Core-to-Cloud SummIT 2019: Users Tout the Power of the Cloud Through Success Stories

Cloud solutions can help businesses reach their growth goals, provide optimal customer support and stay safe in the face of disasters.

Switching to the cloud can be trying, but with the right workflow solutions and the right people working to make it happen, companies are finding cloud migration offers users new opportunities for growth and peace of mind.

Cloud computing has grown significantly among small to medium-sized businessess, a trend that experts believe will persist. According to International Data Corp., 60 percent of all computing will be in the public cloud by 2025.

As digital transformation continues, it will be imperative for business leaders to understand how to use cloud infrastructure to maximize development.

“If you are not running a majority of your IT infrastructure in the cloud, you’re behind the curve,” Brian Yamanaka, director of technical operations at Zipwhip, told attendees at CDW’s Core-to-Cloud summit in Las Vegas Friday. “Odds are, competitors are already in the cloud — and they are beating you to market with new features and providing a better experience for their customers.”

IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1%20(2)_0.jpg

Cloud Infrastructure Offers a Better Work Environment for Employees

At the John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Infrastructure Services Manager David Pitak needed a way to improve daily IT services under a tighter budget without burning out his employees.

Less than two years ago, Pitak decided to migrate the Shedd Aquarium’s IT infrastructure to the cloud as a way to cut down on some of the mundane tasks staffers had to do, allowing for more time to improve customer services.

“That freed up a lot deeper technical time to allow us the opportunity to be proactive and focus more on the customer. Whether it’s working on a new website or working on our displays, it’s allowing us a lot more time to focus on that,” said Pitak. “We just have more options available to us and spend less time working on updates and fixes.”

This infrastructure refresh not only improved the customer experience, but also improved quality of life for employees by allowing them to work more reasonable hours and focus on projects they care about. This has helped Shedd Aquarium fill its talent pool despite having fewer resources than for-profit companies in the same hiring space.

“We can’t be the most competitive, so how do we keep people engaged? I think that some of our more recent transitions free staff up for more proactive work,” said Pitak. “If we can tell people, ‘Hey, you’ll mostly be working 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; you’ll rarely have to put in nights because we have CDW helping us out,’ that’s a benefit. And short of larger updates, we rarely have to go that far.”

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Check out how multicloud infrastructure is the future of business architecture.

Cloud Migration Improves Performance and Disaster Recovery

In the first quarter of 2018, business text messaging service Zipwhip was seeing unprecedented movement. With 300 percent growth in messaging on its platform, the company did not have the resources to handle the extra strain on its underlying infrastructure.

When Zipwhip’s Midwest data center was struck by lightning, shutting down important aspects of the company’s infrastructure for more than 8 hours, the company chose to take action to ensure it would not be as vulnerable again.

“This was the catalyst that prompted Zipwhip to move to the cloud,” said Yamanaka. “We put a heavy emphasis on monitoring and alerting because, if we’re going to keep having these issues, we needed to focus on early detection and faster time to resolution.”

After months of testing, planning and traveling around the country, Yamanaka and his team were able to firm up the cloud infrastructure. Now, Zipwhip is run from four data centers in the U.S. and Canada and employs eight Palo Alto firewalls, 22 Amazon Web Services accounts and 13 Kubernetes clusters. Zipwhip’s new architecture makes it easier than ever for the company to expand its architecture as needed, as well as improve on security and scalability.

“We’re now able to spin up a data center in one week,” said Yamanaka. “Our success is predicated on making sure we have the most stable platform and the most reliable platform.”

Check out our event page for more articles and videos from the CDW Core-to-Cloud SummIT.

Kritchanut/Getty Images
Jun 10 2019

Sponsors