Flexi-Van Keeps Trucking with Cloud Backup from Key Information Systems

Flexi-Van Case Study

 

Overview
Flexi-Van is one of the largest chassis providers in North America, serving the vast industry of shipping and logistics for transporting intermodal shipping containers and cargo. Headquartered in Kenilworth, New Jersey, with more than 250 employees nationwide, the company contracts with trucking companies, facility operators, ocean carriers and beneficial cargo owners (BCOs) to ensure sufficient chasses availability for fleets to transport cargo from incoming freight carriers.

Established in 1955, Flexi-Van has adapted to the changing logistics industry to accommodate shifts in demands across its customers, which include Dole Foods, Maersk Shipping, Evergreen Marine and other organizations. In addition to chasses, the company provides a suite of applications to help customers streamline contracting, billing, fleet management and maintenance.

With more than 100,000 chasses and the smaller components on them counted as Flexi-Van’s fixed assets, the company manages millions of records in a fixed assets system. Periodically, the company needs to set aside a data restore of fixed asset financial data in virtual systems so internal accountants can process a static copy during quarter closes or audits without running on the live, changing system. Flexi-Van also encountered occasional EDI file corruptions where the data restores failed and the company had lost backups of electronic data interchange (EDI) files without the team’s knowledge. This caused a few weeks of labor-intensive scrambling to request that sources resend files, while internal resources reworked numbers and recreate historical data.

Flexi-Van looked to Key Information Systems’ (KeyInfo) expertise for a new backup system. Flexi-Van had previously performed backups with Symantec, which was copying data to tape. After running several other less-than-reliable backup solutions and after the process of completely virtualizing its systems, Flexi-Van needed a technology partner that could provide stability for hardware and software, as well as strategy for cloud workloads.

 

The Process
Flexi-Van’s Chief Information Officer, James R. Mercer, knew early on that KeyInfo and its Backup and Recovery as a Service (BRaaS) offering would be a good fit for his initiatives to upgrade the company’s backup solutions. “My discussions with the whole staff at KeyInfo put me at ease, which was backed up by everyone on my team who had excellent feedback on how responsive the team is,” said Mercer. “I’d much rather have a smaller, more responsive partner than call in to a monolith to talk to ‘script monkeys’.”

Flexi-Van’s first step was to integrate KeyInfo’s BRaaS with its current system to begin testing the solution and syncing backups. By placing financial records, contracts and EDI files into KeyCloud, Flexi-Van was able to solidify its business continuity, drastically improving reliability and increasing cost savings compared to previous tape backups.

“Our backups were unreliable, and the thought of it was scary because you might have to ask people to reconstruct what they’d done the day before in the event of a data loss,” said Mercer. “If you haven’t had successful backups within the last three to four days, you’re in a lot of trouble.”

 

The Result
The new BRaaS solution helps Flexi-Van avoid costly downtime and data loss. Flexi-Van can now virtualize and automate backups with instances in multiple locations, ensuring reliable recovery. Mercer estimates that a potential backup failure could easily cost more than $100,000 in labor due to the time it would take to recover, with up to another $50,000 in labor from accounting cycles to run the numbers again. KeyInfo’s BRaaS offering also allowed Flexi-Van to break free from the traditional capital investment cycle, increase flexibility through a software- and hardware-agnostic system, and affordably scale with ease.

“KeyInfo’s BRaaS has several benefits, such as helping to continue to capitalize on my current equipment investment with our storage networks. It also eliminated the large initial capital cost of an internal Veeam solution by spreading the expense out over time,” said Mercer.

In the future, KeyInfo gives Flexi-Van multiple options for cloud transformation. For example, Flexi-Van may take advantage of the ability to host some of its virtual machines in the KeyCloud environment, which would shift some processing power offsite to KeyInfo. This also helps diversify Flexi-Van’s physical environment for added cost savings and business continuity.