2-page Partner Case Study - Posted 12/5/2012
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IT Provider Keeps Customers Running with Replication Service During Hurricane Sandy

When the winds and waves of Hurricane Sandy bore down ferociously on New York City, two WorkITsafe customers had just upgraded to the Windows Server 2012 operating system with Hyper-V Replica. As a result, their IT systems withstood the hurricane without interruption. By upgrading customers to Windows Server 2012, WorkITsafe can give them cost-effective business continuity and technology scalability—and solidify its role as a trusted advisor.

Business Needs
When Hurricane Sandy hit the northeastern coast of the United States on October 29, 2012, the offices of two WorkITsafe customers lost power, with predictions that workers would not be able to return for weeks. To best service their customers, these small businesses’ IT systems still needed to run without interruption.

WorkITsafe is a Microsoft partner that provides complete IT managed services, desktop management, and other IT services to small and midsize New York City–area businesses. Steve Rubin, President of WorkITsafe, says his customers are far more vulnerable to natural disasters and other interruptions than large enterprises. “Enterprises have a large cushion, in the form of expensive disaster recovery solutions, beneath their businesses. My customers have no cushion. They are either up and running or they are out of business.”

* Our customers that benefited from Hyper-V Replica during Hurricane Sandy feel that we not only secured their businesses but also their livelihoods because their systems didn’t fail. *

Steve Rubin
President, WorkITsafe

Rubin’s customers depend on WorkITsafe to keep their businesses running, help them make the most of their IT budgets, and identify ways to scale their technology to meet fluctuating needs. A small business may get a new client or project that requires instant expansion of desktop or server computers, but it is very difficult for the small business to cost-effectively scale its infrastructure.

When WorkITsafe learned of the Windows Server 2012 operating system, Rubin was overjoyed at the many features that could help his customers. The most impressive to him was Hyper-V Replica, which provides virtual machine replication between sites over a standard broadband connection. An organization sets up a server at a second location and replicates its workloads to this off-site server. Hyper-V Replica then makes copies of changes to those workloads every five minutes so, if a failure disables the primary site, the content in the organization’s replicated virtual machines is never more than five minutes old.

When New York City–area businesses realized that Hurricane Sandy was going to be an intense storm in their region, the two WorkITsafe customers—the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. and CSU Industries—that had upgraded to Windows Server 2012 Datacenter asked WorkITsafe to activate Hyper-V Replica. Both customers had the software running, because WorkITsafe had enrolled them in a Microsoft early adopter program.

Unfortunately, Sandy affected both businesses, and neither expected to be back in their offices for weeks. The good news is that their IT systems were completely unaffected thanks to Hyper-V Replica, and employees were able to log on to the replicated environment and continue accessing their applications from home.

Beyond Hyper-V Replica, Rubin says there are many other enhancements to Windows Server 2012 that will help his customers. One is the simplification of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, which WorkITsafe can use to help customers deploy virtual desktops and better scale their technology to meet business needs.

By encouraging customers to upgrade to Windows Server 2012, WorkITsafe can give them enterprise-caliber disaster recovery, provide affordable IT scalability, and enhance its role as a trusted advisor.

Help Customers Protect Their Businesses
By using Hyper-V Replica, WorkITsafe customers were able to fail over their systems to a disaster recovery site and continue working with minimal interruptions during a hurricane that submerged much of the northeastern United States. “Windows Server 2012 literally saved my business,” says Aaron Katsman, Owner of the Law Offices of Aaron I. Katsman, P.C. “Had we not had Hyper-V Replica in place, we would have lost a week of work time, but the damage would have been far greater because we would have lost customers. Even though our physical office was shut down, we were open for business.”

Matt Seif, Vice President of CSU Industries, echoes Katsman’s assessment. “Thanks to Hyper-V Replica and WorkITsafe, we were able to provide uninterrupted critical IT services to our clients in the northeast United States and the world—before, during, and after the storm. As a global support provider, we cannot explain to a customer in Germany that we cannot dispatch a technician to the customer’s data center in Singapore because of a hurricane in New York. Even though we had no power, our offices were shut down, and our employees were scattered, it was business as usual to our customers.”

Give Customers Affordable IT Scalability
In addition to giving customers cost-effective business resilience, WorkITsafe can better help its customers scale their business to meet fluctuating needs. For example, if a customer wins a new account and has to increase its staff by five people, it can use Windows Server 2012 to create virtual desktops in a few hours and give employees low-cost thin-client devices to access their desktops. Those new employees are immediately productive rather than waiting days to weeks to order and provision new desktop computers—and having those expensive investments sit idle once the project is over and staffing levels are reduced.

Solidify Role as Trusted Advisor
Upgrading customers to Windows Server 2012 helps WorkITsafe strengthen its role as a trusted IT advisor. “It’s critical for IT partners like us to educate customers about the capabilities in Windows Server 2012, and it’s almost a crime not to in the face of Hurricane Sandy,” says Rubin. “The ability to offer features like Hyper-V Replica takes an already-good relationship with customers and makes it unbreakable. They love and trust you. Our customers that benefited from Hyper-V Replica during Hurricane Sandy feel that we not only secured their businesses but also their livelihoods because their systems didn’t fail. We’ve always been our customers’ trusted advisor, but having a business saved in the face of a hurricane takes that trust to a whole new level.”

WorkITsafe gets all of its business by referrals, and within two days of Hurricane Sandy it received four calls from businesses that wanted Hyper-V Replica. “New York City has been hit by two hurricanes in the past year, and every single business in a 500-mile radius of Manhattan needs to be preparing itself for the next one,” Rubin says. “There’s a huge potential to help more companies be prepared for the worst.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 10 employees

Partner Profile

WorkITsafe is a Brooklyn, New York–based IT services firm that provides a range of technology solutions and services for small and midsize businesses.

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
  • Microsoft Hyper-V

Vertical Industries
IT Services

United States

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform