Midwest ISP Uses Server Virtualization and Consolidation Solution To Increase Growth

In 1993, a leading Midwest Internet Service Provider launched its first prototype Internet service using a single PC with a 486 processor, four modems, and bulletin board system software.  The prototype was highly successful, and soon the ISP required a more powerful and reliable system to handle the growing traffic load.  As their footprint grew, they continued grow, serving more Midwest customers each day.

Serving thousands of bandwidth-hungry Internet customers is a mission critical application.  Failure to meet the growing processing demands of their customers would result in unhappy customers flooding customer service with phone calls.

 

Business Issues

  • Support growth and availability by upgrading server technology
  • Increase scalability to support doubling of email volume every 3 years
  • Implement redundant remote disaster recovery site
  • Eliminate email interruptions caused by overloaded servers

Solution

Open Technologies designed a solution that would exceed performance for existing customers and be the foundation for future growth as the ISP scaled to handle growing customer demand.

The infrastructure hardware was upgraded with the latest multi-core/multi-thread server technology including server blades, UNIX systems, and carrier-grade Telco servers. We also implemented a robust server virtualization software solution to help utilize the upgraded computing resources more efficiently.

Results

The performance benchmarks spoke for themselves.

  • Twenty-fold increase in email server performance
  • Ability to support growth of business and doubling of email volume every 3 years
  • 50% reduction in TCO for server virtualized
  • 90% reduction in email/server administration time

And, with the new architecture, the client can easily forecast the “total cost of ownership” based on future growth, with the fully scalable infrastructure installed by Open Technologies.

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Private K12 School Replaces Computer Labs With Ultra Thin Clients & VDI Solution

A prestigious private Iowa high school made the decision to update their computer labs with ultra thin client devices and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) software.

The previous equipment in the lab had become dated and it was becoming increasingly more difficult to upgrade the software and hardware in order to keep up with increased computer-based learning curriculum needs. In addition, the labs didn’t previously allow for an easy method to present different types of desktops or configurations for the given limited licensed software and operating systems. School budget freezes and staff limitations put an additional burden on the remaining IT personnel while they struggled to meet new learning requirements.

Open Technologies recommended a move to thin client devices and VDI software which allowed the school administration to quickly respond to lab issues and new learning requirements by providing the tools to easily redeploy software, or to update and deploy new desktops with very little effort.

The new thin-client computer labs reduced hardware inventory, maintenance needs, and administrative costs while improving the end-user experience and facilitating a flexible computer learning environment.

The ultra thin client devices and VDI software provides the school with a “computing infrastructure” that is now far more flexible and serves a greater number of needs for both the students and teachers.

The virtual desktop technology allows multiple desktops (configured with different software sets, or different operating systems and versions) to be associated with one or more students based on their given class needs. They are no longer confined to using specific “computer systems” in specific buildings or labs.

Their individual desktop environments follow students and faculty wherever they login, both on and off campus. The overall solution was completed without increasing staff, through automation of processes and by centralizing the administration of the system.

 

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County Government Desktop Solution

Open Technologies provided an Iowa County with a thin client solution to help them streamline their desktop management and provisioning process.

Managing approximately 100 dispersed desktops throughout the various county government offices was a bit overwhelming. In order to simplify desktop maintenance, patching, and recovery, Open Technologies helped this customer design and implement a thin client device solution to a small set of its office workers.

The pilot proved successful and within six months they replaced nearly 40 PCs with thin clients. These devices are installed in traditional office locations as well as the county maintenance sheds. The maintenance team used to take up to 30 minutes to boot-up their laptop computers, login to the system, and make changes to some of their remote devices. With the switch to thin clients and Java card technologies, it now takes seconds for the workers to login and make their changes.

Another benefit is the ability to create and store user profiles and templates. In one instance an end-user’s computing session got infected by a virus. With a PC, it normally took the IT staff upwards of three days to rebuild the PC back to it’s original state. With our thin client solution, they were able to delete the infected session, then create a new one using the users template. This process took about 15 minutes.

The implementation of the thin client environment helped streamline the maintenance of this customer’s desktop environment that now allows the IT Department to focus on key initiatives that help generate income for the County.

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Call Center Home Agent Solution

The world’s leading global business process outsourcing provider had previously provided their home agents with PCs. This old solution had a couple major challenges . . . it was a huge expense providing and tracking PCs for agents working out of their homes, and the company had concerns around security and PCI compliance with their current PC offering. The PC had a single authentication, and also had customer data on the hard drives.

The solution that Open Technologies provided was able to resolve the majority of their challenges and enable them to manage more clients with fewer resources. We worked with our client to design a VDI solution consisting of servers, storage, and more than 400 thin client workstations. Open Technologies also incorporated dual authentication using a smart card technology.

In the end, our client was able to provide their agents with a stable and secure workstation that enabled them to do their jobs without interruption or delays.

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Power Plant Renews Energy With Open Technologies Solution

A large Midwest electrical power generating facility came to Open Technologies for assistance in upgrading the server and storage infrastructure supporting their Oracle environment. Their existing systems were reaching capacity, the storage wasn’t reliable, and they had no means to recover quickly if a system failed.

In a series of meetings over six months with the customer, Open Technologies developed an infrastructure plan that would refresh the hardware, improve Oracle performance, upgrade their operating systems to a current level, and provide the ability to move a failing system to another server with minimal disruption. The infrastructure was planned to allow additional server and storage capacity to be added with minimal interruption. In addition, real-time replication of their storage environment was included in the proposal as well as remote tape backup.

Open Technologies provided on-site services to the customer, working side-by-side with their technical staff to implement the new hardware, configure the systems for quick failover, and develop the procedures to follow should a system need to be recovered. We also made recommendations for laying out their new storage to optimize Oracle database performance.

After a successful conversion, the customer has experienced improved system availability, increased Oracle performance, and has added more Oracle applications while continuing to meet performance and availability service levels.

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Specialty Hospital Finds Cure With Thin Client Solution

Patient Care SolutionsA Kansas specialty hospital was faced with a large number of desktops that had reached end-of-life and were requiring constant repairs from their small IT staff. They were interested in thin client technology and asked Open Technologies to recommend a solution and provide a proof of concept.

Open Technologies provided the software, server, thin clients, smart cards for authentication, and support to allow the medical personnel to try out the solution. The thin clients were used to access the hospital’s information system via Windows terminal services. The proof of concept was very well received by the medical staff as well as the staff who support the administrative functions of the hospital. The ease of use and increased security offered by the smart cards were major benefits.

An initial deployment of thin clients was successfully completed and a second phase is underway to extend the benefits of the thin client solution by using a virtual desktop solution in conjunction with the thin clients. The hospital is planning to use the thin clients in the surgical areas as well as investigating their possible use with mobile carts or inpatient rooms. A future project will look at extending the thin client technology to an adjacent clinic.

With the thin client solution from Open Technologies, the hospital reduced support costs for desktops, and increased security for authentication and the centralization of hospital data inside their computer room.

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Library Checks Out New Equipment Solution

Thin Client Library SolutionsA large public library was looking for a solution to help reduce the management time and cost of their patron and lookup stations, as well as decrease the noise and power levels produced by their current tower computers.

Open Technologies proposed a thin client solution that provided a central location for management of all eighty stations, as well as cutting down the power and eliminating all noise. We provided web access for their lookup stations, while providing access to their MS Office applications and an Internet browser for their patron stations.

We also were able to provide a fresh desktop each time a new patron signed on to a work station. The ability to have access to the Internet and MS Office proved very beneficial as this community was hit extremely hard by flood waters soon after the thin clients were installed. The community depended on the library’s computers to stay in touch with family and friends, and also as a place to remote office.