Aero Fulfillment Services prides itself on its ability to offer superior customer service to its clients. However, the fulfillment industry tends to be commoditized, with hundreds of companies offering the same services. To differentiate itself, the company knew it needed to focus on developing unique digital solutions for its clients. When Jeremy Shubert joined as CIO in February 2015, John Gimpel, owner and CEO, tasked him with examining the company’s technology. This included how to become more efficient in fulfilling orders and in helping clients grow their businesses with analytics, ecommerce, mobile and social solutions.
Shubert assessed the company’s data center and back office IT infrastructure. He recognized that this was not part of Aero Fulfillment Services’ core business. The company is not in the business of data centers and network, and therefore had no plans to hire a staff to serve as network engineers or systems administrators. That meant the company would have to outsource much of its IT infrastructure so the staff could focus on digital solutions that help its clients.
It was determined that Aero Fulfillment Services should move all of its infrastructure to the cloud rather than maintain its own hardware. The company had a server room in one of its warehouses serving multiple locations. It was not an ideal scenario, considering limited security and capacity that increased risk for performance issues and outages that would impact clients and could affect the company’s success. Timing for a decision was now, as its storage, network, and compute infrastructure were coming near – or were already at – end-of-life. Instead of investing capital funds in new hardware, Shubert wanted to put the money into cloud services, data center space and infrastructure lifecycle management.
In addition, Aero Fulfillment Services was anticipating clients’ needs for higher security and PCI DSS compliance metrics to ensure a secure environment when processing fulfillment orders. The company wanted to continue investing in higher levels of security as a differentiator to provide the peace of mind that its clients deserve.
The Peak 10 Solution
Shubert turned to two companies: technology partners Peak 10, an IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, and RoundTower Technologies, an information technology consulting company. They were tasked with assessing Aero Fulfillment Services’ current IT environment, making recommendations for its new cloud environment, and moving its data and applications to the cloud.
To mitigate communication gaps and to streamline implementation, all three companies sat down together to determine the optimal solutions and the best course of action for the migration. A clear-cut plan was quickly created.
Aero Fulfillment Services signed on with Peak 10 for comprehensive cloud solutions. That included a production cloud (Peak 10 Public Cloud) that consolidated infrastructure; reduced the need for Aero Fulfillment Services to have an infrastructure team; provided a highly available data center environment; and offered compliance certifications that could be given to its customers.
After the end-to-end solution was determined, RoundTower worked in tandem with Peak 10 to efficiently migrate the virtual machines into the cloud environment, configure the network connection features and install the private network equipment.
Next, Peak 10 delivered its Recovery Cloud, offering continuous replication to make sure the company’s mission-critical business applications had the highest availability possible.
Previously, the company was short on a robust DR solution which would require buying new servers and recovering from off-site backup. Prior to Shubert’s arrival, several outages had seriously affected application availability. That type of disruption is unacceptable in today’s “always-on” digital world.
“We didn’t want downtime like we had experienced in the past. We can’t handle it. Our customers can’t handle it. Orders were becoming delayed and employees’ productivity was becoming affected. The Recovery Cloud was a must-have for us,” says Shubert.
“The fact that we can now run tests for DR and failover when needed is a ‘big check mark’ for a lot of our clients when going through audits or even RFP processes,” says Shubert.
“Thanks to the Peak 10 and RoundTower partnership, there is a clear cost savings. Aero Fulfillment Services does not need to hire new IT employees, and can reallocate those funds towards building revenue-generating digital products.” Shubert added that he also doesn’t have concern about retaining talent that can burn out supporting a 24/7 infrastructure environment. “I’d rather have IT partners worry about that than have it on the shoulders of just one or two people in my organization.”
Peak 10 and RoundTower also helped consolidate the company’s IT environments. There were previously three—one colocation center, a large cloud service provider and an on-site data center. With Peak 10, all of the infrastructure could be managed by one provider. Peak 10 also provided Aero Fulfillment Services with operating system management and SQL database management.
“When we’re building digital solutions for clients, we don’t always know what the load will be,” says Shubert. “Now with Peak 10’s Public Cloud, we can scale up and down if necessary.” He emphasizes it is the people that won him over. “They are very responsive and are already delivering on the solution,” added Shubert. Aero Fulfillment Services appreciates the scalability and flexibility of Peak 10 and RoundTower’s services and plans to seek their solutions and expertise for future IT projects and initiatives. The partnership between the two companies displayed how true teamwork and complementary service offerings can offer a complete solution and put a customer’s mind at ease.