Data Center Update and Migration
Cloud 9 helped a business migrate from two end-of-life datacenters into two new, current-generation datacenters. One new datacenter was set up as a virtual environment in Cloud 9’s datacenter. A point-to-point 1Gbps metro Ethernet connection was installed from there to the second new datacenter, in the customer’s main office. New servers, storage, switches, and firewalls were set up in the customer’s office datacenter. End-of-life server hardware and networking equipment was decomissioned and recycled from the old sites. Email and line-of-business apps run from the customer’s office, and Cloud 9’s datacenter. Cloud 9 provides monitoring and ongoing support for both infrastructure setups, letting the customer’s in-house IT staff focus on desktop support and line-of-business app development.
IT Risk Management and Business Continuity
A business contacted Cloud 9 for a second opinion about their techology setup, after their IT service provider had difficulty demonstrating that their secondary office was able to handle company-wide email, file storage, and remote access tasks if the main office went offline. The second site having trouble running the show wound up being one of the smallest problems that we found. Server and workstation software licenses were not in the customer’s name or were missing entirely, hardware warranties had expired on all of their server equipment, off-site backups weren’t encrypted or running as frequently as needed, and a backup Internet connection at the main office had never been set up to work, although it was being paid for nearly for two years and believed to be working.
Cloud 9 helped the customer fix their licensing deficiencies, set up an inventory system to keep track of their hardware, software, and warranties, fixed the backup problems, and got their main office’s secondary Internet connection working properly. Software changes also were made so that important applications could run simultaneously in both office locations, and testing was done to ensure these worked properly when one site was offline.
Cloud 9 has helped several companies move from hosted PBX services that proved to be poor values. One hosted PBX service couldn’t provide advanced call queue capabilities (call recording, call routing based on customer’s entering their customer number, having a queue overflow to a second queue), even though they were “coming soon” for over two years. Another company’s hosted PBX charged almost $30 per month, per extension — even for low-usage extensions like a break room or a part-time employee. The PBX provider also required that the company buy a dedicated Internet connection just for the hosted PBX service, and wouldn’t let them leverage their two existing Internet connections.
In the case of the weak call queues, Cloud 9 moved that company to PBXact hosted in our datacenter, and helped develop a custom app to direct customers to enter their customer ID when calling for support. A real-time query against the company’s customer database determines if the call goes to tech support, or to customer service for the caller to renew or purchase a support contract. If the primary support queue develops longer wait times, calls automatically get transferred to an overflow queue staffed by a different workgroup, who can provide backup support.
The overpriced hosted PBX also was replaced by PBXact hosted by Cloud 9, with per-minute SIP trunking. The third, unnecessary Internet connection was cancelled. The company reduced their voice bill by 70%, didn’t lose any functionality, and even gained some new features like automatic voicemail transcription.
IT Strategy & Support for Internal IT Departments
On an ongoing basis, Cloud 9 provides IT advisory and oversight services for a large (2500 employee) non-profit, with about 15 offices in the NY metro area. The non-profit’s in-house technology staff handles day to day workstation and infrastructure issues, their voice and data networking, and some business apps. Cloud 9 advises on long-term planning for server and network infrastructure, provides an additional set of eyes and ears when working with software vendors for line-of-business applications, and does periodic testing of their data protection and disaster recovery setups. After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the organization’s main office and disaster recovery site were both knocked offline within 48 hours of each other. Cloud 9 helped relocate the main office servers to our datacenter, and kept things running until the main office was back to normal operation, and a new DR location could be set up.