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Case Study: Crescent Communities

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Crescent Communities is a nationally recognized, market-leading real estate company specializing in the development and sale of single family, multifamily and commercial/mixed-use communities. The company delivers high-quality, differentiated communities in desirable locations in many of the fastest growing markets in the Southeast and Southwest. Since inception in 1963, Crescent Communities has developed more than 60 single family master-planned communities, over 30 multifamily communities and approximately 20 million square feet of commercial space.

In 2007, when Crescent outgrew its then on-premise data center, the company made the decision to outsource a large portion of its IT infrastructure to Peak 10 + ViaWest. The decision was primarily a financial one: Peak 10 + ViaWest could enable Crescent to leverage more reliable and secure IT and physical infrastructure than Crescent could afford to build and maintain on premise.

“Multiple power sources from different grids, HVAC and environmental controls, fire suppression, physical security measures, on-site staff – we couldn’t afford to implement all this in our own data center, particularly to the extent that Peak 10 + ViaWest provides it,” said Dean Spencer, vice president of IT at Crescent.

For the past 10 years the relationship has evolved – thanks to a variety of services that have enabled Crescent to continually and cost-effectively expand and harden its IT infrastructure, for improved quality of service.

A path to better disaster recovery

Later on after Crescent outsourced its infrastructure, Spencer set up a disaster recovery (DR) solution for Crescent at a Peak 10 + ViaWest data center in Atlanta. “We set up duplicate equipment at the Peak 10 + ViaWest site, and pushed our data once a week,” said Spencer. “It was good to have some DR protection, but maintaining duplicate infrastructure and licensing was expensive, and that limited what we could do.”

Recently, Spencer moved Crescent’s disaster recovery infrastructure to Peak 10 + ViaWest’s Recovery Cloud, a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solution. Recovery Cloud provides the improved economics of multi-tenant DR infrastructure, plus the improved protection of continuous data replication.

“Instead of sending our data weekly to Atlanta, we’re replicating data to the cloud as it changes, essentially live,” said Spencer. “Now we have improved data protection, plus the reliability and security of Peak 10 + ViaWest’s data center environment, for less than we were paying before.

“Every company should have disaster recovery,” Spencer added, “But the question is always, ‘how much can I implement effectively and affordably?’ With Peak 10 + ViaWest Recovery Cloud we can afford a higher level of data protection for more of our servers.”

Rapid response to threats

Spencer cites another Peak 10 + ViaWest offering, Managed Intrusion Detection and Prevention Service (MIDPS), as a huge benefit. MIDPS monitors all incoming traffic to detect and block a full range of threats – from buffer overflows and DDoS attacks, to viruses, malware, and OS vulnerabilities.

Spencer is particularly impressed with what he sees as MIDPS improved speed in resolving threats, which translates to less impact for his users and customers.

“Over the past couple years or so we’ve encountered three DDoS attacks at Peak 10 + ViaWest, and the resolution keeps getting faster,” said Spencer. “The first was resolved in seven minutes, the next in five minutes and the most recent in just two minutes. Again, it would be difficult for us to implement this level of detection, let alone recover this quickly, on our own.”

Smoother moves

A few years ago, Crescent relocated its corporate offices to uptown area of Charlotte, N.C. and “obviously, having outsourced infrastructure made that move a lot easier,” said Spencer. “Office space in uptown Charlotte is expensive,” he added. “To lease dedicated space for a data center would be a lot for us, and with Peak 10 + ViaWest we don’t need to spend that.”

Spencer recently did an evaluation to re-evaluate the economics and other benefits of sticking with outsourcing, or bringing Crescent’s data center back in house – and determined that outsourcing with Peak 10 + ViaWest made more sense than ever.

In fact, Spencer and his team are currently deciding whether to move more of Crescent’s infrastructure to Peak 10 + ViaWest.

“We still maintain our VM equipment on premise,” said Spencer. “But as that equipment moves toward end-oflife, we’ll evaluate whether we upgrade that equipment and keep it on site, or move to Peak 10 + ViaWest’s virtualization environment and not have the physical equipment ourselves.”

Flexibility, and peace of mind

That kind of flexibility is something Spencer really likes about working with Peak 10 + ViaWest.

“We can literally change our environment as our business changes,” said Spencer. “Over time I’ve added racks when we needed more, and removed racks when we needed less. But it’s even more than that. I can go from moving my entire infrastructure to Peak 10 + ViaWest and letting their team manage the whole thing, to keeping more of my infrastructure here for my team to manage and using Peak 10 + ViaWest’s environment and support when I need it, or anywhere in between. A la carte, I can pick whatever level of support makes me feel comfortable as an IT manager.”

Spencer also appreciates the peace of mind that comes with letting Peak 10 + ViaWest worry about physical infrastructure – so Spencer can focus on Crescent’s business.

“Just as an example, when we had our own server room our AC broke down all the time. It was costly to replace and we had to worry about how the heat would impact our other equipment,” said Spencer. “Knowing that cooling, heating, fire prevention, power, and security are being managed for us on a larger, more reliable scale, and in a way that’s more affordable for us, is the biggest benefit of working with Peak 10 + ViaWest.”

Through its decade-long partnership with Peak 10 + ViaWest, Crescent Communities knows that it has an IT provider that will support continued growth for the long-term.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest