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Going Virtual for Internal IT Systems

Going Virtual for Internal IT Systems

I noticed that my previous blog article, describing the physical to virtual conversion for ConnectEDU, a web based leader in web education management, has received many interesting responses. Thank you all for reading and sending feedback!

The replies were equally split between people wanting to know more details about internal IT migrations and external production environments. In this article I will describe my experience with internal migrations from physical to SAAS (Software as a Service) environments, while in the next blog post I will focus on IAAS (infrastructure as a service) migrations.

The process of transferring internal physical systems to SaaS started after endless conversations with various vendors, regarding the renewing of maintenance agreements on hardware (including HP servers, Blades, EMC Clarion, MS Exchange, and MS SharePoint). Also, I had to keep in mind costing out additional VMware licensing for our internal virtualized servers, which went from CPU to Core pricing.

It was after these conversations that I realized I have had enough. I came to the conclusion that we needed to concentrate our technology efforts in creating the best software our company could deliver and not be in the IT business.

After a few calculations I quickly realized that, by migrating completely to SaaS, I could achieve ROI in as little as 10 months and eliminate over 50 servers. This process would allow me not to worry about internal hardware, software, or IT costs.

What did we need to do?

  1. MS Exchange and MS SharePoint were transferred to an outsourced exchange provider (this was actually the most difficult part of process).
  2. Desktop backup now handled by SaaS partner.
  3. The accounting system was converted to SaaS (I actually did not need to be involved in this process, as it was handled exclusively by the CFO and his team).
  4. 100 megabytes of fiber and redundant network connection were added.
  5. VMware instances were placed, with our specialized internal applications, on our external cloud environment.  The cost of not upgrading VMware internally paid for these managed virtualized servers!


Just over a year later I can tell you that I’m able to sleep very well at night. 🙂  With redundant data pipes from two different vendors, and redundant T1’s for our SAAS based phone system, security is now much tighter with no onsite data and access is locked down by firewalls and VPN connections.

Currently, all applications are hosted in SAS Level II facilities. We transformed the capital expenses to operational expenses down to a monthly employee level and now our ongoing monthly saving is over 40%!

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