Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana Uses DRaaS to Align with Production Demands – and Saves on Costs



About the Company

One of the largest of more than 160 Goodwills in North America, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana provides services to many thousands of individuals and families each year. A certified agency of United Way of Central Indiana, they serve 39 counties in the state.

The Vision and Challenge

Four years ago, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana needed a disaster recovery (DR) plan. After spending nearly $250,000 building a traditional DR solution that would adequately protect their critical applications, initial tests that year were successful. However, due to changes in personnel the following year, testing became increasingly delayed and took months to plan for.

The organization needed the following:

  • A scalable disaster recovery and networking solution that would grow in alignment with the production environment it protected
  • Reduced work to align the recovery environment with production environment on a daily and long-term basis
  • A pay-as-you-go solution that would save money and resources compared to traditional solutions that quickly grew outdated
  • A reliable and industry-proven recovery and networking solution that would ensure a successful recovery regardless of the disaster type

“The problem with traditional disaster recovery solutions is that there has to be very stringent change control or management of the disaster recovery environment to ensure alignment with changes in production,” explains the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO. “The traditional solutions we used were put in place at a point in time. We tested those systems when they were built, and they worked. But, because they weren’t actively managed with the same level of detail the production infrastructure was on a day-to-day basis, they quickly grew to be outdated and unreliable.”

All environments needed to be kept in sync. When a capital investment was required in production, a similar investment was required in the DR environment. When a change was made to production, it had to be carried out in the DR environment as well. Staff members were spending too much time managing two environments.

As in most companies, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s IT department had critical business initiatives to support. Nearly 98% of all daily activities and priorities had to be focused on the systems and infrastructure to support those initiatives. Their staff couldn’t support the recovery environment in the same way it supported its production environment because that would pull nearly half their efforts away from supporting the business and its strategic, revenue-producing objectives. Therefore, the recovery environment grew more and more out of sync with the production environment each day, which decreased the likelihood of a smooth and successful recovery.

When Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana’s original investment in their DR environment was depreciated and they needed to upgrade the environment, they knew they not only needed to try something different; they also needed to implement a successful disaster recovery solution that wouldn’t require a high level of manual upkeep and could be easily tested throughout the year.

The Outcome

Already hosting several production applications in InterVision’s Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) environments, the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO was intrigued by InterVision’s Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solution because of its dynamic nature and ability to keep the recovery environment in sync with the production environment on a continuous basis without requiring manual work from his team.

Why the organization selected InterVision:

  • Certified VMware vCloud® Datacenter service provider that allowed for successful implementation and scalable performance
  • Strong service mentality and experienced customer support team that would provide ongoing support and managed services
  • The recovery solution could be easily, affordably and regularly tested
  • They had a dynamic networking solution with the security of a private, dedicated Ethernet connection for an efficient, affordable networking experience

Goodwill’s infrastructure architecture took a truly hybrid approach, leveraging public cloud, private cloud and an internal datacenter. Their hybrid infrastructure demanded the dynamic capabilities that DRaaS would bring to the table, but when implementing the solution, they realized they were going to hit a bottleneck with their traditional network connections.

“We could see the value DRaaS would bring our environment, but with traditional networking, it was going to take our team months to achieve full value as we initialized and stabilized replication,” explained the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO.

To implement a DRaaS solution with a dynamic networking component, the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO turned to TW Telecom, now a part of CenturyLink, and their Intelligent Network. The Intelligent Network’s specifically dynamic capacity gave users a scalable, private network solution in which users could turn the bandwidth up or down when needed, paying only for what they use, and allowing those previous traffic bottlenecks to flow freely. The solution enabled fast replication to the recovery target to seed the initial environment and ensure speedy failback after a disaster.

Instead of taking months to fully seed and replicate the recovery environment, it only took a week. Because both DRaaS and the Intelligent Network operate with pay-as-you-go principles, the IT team wasn’t stuck paying for more network than they needed to get the job done after those high-use time periods.

“With Disaster Recovery as a Service, our focus can remain on solving our customers problems and enabling the business,” explains the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO. “This DR solution from InterVision ensures any changes we make to the production environment are immediately replicated to the recovery environment, so as we grow, it grows. It provides us with the agility and elasticity we need.”

Goodwill’s goal was to protect several critical applications. They implemented InterVision’s DRaaS with the TW Telecom (now CenturyLink) Intelligent Networking solution, replicated and tested and were so happy with the results that they nearly immediately opted to increase their DRaaS footprint, protecting dozens of more applications. When their recovery environment footprint increased by eight times, they noticed that their bill did not. In fact, their bill at the end of the month only increased by about two times. Because the mechanisms were already in place to replicate to the recovery environment, the value they achieved was able to grow at a faster rate than the pay-as-you-go costs associated with that rate of growth.

“InterVision’s DRaaS plus [CenturyLink’s] Intelligent Network has finally solved our disaster recovery problem not just for right now, but for the future as well,” explained the SVP of Corporate Connectivity & CIO. “Unlike the previous solutions we used, with DRaaS we don’t have to worry that it won’t work a year from now. We have confidence that our recovery plan will work when we need it, no matter what.”

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