Data engineer inspecting cables in the server room

Case Study

Circuitry with the Best Shield

Circuitry with the Best Shield

Using Cutting-Edge Cloud Technology HWC Ensures Business Continuity and Reduces Costs by 30 Percent

The timing couldn’t have been better. Shortly after implementing a new Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution, an unusual snowstorm caused widespread power outages for several days, testing the new system. While many other businesses were heavily impacted, Houston Wire and Cable maintained business operations throughout the emergency, demonstrating the effectiveness of its BCDR solution.

Why this BCDR solution came just in time

Houston Wire and Cable (HWC) is a US wire and cable distributor that needed a substantial IT refresh including initiation of a viable in-house backup and disaster recovery solution. With no existing Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery capability, HWC planned to use Azure cloud technology to establish its Disaster Recovery (DR) solution. The Azure landing zone would also create a foundation to accelerate HWC’s digital transformation.

Calling on well-established relationships with Microsoft, VMware, and Veeam, SoftwareONE partnered with HWC to design and implement the Azure VMware Solution (AVS), and a backup and DR capability from Veeam. The result is an elegant BCDR solution that achieves nearly instantaneous restore capabilities in Azure, and it was ready when the snowstorm hit.

Houston Wire & Cable Logo

Allison Ruggles

“We realized we must think bigger about how we support the needs of our customers, which means business continuity and disaster recovery are vital aspects of our IT solution. SoftwareONE has the deep technical connections with Veeam, VMware, and Microsoft that helped us navigate the technical hurdles as we worked through the process.”

Vice President Information Technology, Houston Wire & Cable

The Project

  • Customer: Houston Wire & Cable

  • Industry: Manufacturing

  • Services: Data center modernization with Azure VMWare Solution (AVS) Services and Migration to Azure; Implementation of a cloud-based Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity (BCDR) capability with Veeam on Azure

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About the Customer

Founded in 1975, Houston Wire & Cable Company is one of the largest electrical wire and cable distributors in the US. HWC helps industries servicing the national infrastructure. With eleven strategically located sales and distribution centers, the company provides customers a single-source solution. HWC is committed to providing its customers value through superior customer service, application engineering support, and a 75-million-dollar inventory ready for same-day shipment.

The Challenge

Efficient IT is essential to HWC business operations, especially during peak demands or during natural disasters. Product availability and delivery timing are critically dependent on systems and applications operating at peak performance. “We realized we must think bigger about how we support the needs of our customers, which means business continuity and disaster recovery are vital aspects of our IT solution,” said Allison Ruggles, Vice President Information Technology at HWC.

While HWC’s production environment running on VMware vSphere in its Houston data center was adequate, there was no acceptable BCDR solution between its data centers. Any substantial outage would cause significant downtime, leading to significant business disruption.

The Solution

Following a successful Microsoft Office engagement, HWC selected SoftwareONE to move its digital transformation forward by implementing a backup and disaster recovery solution from Veeam in the Azure cloud. Taking advantage of Azure cloud technology to deliver greater functional agility would also help the company prepare for future uses of Azure. As a Gold-certified Microsoft partner for 30 years, SoftwareONE’s deep understanding of Microsoft technology was key to HWC’s choice of SoftwareONE as its advisor.

HWC and SoftwareONE partnered to implement the newly launched Microsoft Azure VMware (AVS) hybrid cloud solution. Close collaboration with the publishers helped to innovate enhanced solutions meeting HWC’s requirements. SoftwareONE helped build the Azure landing zone and configure the networking components between the datacenter, the Azure Virtual Network, and the AVS environment.

When extreme winter weather in Texas resulted in prolonged power outages, the new DR solution demonstrated its value. HWC worked closely with SoftwareONE to migrate its production workloads to AVS using the new BCDR solution to secure system availability. This allowed the company to continue supporting its customers during this natural disaster with no interruption or data loss.

“We had the solution implemented just in advance of the unusual Texas Snowstorm which left wide areas without electricity for several days. We enabled the fail-over to AVS but with the electric grid down, most of the team helped make the move to Azure while plugged into the power sockets in their cars. HWC continued operating normally throughout the change; had a record sales day, and executives had no idea we made the switch until after we informed them we did it.” - Allison Ruggles, Vice President Information Technology, Houston Wire & Cable

The Result

  • Accelerating Digital Transformation with Azure Infrastructure: The shift to the public cloud helps HWC focus on core business. Azure provides the scalability, flexibility, and reliability needed for BCDR and expanded Azure cloud services offer greater agility and innovation for faster time to market and better customer value.
  • Lower Expense: Using AVS, Veeam, and the Azure cloud deployment lowers HWC costs by 30% while delivering a reliable and comprehensive BCDR solution for the first time.
  • Performance Optimization and Scalability: The Azure solution transforms HWC scalability from manual operations taking six days to an automated and instant scale that accommodates peak usage. Whenever risk levels rise, HWC can seamlessly move workloads between its data center and the cloud.
  • Seasonal Demands met 100%: By implementing Veeam on Azure, Houston Wire and Cable gained a near-instantaneous Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery capability for all business-critical applications, reliably serving customers anytime, during seasonal peak demands, and even during natural disasters.
  • Faster Recovery of IT Assets: Veeam on Azure combined with a custom solution on network routing allows quicker failover and fewer manual procedures. The number of planned tests has increased, to support cost-effective and tailored recoverability.
  • Maximizing ROI with Azure: By migrating the VMware environment to Azure, HWC leverages cloud benefits and continues using IT Team skill sets to manage the environment. Additionally, AVS provides a longer-term strategy that reduces hardware and software refresh cycles and enables expanded service benefits from Microsoft Azure and VMware.
  • Consistent and Simplified Management: The AVS solution allows multiple team members to flexibly control the critical BCDR process when disaster strikes. The team gains time to provide strategic help to the business and adopts a new digital perspective on how HWC supports its customer base.
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