BICSI turns to KeyInfo for state-of-the-art cloud, IaaS, backup and disaster recovery

BICSI Case Study

Overview

Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI) is the global association for cabling design and installation professionals in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry, providing education, certification and knowledge resources for 23,000 designers, installers, technicians and other ICT professionals. Headquartered in Tampa, Florida, the organization has a rich history of more than 40 years, now spanning 100 countries.

Since the industry follows BICSI’s example on sharing the latest knowledge on cutting-edge technology, the association leads the way by reflecting advanced tech practices within its own infrastructure. Over the years, BICSI has kept its Tampa headquarters and other offices up-to-date with the latest technologies. Due to the high risk of hurricanes and other severe weather, the organization ensured its mission-critical IT was protected in a second location, leased from a telco provider in Denver, Colorado.

During a recent hurricane, the Tampa facility lost power. Although BICSI didn’t control electrical or heating and cooling systems in the Denver facility, the association still managed the VMware hardware, hypervisor and other equipment and associated upkeep onsite in Tampa. Furthermore, the association experienced occasional connectivity issues between the home office and their Denver data center. The IT team also had to manage backups and take tape copies offsite, which was an arduous, time-consuming process. When the hardware approached the end of its life, BICSI began a deep evaluation of hardware costs, colocation agreements, and other topics associated with maintaining the infrastructure more efficiently. As a member association, any new technology needed to be state-of-the-art.

Process

The BICSI team weighed the options of continuing to manage a data center or virtualizing critical applications like its website, storefront and shopping cart in new ways. Due to the rising costs of connectivity fees, leased lines and hardware uplift upgrades, BICSI began leaning toward virtualization. With cloud technology becoming more seasoned and mature, the association began exploring cloud hosting services options keeping in mind efficiency, data security and resource cost.

“Our staff felt we needed something more like a managed service,” said Chris Muratore, director of IT for BICSI. “We would need a company to not only help us with the cloud migration, but also to perform the kind of monitoring, care and feeding we needed without doing it all ourselves.”

Given BICSI’s global nature and its international offices, implementing cloud hosting with zero downtime would be key to a successful transition. Over the course of his due diligence researching the major cloud providers, local Tampa resources and other cloud infrastructure options, Muratore visited the Switch data center, which presented an impressive data center environment. Switch recommended BICSI work with Key Information Systems (KeyInfo), one of Switch’s cloud hosting partners, to handle the extra management Muratore was seeking.

Result

Instead of continuing with a colocation arrangement, which would mean putting together new hardware and managing it in addition to ensuring business continuity, BICSI was interested in the advantages that KeyInfo could provide through its KeyCloud offering. KeyInfo, A Converge Company, utilizes enterprise technologies such as VMware in the cutting-edge Switch data center, which ensured expertise that BICSI could trust. KeyInfo could offer the cloud hosting BICSI desired, as well as backup and disaster recovery as a service (BRaaS and DRaaS), all within the association’s budget. These capabilities provided the efficiency and data security the association needed to ensure continuity in services to its large global membership base. Before KeyInfo, a major failure in BICSI’s data center could have taken days to recover, potentially delaying (or even losing) a significant amount of transactions. Now, the association’s service recovery time is as short as 20 minutes, and the recovery point objective is within seconds, meaning BICSI loses virtually no data.

Working with KeyInfo to transition mission critical applications to KeyCloud paid off in more ways than one. In addition to the cost-effective managed backup and disaster recovery services that BICSI gained, the system did not experience downtime throughout the implementation. For a smooth transition, KeyInfo used its disaster recovery high-availibility model to replicate BICSI’s environment, then failed over the data center to the KeyCloud environment. The project finished ahead of schedule, which also allowed BICSI to give the required 30 days’ notice to exit the colocation facility before the end of its fiscal year.

“Compared to the costs of doing a major hardware uplift, connectivity and lease lines between two different locations, our work with KeyInfo is a lot cleaner and less expensive,” said Muratore. “I don’t have to monitor temperatures, hardware fluctuations, building sprinklers, depreciation, changes from Microsoft, past revisions of VMware, and so on. That’s the beauty of the cloud; it’s also the beauty of having managed services.”

Next, BICSI is working on its second phase of cloud migration, which includes moving its file and print services, domain controllers, phone systems and other infrastructure to KeyCloud.

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