Goodwill Central Coast deploys Edge Computing infrastructure across three counties – Intelligent CIO ME

Goodwill Central Coast, a non-profit organisation based in California, has scaled its services, simplified its IT infrastructure and saved time and money after implementing a Scale Computing Edge solution.  

Spanning three counties in Southern California, Goodwill Central Coast serves Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo. Goodwill Central Coast’s mission is to provide employment for individuals who face barriers to employment, such as homelessness, military service, single parenting, incarceration, addiction and job displacement.

To fund its mission, Goodwill Central Coast is also a retail organization, which provides job training and funds programs to assist individuals in reclaiming their financial and personal independence.

With 18 locations to service, Goodwill Central Coast was in need of a virtual hyperconverged infrastructure solution capable of managing the region’s file systems at the edge and databases out of a central database in Salinas.

Without the resources available to provide on-site services for each location, Goodwill Central Coast wanted an Edge Computing solution that required little or no management for its remote regional servers.

Scale Computing HC3 – Introduction, selection and implementation

Before turning to Scale Computing, Goodwill Central Coast was using an outdated legacy virtualization system that required physical reboots every other month. The IT staff at Goodwill Central Coast began exploring solutions to upgrade from their cumbersome legacy solutions in 2018.

The non-profit was looking to save management time by replacing its IT infrastructure with a virtual server system capable of simply and efficiently managing remote servers.

Kevin Waddy, IT Director, Goodwill Central Coast, was also interested in looking for a hyperconverged system for its ability to migrate from physical servers to virtual.

Waddy said: “An obvious solution was to go ahead and upgrade the existing solution which would have meant new servers, new switches and a new SAND device but that was going to be an expensive option and I had I started to lose faith in the operating system for clustering – I didn’t have faith in the stability of it.

“I started to look at hyperconverged systems and systems that were more integrated.”

Waddy was deliberating between two solutions but ultimately selected Scale Computing for its affordability, dependability and simplicity.

HC3 was deployed and implemented quickly on 24 virtual servers across 18 locations in the region, providing the non-profit with a solution that required less management and support, resulting in increased uptime. 

Waddy said: “It was a very smooth, quick transition. During the implementation, we had very personal contact and very motivated support. The implementation team seemed like they had a really high stake in my success and they were successful with that.”

Waddy said he has experienced one hardware failure but he received an automated notification that a hard drive was being sent to replace it.

He said: “I was very happy with the response – there has been no downtime and virtually no tech time to replace the hard drive.”

“The training and support during the migration was comprehensive and I’ve had zero issues with the system in the six months I’ve had it in place. Scale Computing HC3 is a single pane of glass that’s easy to manage and it has saved us so much time on projects.”

Finding an Edge Computing solution with Scale Computing

Since its implementation of Scale Computing HC3, Goodwill Central Coast has upgraded its point of sale system, increased drive space, saved resources and saved 15% on the initial IT budget. With Scale Computing HC3, Goodwill Central Coast now has a modern IT infrastructure that is high-performing, reliable and efficient.

Goodwill Central Coast’s staff needed to solve the challenge of managing a server system efficiently and remotely for all 18 stores dispersed across the wide region.

“The main challenge we face is our geography. We needed support and with 24 servers requiring physical reboots, we also needed a hyperconverged virtual system,” Waddy said.

“Before we chose Scale Computing, my choices were to build physical servers or spend time on the legacy system to build some servers. All hyperconverged systems have the ability to migrate from physical servers to virtual, but the process Scale Computing uses is a quick proposition.”

He added: “What I liked about the solution is that the hypervisor is a Scale proprietary hypervisor. The system itself is an on the fly, upgradable system in the hypervisor in the hardware, and that depended on Microsoft Windows, which is great. If I needed to deploy a Linux box or any other type of box up top of the hypervisor, then I could do that myself. And that helps with future proofing it. Also, if I need to build lab computers, that’s very easy to do.”

After selecting Scale Computing, Goodwill Central Coast solved its geographical issue and found a solution capable of being deployed quickly, managed locally and remotely, and providing self-healing technology that reduces the overall amount of time spent on IT projects.

Another key benefit of the system is its backup and Disaster Recovery capability.

Waddy said: “Not only does it save time in my backup software but it enables flexibility for Disaster Recovery and failover which is really key for someone in my position – I have to have a working backup and failover solution.”

“With Scale Computing HC3, the time it takes to spin up a server is minutes compared to hours. I’m using the system to spin up some lab servers for a project and now, I can spin up a lab with five servers in 30 minutes,” he said.

“Our server restores are quick, lasting only around 15 minutes. We’re now able to increase drive space and resources on the fly compared to our legacy infrastructure.”

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