Cloud Technology Case Study-SHL

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During my employment with 5NINES, I worked on developing a case study program to highlight clients\' success using 5NINES Cloud technologies. This included identifying opportunities with the CEO, interviewing clients, developing an angle for the story and writing / editing the case studies.


  • 1. CLOUD TECHNOLOGY CASE STUDYSUPERIOR HEALTH LINENSCLOUD TECHNOLOGY CASE STUDYSUPERIOR HEALTH LINENSSUPERIOR HEALTH LINENS BUILDSVIRTUAL COMPANY IN THE CLOUDI really like the idea of having a virtual company, says Scott Reppert,CEO of Superior Health Linens (SHL). I think for a lot of people thats ahard thing to understand. But when you think about the nuts and boltsSHL Facilitiesof the information component of what we doits all housed at 5NINESMadison, WI | Milwaukee, WI | Batavia, ILSHL is a virtual company. Employees/Workstations: 300/50Reppert dislikes the term Cloud. But when he talks about his virtualcompany, hes essentially describing his companys private Cloud, man-Historyaged and hosted at 5NINES. SHL operates almost entirely in the Cloud, 5NINES had been providing onsite IT supportaccessing mission-critical data and applications via the Internet from its and lifecycle management for SHL since 2003.virtual private servers located in the 5NINES cloud center.SHLs story perfectly illustrates the benefits todays dynamic companies Challengeare getting from Cloud computingan easily scalable and replicable infra- SHLs technology infrastructure was difficultstructure, a predictable cost structure, better response to workloads, high to manage, unreliable and outdated. Theyavailability and redundancy, and reliable IT management and support. needed to create a reliable, robust IT infra- structure that would give them the capacityFOCUSING ON CORE COMPETENCIESto grow.Were a real niche company, Reppert says. We do one thinglaundryfor hospitals and nursing homes.SolutionSHL provides laundry and textile rental services to the healthcare industry5NINES was selected for its highly technicalfrom its three plants in Madison, Milwaukee and Batavia, Ill. Focusing onpersonnel and its ability to design, host andoperations that are core to that one thing and outsourcing operationsmanage a modular, replicable IT infrastruc-such as IT services is part of Repperts business philosophy.ture for SHL, which includes a private Cloud in the 5NINES CloudCenter.We dont have an IT department, Reppert says. We never will. Thatswhy we have 5NINES. As long as we stay focused on the nature of our Resultsrelationship with our customers, which is delivering a high-quality, inex-pensive product, and we dont worry about all the other bells and whistles SHLs Cloud infrastructure is equipped tothat come with running a company, we do a good job. handle future computing needs and can be deployed quickly to new plants. Theres aSHL focuses its energies on buying textiles that meet customers specific plan in place for upgrading hardware, andneeds, managing its operations and improving customer service and IT expenses are known. 5NINES providesemployee relations. Reppert knows theyre not IT experts but realizes 24/7/365 technical support.the importance of technology to SHLs growth.1 | 5 NINES Case Study: Superior Health Linens

2. CLOUDTECHNOLOGY CASE STUDYSUPERIOR HEALTH LINENS(CONTINUED)When Reppert became an owner and the CEO in 2007, SHL that 5NINES was the right IT partner for the future as well. Hewas processing 24 million pounds of laundry. Last year, theydescribes 5NINES as like-minded to SHLgrowth-oriented andfinished at 48 million pounds, and this year they anticipatepeople-orientedwith highly technical personnel.doing 52 million pounds.Still, the decision to outsource SHLs entire IT infrastructure wasntThats pretty rapid growth, Reppert says. And we really, made lightly. At an investment upwards of $20,000, SHL neededtruly couldnt have done it without support from 5NINES. It to see the ROI. In our case, if we have the capacity to grow, thatswouldnt have happened.where we get our ROI, Reppert says.To deliver the ROI that SHL needed, 5NINES migrated SHL to aGROWING PAINS private Cloud in the 5NINES CloudCenter in downtown Madison.In the fall of 2010, SHL started to take a hard look at its technol-Here, 5NINES manages SHLs virtual private servers and appli-ogy infrastructure, focusing on how it would handle the nextcations as well as Microsofts shared Exchange and DataSafephase of the companys growth. Overall, SHLs technology wasbackup. Users in SHLs three plants connect to the Cloud via abecoming difficult to manage virtual private network (VPN) throughand needed upgrades. It wasthe Internet, using thin clients, laptopsalso unreliable and prone to and desktops. Everything is managedbreaking down during criticalby 5NINES.operations, such as invoicing. Reppert remembers 5NINESAs a small company, were verypromising three key benefits:dependent on our technology Increased server capacity /to produce invoices, Reppert scalabilitysays. The clean laundry thatgets delivered to a customer A program to control theruns across a scale; that scalecost of hardware/softwareis integrated into our com-upgrades Scott Reppert, CEO of SHL, with 5NINES business developmentputer system, which goes right 24/7 support to address manager Bill Dermodyto building the invoice. Withouttechnical issuesthat communication piece,were in big trouble.CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGYServer capacity was also an issue for SHL. Whenever we AT CONTROLLED COSTSwanted to do something, it was always a question of, how5NINES lived up to their end of the bargain, and it was easy todo we do this with our servers? Reppert says. Everythingmake a decision, Reppert says. Our COO, Greg Schermerhorn, iswas a server question. And really, there were probably only very concerned about how we spend our pennies, and the migra-two people in the whole company who even understood the tion of equipmentgetting upgraded equipment for the peoplequestion.that use it the most and being able to downgrade over a courseof timefor him that was a huge thing.SHL needed to create a new technology infrastructure thatgave them capacity to grow. It had to be scalable, to accom-Upfront costs for transitioning to a managed private Cloud weremodate future computing needs, and easy to deploy quickly actually a bit more than what it would be for SHL to manage itsto new plants. In addition, SHL wanted to control costs, whileown IT.maintaining cutting-edge equipment.But it the long run, we all see that it will be less expensive,Reppert says. And more than anything, its seamless. We dontMIGRATING TO THE CLOUDhave to deal with the minute by minute, hour by hour potential5NINES had been providing onsite IT support and lifecycle downtime, with no idea what were going to do. Now, we callmanagement to SHL since 2003, and Reppert was confident 5NINES.2 | 5 NINES Case Study: Superior Health Linens 3. CLOUD SUPERIOR HEALTH LINENSTECHNOLOGY CASE STUDY WHAT IS THE CLOUD? The Cloud is a new paradigm for delivering information and services, making them accessible from any device (desktops, laptops, smartphones, thin clients), any location (office, home, coffee shop), at any time, via communications networks and the Internet. Your applications and data live and run from servers that can be located anywhereeven multiple locationsaround the world. Enjoy the benefits of operating in the 5NINES Cloud: A rapidly scalable and replicable infrastructure New business capabilities Better response to workloads We dont have an IT Resource poolingdepartment, we never Reduced costs / predictable cost structure Broad network access will. Thats why we High availability and redundancyhave 5NINES. Reliable IT management and supportScott Reppert, CEO of SHL Increased security No end-of-life issues A Private Cloud is a Cloud infrastructure operated solely for your organization. It can be managed by your organization or by 5NINES and may exist on premise or in the 5NINES CloudCenter. SUPERIOR HEALTH LINENS PRIVATE CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURESHL MADISON MANAGED LAPTOPS CCLOUDCENTER IS C WIN O VPN V SOILED LINENCLEAN LINEN PN D OWSCALE / THIN CLIENT SCALE / THIN CLIENT OFFICES: TOTO 5MANAGED USER 5NS PPINDEVICES NES IN E S TP C LO U SHL MILWAUKEED C EN TE R NETW ORK2 22 CISCO VPN TO 5NINES 5NINES CLOUDCENTER HOSTS SHLS R TE SOILED LINENCLEAN LINENVIRTUAL PRIVATE SERVERS ENOFFICES: CSCALE / THIN CLIENT SCALE / THIN CLIENTDMANAGED USER U LODEVICES C ESIN5N TOSHL BATAVIA PN V O Each SHL plant has two scale/thin client C IS C stations: one for weighing soiled linen and one for weighing clean linen. These are critical for day-to-day operations and invoicing. SOILED LINENCLEAN LINENSCALE / THIN CLIENT SCALE / THIN CLIENT OFFICES:MANAGED USERDEVICES5 NINES Case Study: Superior Health Linens | 3 4. CLOUD TECHNOLOGY PARTNERSHere are some of the world-class technologies 5NINES uses to power Superior Health Linens private Cloud infrastructure.Server 2008 R2 RDS: Remote Desktop Ser- 5NINES designed SHLs virtual private net- 5NINES used VMware to virtualizevices is used for SHLs business-critical ap- work (VPN) using a Cisco dynamic multi-SHLs infrastructure to the 5NINESplicationsABS (accessed via thin clients)point VPN (DMVPN) hub and spoke VPNCloud, affording them several ad-and Great Plainsallowing for access from topology. Routing flows through the core vantages over their previous onsiteanywhere via the Internet.router in the 5NINES CloudCenter, whichinstallations, including:has a 100Mb/sec connection (compared no hardware end-of-life issuesWindows System Resource Manager isto 1.5Mb/sec T1), with multiple redundantparticularly useful on SHLs RDS instanceslinks to the Internet. an 80x increase in bandwidthto keep memory and processor usage the ability to scale resourcesunder control, prioritizing resources for With SHLs old system, the Milwaukeeup and down as neededbusiness-critical applications. and Batavia plants were connected tothe Madison plant. If the T1 went down safer patch/os updatesWindows 7 Sync Center: For SHL employ-at Madison, all sites were down. Addition-managementees that arent doing their computing inally, a single T1 does not provide muchthe Cloud, Sync keeps their mobile lap- increased uptimecapacity. In the new environm