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“We have received a 60% performance bump with less memory and cores from our previous provider. Our team and the customers we host noticed immediately. We are a small company, but because of SingleHop’s support and depth, they make us look really big.”Jimmy Bratsakis, President, MCSI
MCSI provides project management solutions from a training, consulting and software perspective.
Consulting & Project Management
Managed Virtual Private Cloud (VPC)
MCSI—a provider of project management, consulting and training services — is a small company that makes big projects happen. How big? Tasked with managing the renovation of Chicago’s iconic pro football stadium, Soldier Field, within a strict 22-month timeframe, the MCSI team worked closely with the lead construction firm and key stakeholders to ensure the facility was ready for the 2003-2004 season.
The result, as wryly conveyed on their website: “The stadium project was completed in time for the team to lose its home opener.”
MCSI is a unique company in that they don’t just make plans, train clients, and consult in the field, they often power and manage the software (Oracle P6) that companies rely on to complete projects on-time and on-budget.
Jimmy Bratsakis, president of MCSI, moved the company fully into the cloud in 2012. “It really made sense for us to be in the cloud,” said Bratsakis. “The M in MCSI is ‘mobile.’ Our consultants travel all over the world, and we need platforms that are able to meet those demands.”
The time-sensitivity of projects managed by MCSI means reliability is paramount. Downtime in the cloud can easily lead to delays in the field. Confronting this fact was the impetus for MCSI’s switch to SingleHop.
When the firm’s previous provider powered off their cloud servers in the midst of a cyber attack, Bratsakis and MCSI were dismayed. The servers were supposedly in redundant environments, so there was no reason the entire solution should’ve been taken offline — or at least they had thought. Although the provider reacted quickly to fix the problem, the total outage had already negatively affected an MCSI customer’s environment, prompting Bratsakis and team to reevaluate their cloud solution and pursue a platform that could provide greater reliability, stronger security and better performance.
After considering bids from several providers, MCSI chose SingleHop and its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) solution. The VMware-powered VPC is an enterprise-class, secure, logically isolated computing environment sized and priced according to resource usage, allowing customers to deploy as many VMs as required without incurring further costs.
Bratsakis noted several areas that put SingleHop over the top:
Designing, migrating and deploying a new cloud environment can take time, and with some providers, it can also come at a high price. SingleHop does not charge separately for onboarding, and as a partner to its clients, is committed to making sure users understand the ins-and-outs of their new environment.
“The onboarding costs were all built in,” said Bratsakis. “And not only that, we had some onboarding issues that the SingleHop team did a great job helping us out with.”
To prevent a scenario similar to what had previously caused downtime, MCSI sought a provider with a proven security pedigree. Their VPC is backed by SingleHop’s comprehensive Shield Security service and bolstered further by enterprise-grade threat detection and log management from AlertLogic.
Ultimately, for MCSI, the SingleHop solution made the most sense when lined up against all other options. The product was easy to understand, the SLA was clear cut, and it was apparent how SingleHop would manage the environment once deployed.
“You want to talk with people who know small businesses,” said Bratsakis, speaking of his ideal qualities in a service provider. “You don’t want to be talked down to. SingleHop was clearly interested in our business; we weren’t commodified. MCSI doesn’t commodify our customers, and we don’t want to be commodified by our technology partners.”
Within 24 hours of the VPC’s deployment, customers were contacting Bratsakis about a noticeable performance improvement. According to Bratsakis, their remote database spins up 60 percent faster — and that’s while running in an environment with less memory and fewer cores than their previous, overprovisioned solution.
“It reaffirmed we made the right decision for our business moving forward,” he said.
Nearly year later, that level of performance persists, and Bratsakis is confident the VPC will be ready to handle more as MCSI continues to grow.
“With SingleHop our environment was sized in a way where we can add more VMs. So when we’re ready for our next step as a business, we know it’ll get done based on past performance.”