Based in Atlanta, Georgia, MFG.com is an online system for locating and requesting quotes for CNC machining, injection molding, metal fabrication and other processes. Buyers of made-to-order industrial goods and textiles create a request for quote (RFQ) that is then automatically matched to suppliers around the globe with the right equipment, expertise and capacity. Awarding of the order and tracking through product delivery all happens on the MFG.com platform. MFG.com also enables suppliers to find open RFQs every day to help fill open manufacturing capacity.
Atlanta-based MFG.com was using a European provider to host its IT production systems and website. This meant that companies and government agencies subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) could not use the website. Organizations that source and deliver components in the aerospace and defense industries, for example, must comply with stringent rules governing where data resides and who has access to it in order to prevent disclosure or transfer of sensitive information to a foreign national. Violations can bring substantial penalties, both civil and criminal.
Finding itself in the position of having to turn business away, MFG.com began investigating moving its operations to a U.S.-based hosting facility. Security and levels of compliance topped its list of search criteria. Peak 10 passed with flying colors, according to Jean-Francois Blachon, CTO of MFG.com. “ITAR and SOC compliance are essential. Peak 10’s regulatory and compliance program was superior to any we’d seen in the U.S. or Europe.”
Blachon had planned to replace MFG.com’s aging hardware and have Peak 10 host the production environment. Confronted with this large capital outlay, however, he was open to the possibility of incorporating cloud computing into the solution.
The Peak 10 Solution
The MFG.com environment consists of a web-based front end and large database back end. Peak 10 set up a scaled-down version of a hybrid cloud – a mix of physical servers and virtual machines (VMs) – to allow MFG.com to test and get comfortable with the environment. The proof-of-concept put to rest all their questions and concerns.
Now, their database is serviced by a dedicated physical cluster with Peak 10 storage and everything else is in the Peak 10 cloud. A unified network allows MFG. com to easily manage their environment. “We leverage the cloud to increase the number of VMs while keeping the database on a physical system,” said Blachon. “We couldn’t do that with other providers, who offered only cloud services.”
By leveraging Peak 10 management expertise to handle the Internet, firewalls, routers and operating systems, the company can now focus IT resources on its core business. “Our technical staff can now help us increase our revenue instead of troubleshooting our systems,” Blachon noted.
“Peak 10 reacts very quickly, faster than our own team used to react,” Blachon continued. “They have a huge responsibility to our business, and we have a high level of trust in them as our partner. Our relationship with them is fantastic. The level of expertise that our support team possesses is very rare.”
During the discovery phase of the relationship, Peak 10 shared best practices – their own and those they were seeing from other customers. MFG.com found this to be very valuable and, in fact, it contributed to making the Europe-to-US cutover very smooth.
By partnering with Peak 10, MFG.com received assistance in demonstrating ITAR and SOC 2 compliance. Consequently, the company has had increased activity from large customers including the US Department of Defense. Now, compliance is a shared responsibility that benefits from automation. Peak 10 manages the ticketing system to monitor system availability and provide root cause analysis reporting when necessary, and Peak 10 partner BAE Systems, formerly SilverSky, provides ongoing security monitoring.
Blachon estimates that by moving to a hybrid cloud rather than buying all new hardware, he reduced his cost by two-thirds, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Operationally, ongoing costs are 20 percent less. And, efficiency has improved 100 percent thanks to Peak 10’s responsiveness, attention to detail and 24/7 monitoring and management. “Cost savings was a bonus; the relationship was key,” he said.
Ninety-five percent of MFG.com’s online marketplace traffic now goes through Peak 10’s Atlanta data center. Blachon notes that having a hybrid cloud pays dividends every day. For example, should site traffic suddenly quadruple, new servers are only a phone call away.
“All hosting facilities are great when everything is running smoothly, but it’s not until you need a quick turnaround, that you see how good or bad your partner really is. Peak 10’s speed in solving issues for us is remarkable. The level of support surpasses our expectations. They are truly a great partner.”