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Case Study

Moving To The Cloud

Acme Corporation is currently spending $350k/year to support 500 employees with 20 Desktop computers.  The 480 employees are consultants who are embedded with their direct client. The current setup provides an accounting system, and HR system, an Email system, and a shared network storage system.  For the purposes of this case study we will NOT consider the HR and Accounting systems. We will consider total employee count for our metrics without regard to employee type (embedded or corporate) as we expect the ration to remain similar during most company growth.  Spoiler alert, the company grew. The initial cost per user per year is $700.

The majority of the $350k came from part-time on-site support of the servers and workstations, with a focus on servers.  During this time network reliability was unmeasured but anecdotally was poor. Constant outages plagued the corporate offices and caused significant disruptions in service.  Our first step in improving reliability and reducing costs was to move all services to cloud providers. The Accounting system provider had an existing cloud offering that was offered for the same price as the on-premise price.  The HR system consisted of a shared documentation space and physical folders with subscriptions to recruiting portals.

As the accounting system moved to the cloud, we began transitioning all local Microsoft EMail accounts to Google’s G Suite for work offering at a price of $5/mo.  Once every employee had transitioned into G Suite for work and the MS Exchange server was shutdown we then moved the local storage to the cloud. Owners were identified and their files were uploaded to their Google Drive and then shared with the appropriate people.  Unless required by client deliverables, MS Office was removed from computers. Acme was now completely in the cloud for less than 1/10th of the cost.

Network performance improved immediately as the servers proved to be one of the causes of issues; however the network still suffered from intermittent issues.  We installed performance monitoring software on all network equipment to identify issues. We monitored ping response to the Acme gateway, Ping response to the first ISP router, and Ping response to Google.  We also monitored system health metrics like CPU percentage, memory percentage, storage usage percentage, and CPU Temperature. These metrics allowed us to rule out external factors in network outages and isolate two faulty hardware devices that would fail without any logged errors.  Once replaced the network operational availability increased to 99.998%.

During the network performance improvement period we implemented remote access methods (VPN, SSH, RDP, ETC…) to enable our technicians to access remote office networks and troubleshoot/fix problems as they arise.

Acme started out spending about $700 per user per year and with all of the improvements and cost savings Acme is now spending $425 per user per year.  Acme has grown from about 500 employees to about 1000 employees.

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