Private Cloud Migration for Finance Company Due to COVID-19

Private Cloud Migration for National Equity Fund: Reshaping a Cloud-First Strategy Due to the Economic Impact of COVID-19

“Storcom has been providing disaster recovery capabilities and managed our systems for over 15 years. We were going to have them manage our Azure tenant, but decided ‘why not just execute the DR plan, fail-over, and keep our systems running in Storcom’s data center for less money?’ It just made good business sense.”  Ed Simon, Chief Information Officer, NEF

a . Business Challenges the Company Faced

National Equity Fund is a nonprofit Chicago-based affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. They are a leading syndicator of low-income housing tax credits.  Since its inception, NEF plays an integral role in creating affordable housing options, revitalizing communities, and strengthening local economies. NEF’s investments total more than $15.3 billion in developments that created 176,804 affordable homes for low-income families and individuals.

National Equity Fund, like many organizations, was following the trend to move IT operations to the cloud as older, aging IT infrastructure needed to be replaced.  National Equity Fund’s custom fund management software manages its assets and is the core of its business. Information technology has always been an integral part of NEF and its day-to-day operations.  

Ed Simon, National Equity Fund’s Chief Information Officer, had embarked on a cloud-first strategy and Storcom was moving down the path of building out a tenant in Microsoft Azure to migrate their key systems that were running in their data center in downtown Chicago.  The plan was to first leverage Azure for primary production workloads. Then we would purchase new hardware for on-premises development systems that were less critical. National Equity Fund also leverages Microsoft O365 for email and office collaboration which has been a strategy that many of Storcom’s clients have adopted in the past year. 

Unfortunately, this plan came to a screeching halt for a number of reasons; reasons that most of us never expected just a few weeks ago. 

b. Storcom’s Solution

Ed Simon, National Equity Fund’s Chief Information Officer, identified issues and Storcom created a strategy to quickly react to his current challenges.

First, remote workforce and the reality that having systems running in their office right now was a serious risk to the business.  No one was working in the office and Ed did not want to run the risk that they may have an issue where they couldn’t get to their infrastructure.  Storcom and National Equity Fund had the new tenant set up in Azure. We had Azure Migrate working and all of the networking was in place. We could have easily started down that path… However…

The next big hurdle was that moving National Equity Fund’s entire workload to Azure was going to become very costly.  Azure is great for certain workloads; however, to actually implement it with the right levels of redundancy and data backups, especially for a workload that was based on traditional Infrastructure-as-a-Service rather than a cloud-native application, was going to get very expensive. 

Then came Coronavirus. Like all companies right now, National Equity Fund is feeling the financial constraints of COVID-19. They are in a very good financial position; however, at the same time, spending more money than is necessary on IT didn’t make sense. However, something needed to be done. 

Storcom and Ed Simon discussed another alternative as a team–one that would solve all of the current issues and cost considerably less while still providing the flexibility and scalability of the cloud.  Instead of moving the National Equity Fund’s workload to Azure, we decided to move it to Storcom’s private cloud hosted in our T3 data center facility in Lombard, IL.  Storcom was able to provide better data protection and resilience than Azure for less money.  

c. Results

Storcom executed the fail-over plan over the course of a weekend to minimize impact to the business. Therefore, we ensured that critical systems went back online quickly. Their organization did not skip a beat at the start of business on Monday morning.  

Storcom provided a private and secure managed private cloud infrastructure where National Equity Fund was able to move its entire workload into Storcom’s data center…over the course of a weekend.  Now, all users who are working remotely have full access to their systems. Ed Simon, CIO of NEF, does not have to worry about updating and managing any hardware when work continues at their offices in downtown Chicago. 

Ed Simon, Chief Information Officer, National Equity Fund, said that “Storcom went above and beyond to ensure this solution worked. We wouldn’t have made it through this process without their unmatched expertise. Also, Storcom’s commitment was to get this job done as safely and as rapidly as possible so we can go on doing what is so important for our business: helping people who need help the most right now. Thank you, Storcom!”

d. Tools/Solutions Utilized

Storcom is leveraging:

  • Software-based replication technology
  • Storcom hosted private cloud infrastructure
  • Storcom’s WorkSpace Recovery™ VDI Platform

Private Cloud Migration for Financial Company Due to COVID-19

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