Upgrading Your Infrastructure Where (And When) It Makes Sense For You
Upgrading Your Infrastructure Where (And When) It Makes Sense For You
Bennington Potters designs, produces, and markets beautiful, heirloom ceramics. Founded by David Gil in 1948, employed potters continue to follow David’s legacy, embracing his technical creativity, commitment and tenacity, acting as the driving forces to build the remarkable company that thrives to this day. Today they operate out of Bennington Potters Yard in southern Vermont, where they give guided tours 7 days a week, as well as a retail-only store in downtown Burlington!
Working with a jumbled web of computers, files, and encountering painful drops in network connectivity, Sheela Harden, owner of Bennington Potters, knew productivity was suffering. They needed a change, but more importantly, they needed guidance. Looking for someone to work with them on their day-to-day challenges, Bennington Potters reached out to Open Approach in 2006. From switching and firewall upgrades, to server and computer replacements, Open Approach was able to bring stability and efficiency back to the pottery.
— Melissa Colon, Marketing Manager at Bennington Potters
From its humble beginnings in 1974 operating out of a 19th-century barn, Hubbardton Forge has grown to become the oldest and largest commercial forge in the United States, generating more than $35 million in annual sales. Located in Castleton, Vermont, the company produces thousands of high-end, hand-forged lighting products – “Art that Lights up” – marketed through residential lighting and home furnishings retailers as well as contract distributors. In its highly competitive industry, Hubbardton Forge has distinguished itself as the preeminent design shop with a product line that is anything but common.
Hubbardton Forge was one of Open Approach’s first clients, and the two companies have figuratively grown up together. As the demands on the Hubbardton Forge network grew, Open Approach worked hard to not only meet these demands, but to help shape the future computing environment to match their corporate vision. Like all visionary companies, Hubbardton Forge works toward opportunity and avoids reacting in fear toward challenges. Open Approach embraces this philosophy, and the result has been a network that is flexible, functional, economical and equal to the demands of this growing company.
-Dale Carr, MIS Manager at Hubbardton Forge
Working to protect the productive, recreational, and scenic land that gives Vermont its rural character, Vermont Land Trust (VLT), a member-supported 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a land conservation organization operating five regional offices throughout the state. Established in 1977, Vermont Land Trust has permanently conserved more than 1,900 parcels of land covering more than 550,000 acres, or about nine percent of the private, undeveloped land in the state. They provide technical and legal assistance to individuals, communities, and local land trusts to help them achieve their conservation objectives.
VLT and Open Approach began working together after VLT experienced network connectivity issues at one of its remote locations. Later, VLT engaged Open Approach for full systems support, which has included migrating to a highly available cluster of servers, introducing necessary redundancy into a previously aging infrastructure. Along the way, VLT was able to retire its deteriorating tape library for backups, as well as move to Microsoft’s Office 365.
— Teija Huttunen-Green, Director of Operations & Technology at Vermont Land Trust
Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union is a multi-branch organization that has been catering to its customers’ financial needs since its inception in 1954. Originally founded by a dedicated group of state employees, Meridian’s goal was to establish a not-for-profit, financial cooperative that would be built on the philosophy of people helping people. That ideology has held through to today, as Meridian has grown both internally and physically throughout the 1970s and 1980s, with the fifth and most recent location opening in 2004 in East Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Part of Meridian’s growth yielded some growing pains, one of which was the loss of their network administrator in early 2013. Unhappy with another nationally known technology company, they utilized Open Approach in parallel while waiting for the contract to run out. “After only a few months of working together, we soon realized that going with OA was the best thing we ever did. We were treated like partners,” noted Huda Hussain, Director of Business Analysis.
Since joining the team, Open Approach has worked with Meridian on a complete network overhaul, including server virtualization, backup implementation, Active Directory restructuring, and network infrastructure optimization. They deployed a robust network monitoring system, a Citrix XenApp environment for more than 50 users, and an aggressive web filter, which increased productivity, security, and efficiency — all while being located more than 2,000 miles away.
— Huda Hussain, Director of Business Analysis at Meridian Trust
Nestled into farmland bordering Middlebury, Vermont, Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center is a comfortable, secure residence where loved ones are assured of skilled nursing care and assistance. Privacy is honored, individuality is respected and residents can choose to dine, socialize, play games and activities, or exercise with staff and fellow residents. With accommodations for 105 people, Helen Porter is a nonprofit that is licensed by the state of Vermont and certified by Medicare and Medicaid.
Open Approach and Helen Porter have been working together since 2002, when they teamed up to move their systems from paper files to electronic medical records while ensuring security and complete HIPAA compliance. From migrating non-redundant physical servers into a high-performance server cluster, replacing and standardizing an ever-growing list of workstations and laptops, to performing regular security audits of firewall, networking, and wireless configurations, Open Approach has worked diligently to help keep security and performance optimal, while also keeping costs minimized in support of Helen Porter’s non-profit mission.
— Jim Darragh, Facility Administrator at Helen Porter Healthcare
Champlain Valley Equipment (CVE) is a Vermont-based company that represents Kubota, New Holland, Polaris, STIHL, Yamaha, and others to provide world-class parts, sales, service and after-sales support to customers for agricultural, light construction, and residential needs. Incorporated in 1970, Champlain Valley Equipment continues to evolve rapidly, and has undergone significant expansion of its product sales and geographic reach.
“Growing to meet your needs” is Champlain Valley Equipment’s motto, and growing they have been, now with five different branches spanning the entire state of Vermont. To simplify the expansion, CVE wanted to quickly unify all of their separate stores under one network, and called upon Open Approach to do so. By building an interconnected network of firewalls, switching, and servers, Open Approach took five disjointed stores and brought all users into a single domain with minimal interruption or changes to their desktop environments. Open Approach addressed CVE’s increased reliance on email as they migrated to Office 365, and in response to the growing mobility of their users, they deployed a unified wireless solution between all stores, allowing users to seamlessly move between networks with minimal effort.
— Jennifer LaRock, Office Manager at Champlain Valley Equipment
Northern Tier Center for Health (NoTCH) is a primary-care practice serving multiple locations throughout Vermont’s Franklin and Grand Isle counties. A federally-funded nonprofit corporation, Northern Tier’s team of compassionate and devoted health care professionals and support staff offer a full spectrum of health care services, including family medicine, obstetrics, internal medicine, behavioral health, pharmacy, lab, and general dentistry.
Open Approach began working with NoTCH mid-2015, filling the void when a critical internal IT employee left unexpectedly. Work commenced quickly with a sizable project to restructure NoTCH’s backup environment, simplifying and automating backups for their entire server infrastructure, including offsite replication of vital data. Next up was a deep evaluation of network security and firewall configurations, resulting in a significant simplification and hardening of the rule set, which in turn reduced complexity and increased manageability. Along with this came enhanced flexibility for users to roam freely across their multi-site network — and resulted in more than $20,000 in annual savings.
— Andrew Hoadley, IT Manager at NoTCH
Founded in 1982 in St. Johnsbury, Vermont, NSA Industries was built on a reputation of excellence in quality and performance. The company grew from its initial customer, the manufacturer of the Garden Way Garden Cart, to become the largest metal fabrication, machining, and powder-coating operation of its kind in Northern New England. Today, NSA works collaboratively with customers to develop manufacturing solutions, specializing in metal fabrication, machining, powder coating, engineering and prototype development, and assembly.
Open Approach has worked with NSA since 2008 to support the systems infrastructure required to maintain the reputation that they’ve built. Early on, a high availability virtual environment replaced their collection of outdated physical servers. This paved the way to support a variety of business demands, such as remote access, a robust phone system, standardized workstations, and multi-site networking for all users across the entire organization. As NSA grows, OA’s latest work has been to facilitate the integration of acquired companies by extending the computer environment into new locations.
— Jeff Keyworth, Process Engineer at NSA
Marine Engine is an online retailer in Brandon, Vermont, that provides boat motor repair information and parts to both boat owners and mechanics across the country. Marine Engine has had a large online presence for over 17 years, selling everything from boat motor parts to engine repair manuals, accessories, and supplies. They also maintain an active discussion forum that provides a wealth of knowledge for boat owners everywhere.
Open Approach teamed up with Marine Engine nearly a decade ago when their IT needs began to overwhelm the quickly growing business. Due to the important nature of Marine Engine’s online presence, Open Approach established redundant internet circuits from different providers with automatic failover to serve those high-availability needs. They were able to perform an email migration from in-house Exchange to the more dependable and robust Office 365, and built up a modern virtual infrastructure as the company backbone. Today Marine Engine is sailing smoothly, and OA continues to monitor, maintain, and be readily available should any needs arise.
— Andrew Menkart, owner of Marine Engine