A Small Business Case Study

L4 Networks - a bit of our history building Private Clouds

L4 Networks is a pioneer in building private cloud / centralized systems. In 2004 we built our first private cloud infrastructure with complete desktop & application virtualization for a mid-sized insurance agency. They came to us complaining they were being clobbered by IT support costs and systems that kept crashing. When we examined their IT infrastructure we found they had a typical client server model where with PC workstations being the client and a Windows base server for their multiple insurance applications. Each pc had its own desktop and copy of MS Office.

Solution: we virtualized all their desktops and applications to a new Windows Terminal Server. Since their desktops did not need any client software applications including MS Office, we locked them down with a standard configuration. All desktops would now be virtualized on the Terminal Server. The result? Immediate cost savings as users were no longer having workstation issues and management and updates were all centralized. What’s more, the company could now grow remote offices and offer easy access to employee teleworkers. No more syncing PCs or Laptops and no more "go to my pc" type applications were needed. Now their desktops were always available regardless of the client machine. We also added a business class firewall/router which enabled IPSEC tunnel access for remote workers and branch offices.

In 2011 we retired that server and replaced it with our current generation rack mount Intel server build atop VMware. We added network attached storage and our “Lights Out” tape-less fire and water proof backup system. And as PCs die off we are replacing them with Wyse thin client systems for added cost savings and security. What is amazing about the Wyse replacements is that the users still think they are on PCs. They really like the instant on feature and having a system that never crashes.

With this upgrade we changed their firewall/router to a full UTM (unified threat management) firewall/router. This provides full internet stream anit-malware, spam and intrusion detection services. It also added content filtering to keep employees from sites management deemed as non-productive or potentially harmful.

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Private vs. Public Cloud

Wyse v10leWe prefer private clouds or Hybrid Clouds over public clouds for several reasons. These include data security, liability (you are still responsible if the public cloud vendor has a leak), reliability (remember Amazon’s outages), and above all cost. Yes cost! Private clouds do not need to be expensive to be highly redundant and high performance systems. When we compared the cost of public clouds for a company of as little as 15-20 employees, the private cloud wins hands down. And when combined with thin clients workstations like the Igel product line, the entire infrastructure becomes nearly support free. And let’s face it, IT support calls is where the cost is. Call us today to discuss how a private cloud may be right for your organization!

Ready to act? Call us today at 703-955-3666 or 215-618-2198 or use our contact form