
The infrastructure assessed was:
- Cabling Infrastructure Strategy
- System Security Strategy
- Production Network Management Strategy
These assessments lead to recommendations from our CCIE engineer, to include:
- Compressing large image files instead of just adding bandwidth.
- MPLS for larger sites.
- The utilization of QOS when used with VPNs.
- Manual routing IDs were established in OSPF using loopbacks for stability.
- Increasing MTU size on remotes to cut down on fragmentation in TCP.
- Filtering with a dedicated firewall.
- Eliminating single points of failure and simplify cabling by collapsing all switches within the datacenter, excluding top
of rack switches, to 2 Core switches.
- Network management solution to take configuration backups of all devices at regular intervals and push out
mass configuration changes.
At the end of the assessment the customer had a clear road map as to how their network should continue to grow effectively in concert with their rapidly growing business enterprise. Strategic implementation of the recommended solutions increased throughput, functionality and security in conjunction with the expanding company.
3rd Party Maintenance and Support, Non OEM
A Fortune 1500 privately held cosmetic company was tasked by senior management executives to reduce costs in their data center. Knowing that IT maintenance contracts are subject to frequent annual price increases, often associated with renewals, this company reached out to ComSource for strategies on maintenance cost reduction.
ComSource, along with our trusted and recognized 3rd party maintenance service provider, looked at 2 corporate datacenter locations for this cosmetic company that had expiring IBM and Dell maintenance contracts and were able to help the company save over 40% on support in the first twelve months. Due to the cost savings from just one year of using 3rd party maintenance with ComSource, this company expanded their portfolio and not only renewed the contracts for the same IBM and Dell equipment, but also added additional IBM, Dell and Brocade equipment to the existing contracts. The service levels provided to this cosmetic company were: a 3rd party maintenance coordinator to track expiration dates and adds/deletes, 7x24x365 hardware maintenance, local service depots, call-home, online portal for asset management and incident tracking. This online portal allows our customers to see contracts in place with our 3rd party maintenance provider across all platforms and gives the customer the ability to upload maintenance contracts that are held with other maintenance providers as well.
ComSource and our 3rd party maintenance provider allow our customers to show a cost savings across multiple platforms and all major manufacturers. Where a typical OEM increases maintenance costs, we are able to decrease (or maintain at a lower price point) the costs as the equipment ages. We work with our customers to keep the equipment on the floor instead of trying to “end of life” the equipment as so many OEM’s tend to do. In this specific case utilizing our 3rd party maintenance solution, this cosmetic company saved approximately 40% on their maintenance contract costs across their expanded IT portfolio.