Case Studies

pm2net and Kaminario All Flash Storage improves Website Performance and Maximum Users

by pm2net on January 19, 2017 , Comments Off on pm2net and Kaminario All Flash Storage improves Website Performance and Maximum Users

When asked about how Kaminario ran during their peak season, their IT director said one word:

“Flawless.”

Introduction

As an industry leader in education technology – hosting the domains of thousands of K-12 institutions, colleges and universities in both the United States and Canada – performance is of utmost importance. With college application season around the corner, their peak season, the education technology leader turned to PM2NET to transform their business performance.

 

Business Challenge: Performance Lag

While operating with EMC storage, the company’s own site was unable to keep up during peak season. The site would lag and struggled to keep performance up due to the high volume of users. Users were often frustrated while trying to navigate the site and the sites of the clients they hosted. After PM2NET and the education technology leader discussed the performance capabilities with using Kaminario, interest was built and discussions started on purchasing all-flash storage.

 

Solution – Kaminario All-Flash Storage

Peak season was fast approaching. With only a POC conducted, the education technology leader bought 25TB of Kaminario. “We didn’t even get to test the system,” said the company’s IT director. The true test was about to be begin. The education technology leader put all their webservers on the Kaminario system and watched as peak season started.

 

Benefits

By placing all their webservers on Kaminario, the company removed the Input-Output bottleneck. Because of this, they did not need any more VMs, and the response time during the highest peak was much better than last year. In 2015, the max number of users on at one time on the EMC VNX was 6800 at 80% CPU usage. With the Kaminario system in place for 2016, the max number of users at one time increased to 8000 at only 40% CPU usage. When asked how Kaminario ran during their peak season, their IT Director said one word: “Flawless.”

With the stellar performance results, the education technology leader is interested in purchasing a second box if the bid is approved for another location.

 

Image source:  http://allvectorlogo.com/img/2016/05/kaminario-logo.png

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LAN Modernization Case Study

by pm2net on December 20, 2016 , Comments Off on LAN Modernization Case Study

Introduction

With a need for a serious Network, Voice, and Emergency Systems upgrade, the largest public school system in the state of California (in terms of number of students) and the 2nd largest public school district in the country utilized PM2NET’s services for a LAN Modernization.

 

Business Challenge: LAN Modernization

After 8 years of the same systems, the large public school district decided it was time for a change to match up with today’s technologies and to accommodate the ever-growing number of students. The school district put out a request for bids in order to find a provider for this upgrade. After evaluating a number of options, AAA’s offer was selected, which included PM2NET’s professional services.

 

Solution

The PM2NET engineers set out to visit 11 school sites. At each site, they migrated the existing network, implemented VOIP and a public announcement system. The PM2NET engineers were also tasked with implementing wireless in some sites and improving the wireless in others. To do so, the engineers installed Cisco APs and wireless controllers to manage the APs at each site. The only difficulty while completing the project was complying to each schools’ hours of operation. While conflicting at times, the technical team was able to come in after hours to get the job done within the allotted time stated in the Statement of Work.

 

Benefits

PM2NET’s services transformed the way the school district operated. With the newly implemented VOIP, management was centralized and can be controlled from their headquarters. The installation of Cisco APs effectively improved each site’s wireless with increased network speed. Their upgraded systems also cut out the need for managed services by utilizing their in-house engineers. Overall, PM2NET was able to help the district save time, effort, and money with their network, voice, and emergency systems upgrade.

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Wireless Survey Case Study

by pm2net on December 13, 2016 , Comments Off on Wireless Survey Case Study

Introduction

In order to create a consistent student experience with technology, the largest community college district in the United States needed help to bring all their college campuses to a common baseline level of technology with a stable infrastructure. PM2NET helped the cause by conducting a passive survey of all 9 campuses for the district, a surveying project consisting of about 10 million square feet.

Business Challenge: Inconsistent Wireless Signal Strength

As one of the largest community college districts in the world, it was a struggle for the district to provide stable wireless strength across campuses to all of their students. PM2NET was brought in to survey the campuses and identify areas of improvement.

Solution: Passive Survey

The PM2NET team used Ekahau licensed software and hardware to perform both indoor and outdoor passive surveys at all 9 schools in the district. The team surveyed about 10 million square feet to identify areas of weak wireless signal coverage and reported the findings back to the district.  Although there was initial pressure to finish before the school year started, PM2NET was able to complete the project one month earlier than expected.

Benefits

With PM2NET’s assistance, the district found areas with weak wireless signal and was better able to improve wireless access across all their campuses. Because PM2NET was able to find the problem areas and complete the project early, the district was able to start efforts to improve on those areas before the school year started. Students were able to enjoy a more consistent wireless experience at the beginning of the academic year, giving them an improved resource for their educational journey.

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Enterprise VOIP and Unified Communications Case Study

by Sean on July 30, 2014 , Comments Off on Enterprise VOIP and Unified Communications Case Study

About the Company

Deluxe engaged pm2Net for Cisco Call Manager Expert Services to migrate 2 facilities from legacy TDM phone systems to Cisco Voice Solution.  There are about 7000 handsets worldwide among all the Deluxe family of businesses and about 1800 handsets on Cisco Call Manager Voice Solution. Stability and consistent voice services was one of Deluxe’s main concerns with their legacy phone system.

Company Needs

  Deluxe was looking to upgrade legacy TDM phone systems to Cisco voice solution for the following reasons:
– Scalability:  Ability to add voice services consistently to all sites as needed
– Lowered Costs:  Ability to manage voice services costs
– Minimize Support Staff
– Leverage SIP trunks
– Minimize international long distance costs

– Functionality:  Modern voice functionality
– Redundancy/Reliability
– On demand conferencing
– High voice quality

Delivery of Cisco VOIP System

Deluxe has taken into account that voice communication is critical to a fast paced, quickly-changing industry.  To provide stable, consistent voice services,                will give their sales staff/customer service and other client facing staff the ability to represent Deluxe well with good voice quality and consistent service.

The long term growth consideration upon Cisco’s telephony system was the criticalness in 100% scalability in the product. That was Deluxe’s leading factor in choosing Cisco from its competitors.


“Cisco’s VOIP solution delivered exactly what it was put out to do. The entire staff is satisfied with the solution that has been put in place. It’s hard to find good technology that plainly works the way it should without hiccups” – Joseph Y. (IT Director)

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Mobility and ClearPass Case Study

by pm2net on July 27, 2014 , Comments Off on Mobility and ClearPass Case Study

About the Company

As a small district in Orange County, this municipal center has a large amount of archived data and files that are very sensitive material. What this means is that network security is very important. Traditionally, the district only used wired access for their computers, preventing unwanted intruders from accessing the critical files of the district.

Issues

The wired access only policy, although protective, was very outdated and created more financial burden from upkeep and IT staffing hours. This meant more time spent on sanctioning new computers every couple of years and re-installing hundreds of programs, ultimately wasting resources.

Additionally, the advancement of mobile technology with cell phones and tablets as well as the demand for wireless access from employees and guests continually grows. It was time that the district implemented a wireless solution and BYOD solution into their environment to keep up with the high demand.

Aruba Mobility and ClearPass Deployment

The first issue was getting some sort of wireless in the public areas of the municipal building. With the help of Aruba’s Instant AP’s, which does not require a controller to manage the network, the district was able to get internet access up and running within a couple of hours. Aruba’s Instant AP’s are perfect for low to medium density usage at a very economical price, especially since the user does not need a standalone wireless controller to manage the network. The district found its ease of use compelling during the proposal and quickly found out how convenient it was for the district’s IT team to manage it.

The next issue that needed to be overcome was security and AAA (Authentication, Authorization, and Accounting) parameters to secure the network. This was in the most integral part of the proposal, because the district already had its own Active Directory server for its employees. Because of Aruba’s ClearPass, the districts current AD was easily integrated into ClearPass, thus automatically giving access to the network on employees’ personal devices based on roles. This security measurement allowed the IT team to spend less time whitelisting devices to give access because ClearPass did that work for them.

Future Plans

The district was so impressed with the solution that they are currently working with us to provide Mobility and ClearPass across the entire city’s public areas including libraries, bus stations, the civic center, and government offices.


“I am excited to be part of this new plan to provide wireless across the entire town. It is definitely something you thought would only happen in the movies.”

– Mike T. (Director)

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SMB Voice Case Study

by pm2net on July 27, 2014 , Comments Off on SMB Voice Case Study

About the Company

The financial industry is a difficult market to penetrate. Thus, this private bank prioritizes itself on customer service in order to surpass its competitors. There is no fear in losing clients to other companies because they know their methodology in customer satisfaction is unparalleled. However, this advantage stems from their powerful PBX system that was both efficient and cost effective.

Company Needs

They needed a phone system that would satisfy customer needs as well as being modern and adaptive to today’s technology. Initially, the bank looked into basic telecommunications with an annual PBX lease, but that was not flexible and unable to integrate with their business processes.

Some other solutions they were looking for consisted of an all Cisco solution or Avaya solution, but that was too far above their budget as well as far too complex for their usage.   Thus, the 3CX solution was proposed.

Delivery of 3CX Phone System

Without the need for proprietary equipment, the 3CX soft phone system was installed on their already owned servers. The advantage of the 3XC soft phone system was not only the ability to upload its bios and firmware into a plethora of business phone systems (Cisco, Toshiba, Avaya, etc) but the flexibility of using the system on any operating system.

Employees were able to utilize the 3CX interface soft phone function on their computers as well as their mobile cell phones. This increased staff productivity two fold and allowed for 24-7 support without having to work from in office.

Even with a load of 8,000+ outgoing and incoming calls per month, the 3CX phone system proved to be robust and effective. Additionally, the configurations were easily manageable, requiring lower total cost of ownership in hiring an additional voice engineer for their IT department.


3CX Phone System is a reliable, flexible and cost-effective communication solution for the bank. It has all the necessary features for day-to-day operations and brings friendly, easy-to-use environment to our staff. Simple maintenance by our own IT team is another great advantage of the system, and it is complemented by responsive and competent support from pm2NET” – Brandon M. (IT Manager)

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Splunk Case Study 2

by pm2net on July 27, 2014 , Comments Off on Splunk Case Study 2

About the Company

As a rapidly growing financial consulting firm in the southwest, this company relies heavily on data and voice over IP to generate new leads as well as maintain relationships with current clients. During their impressive expansion in the mid 2000’s, this company’s staff grew from 8 employees to 50. Included in these employees was a small IT team whose job was to monitor and maintain the network.

Challenges

One of the immediate challenges this company ran into was simply the increase of network usage, causing erratic behaviors during peak hours. Some of the issues that employees experienced during these times were disconnected phone calls, weakened wireless signal, and the inability to connect to local work files/client databases. These sorts of issues quickly added up, causing a substantial amount of employee downtime and inefficiency in bringing value to the company. Even with the IT team, it often took half the day to pinpoint where the problems were residing to alleviate the problems. But network issues were the least of their problems.

During the First Quarter of 2013, the company was hit by a Denial of Service Attack (DoS Attack), rendering all employees unable to access any of their files and contacts. The company was forced to hire an outside CCIE Security Consultant to repair their network. The cost of the consultant was in the thousands, but what was more damaging was the weeklong hiatus of production from the company as a whole, which costs were in the hundred thousands.

In Comes Splunk

Since the company’s attack, the founders demanded a preventative solution as opposed to a reactive one. Randall C., the IT Manager for the company opted for a Splunk solution, knowing that he would be able to observe his network and monitor any irregularities throughout the day. The Splunk Architect also set up a tandem alert-dashboard functionality to prevent another DoS attack from occurring. By setting certain parameters to alert Randall immediately when the company’s servers were producing log files at a substantially higher rate than normal production days, he was able to know there was a problem as it’s happening in real-time. Then, Randall would be able to open up a dashboard displaying all the network data movement sorted by IP address and blacklist the potential intruder on his firewall, stopping the issue right there and then.

Although there has been no case of a DoS attack on the company’s network since the installation of Splunk, Darrel and his IT team is ready for such an event and has been trained to resolve similar problems within a few hours as opposed to a few days or more. The company realized the importance of utilizing big data analytics to reduce downtime and increase productivity for the rest of the employees. Since the Splunk deployment, network/voip downtime has reduced nearly to null and the company has been able to focus on more important matters than network issues.


“Having something pinpoint where issues are occurring really does makes my job easier. I can finally focus on improving performance instead of wasting time and resources on figuring out what’s wrong with the network.”

– Randall C. (IT Manager)

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Splunk Case Study 1

by pm2net on July 27, 2014 , Comments Off on Splunk Case Study 1

About KidsFormal

KidsFormal was founded during the dot-com era with the goal as a premium retailer of children’s suits, dresses, and accessories for formal events such as weddings, Bar/Bat Mistvahs, Baptisms, Christenings, and more. The founders, Mike and Holly, whose philosophy not only include utmost customer satisfaction, but also believe in having the latest and greatest trends in their fashion line. Since the beginning of KidsFormal in the late 90’s, its maturation and growth relied on Internet sales. Due to the nature of their business, they realized the importance of marketing and promoting.

Challenges

As KidsFormal grew through the early to mid 2000’s, Mike and Holly, realized the plateau that they were reaching. The company was getting by, but the ideal exponential growth that any business-owner wants was not evident.

By 2008, KidsFormal’s main outlet of marketing was through attendance at several formal fashion conventions each year throughout the country.   It became evident that this form of marketing and finding new product-line was expensive, time-consuming, and ultimately outdated.

Post-Splunk Integration (Beginning of 2013)

With the help of Splunk, KidsFormal was able to tap into a resource that it had since its roots, data, but more specifically, Big Data. By using machine data that the company has been producing for over a decade, Mike and Holly were able to see an entire snapshot of the company within instants. Although it was remarkable to visualize the growth of his company, what was more important was how to break through the leveled out ceiling.

Using the alerts function alongside with reporting dashboards, the two were able to know exactly when a certain threshold of purchases and page views certain products had. With that information, they knew which products to stock up on in their warehouse and immediately promoted those “hot” items. They also used the same function for items that were “cold” and not being viewed or purchased at a significant rate. It helped Mike and Holly decide which items to put on clearance as soon as it becomes out of style while retaining popular items that still brought value to the company.

By November 2013, KidsFormal was at 300% to-date revenue since they opened the retail store. Because of Splunk’s capabilities to index big data, then analyze and organize it into easy to use dashboards with real-time data, Mike and Holly has continued to break through every plateau they’ve come by.


“I can’t believe how long it took me to start using what was right in front of me all along. With Splunk, I don’t have to keep new products that aren’t selling on the racks for longer than it needs to.” – Mike (Co-Founder of KidsFormal.com)

 

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