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Private cloud drives growth, scalability and international business

Building a private cloud allowed IT teams at one midsized firm to retain control of infrastructures while giving end users easier access to resources.

As an international mid-sized organization with headquarters in Niles, Ill., World Wide Fittings quickly saw the benefits of a distributed data center infrastructure. WWF has seen steady annual growth and an increase in their business, which placed more demand on the IT infrastructure. The IT team strategized with the executive board to develop a plan on how to distribute the environment while still keeping the data center centralized.

“With having a significant mobile workforce, it helps [to give workers] access to our centralized workload,” said Matthew McClure, IT director for WWF. “We don't have to be reliant on external sources and we're able to give our internal employees access anytime, from anywhere and of course any device.” With facilities in the U.S. and China, WWF manufactures steel tube and pipe fitting components.

For the IT team, it comes down to management and control. Even in a growing organization such as WWF, a well-structured data center doesn’t create too much management overhead.

“From a convenience standpoint, being able to manage our equipment is very nice. For the size of our organization, I enjoy having control over my infrastructure,” McClure added. “I like to manage our environment and not have to place a phone call to a hosting site should there be an issue. The truth is that we are able to have a faster turnaround time to get our issues resolved with our own internal cloud.”

By using our existing data center, we are able to quickly and efficiently expand our business. A lot of what we’re able to do internationally is because of our private cloud.

Sean McCarthy,
president and CEO, World Wide Fittings

WWF created its private cloud using a combination of Citrix and Microsoft products; the company was able to build the ideal environment primed for growth and scalability.

“Being able to centralize servers in one shop and do everything out of one location has been crucial for us,” said Sean McCarthy, World Wide Fittings president and CEO. “We are able to be redundant and quickly deploy new locations all over the country. By using our existing data center, we are able to quickly and efficiently expand our business. A lot of what we’re able to do internationally is because of our private cloud.”

By hosting applications and desktops at a central location, the company has seen direct benefits of the private cloud environment -- over moving to a public cloud. Administrators retain control of servers, can administer them from anywhere in the country and can scale them as needed. There is a clear element of control, which was a requirement for this organization. “The truth is that by controlling our environment we’ve had great uptime (about 98%) and stability,” McCarthy added.

Another major benefit was a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy the management team launched. One goal was to use the existing Citrix private cloud environment to allow staff to use their own equipment both internally and remotely.

Finally, McCarthy noted during the recession, when other competitors were forced to continuously spend money on their environment to keep it current and allow it to expand to other locations, WWF’s private cloud adoption saved quite a few jobs.

“During the recession, we were able to retain our environment and not spend more money in infrastructure cost. This means I was able to reinvest in our people,” McCarthy said. “New locations did not require extensive configurations and were able to simply connect back to a central data center to access their workloads. These savings in deployment costs were then translated into maintaining employee count.”

For medium-sized organizations debating on whether to move to a public or private cloud environment, the reality is each environment is unique. It’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of each cloud model.

Bill Kleyman, MBA, MISM, is an avid technologist with experience in network infrastructure management. His engineering work includes large virtualization deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, he is a virtualization solutions architect at MTM Technologies, a national IT consulting firm.

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