Azure Opens the World for Window Nation
Launched in 2006 by two brothers who grew up in the window business, Window Nation has flourished as an industry leader in home improvement services. Commitment to quality has driven their expansion across seven states and has earned them the industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award. Knowing that hiring and retaining talented people makes the difference, Window Nation was named a 2017 Top Workplaces honoree by The Baltimore Sun.
As Window Nation opens new showrooms in expanding markets, IT Director Oluseye Fadiran has been tasked with scaling the company’s IT capabilities. He turned to Microsoft and Enabling Technologies to help execute his vision and offers his guidance about Window Nation’s journey to Microsoft Azure.
The Goal of Ultimate Scalability
Fadiran explained some of the issues. “We had a challenge with a Managed Service Provider that was remotely hosting and managing our data center,” he said, “The cost was becoming unbearable.”Maintaining aging equipment also added complexity, plus, as Fadiran explained, “We were not in control of our own proprietary information that was outsourced to our Service Provider.”
For Fadiran, the selection process was thorough, but not tedious. “We started our selection by looking at all our options, including AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure,” he explained.
Evaluating the Economics of the Cloud
Window Nation had worked with Enabling Technologies when migrating to Office 365 for Exchange, SharePoint, and Skype Online. When they asked for guidance, Enabling Technologies began with a financial planning session. “The cost analysis was where I really got interested and where Enabling Technologies really helped break it down,” explained Fadiran. “We came to find out that we could actually save about 70% on the monthly data center costs by migrating to Azure.”
Some Azure customers are surprised when they receive bills that exceed their expectations, but “We were able to arrive at a fixed cost for the migration effort with Enabling Technologies,” said Fadiran. “Knowing the maximum cost of the project helped me get buy-in from the executives.”
The Preparation & Migration
“We then did a technical review and analysis, which Enabling was very helpful with,” said Fadiran. “We went through a full analysis of the environment, discussing what technical considerations to make, and we did a user adoption assessment which was very helpful.”
“Next,” he continued, “we actually deployed a Domain Controller, file server, and an app server. We tested network shares and permissions, so that we experienced no problems post-migration.”
The setup of virtual machines, services, and the migration of data came next. “The implementation was very easy,” explained Fadiran. “Enabling’s engineer was easygoing, let us ask questions, and took time to answer our questions in a way that we could understand.”
Window Nation appreciated the expertise Enabling provided. “If we were left alone to do this, it’d have been a lot more complicated,” presumed Fadiran. “Enabling’s engineer had done this before for a number of other companies. Because we had no project manager, Enabling came up with timelines and prerequisites. We were quite involved because I wanted to learn while Enabling led the way.”
The Results & On-Going Support
“Our company is growing at an alarming rate, and our associates are more mobile,” explained Fadiran. “In addition to the cost savings, Azure has also improved our security and our environment is more accessible to our mobile workers.” From the IT perspective, Azure is proving to be less overhead and more flexible. “We’re able to implement more security controls and ease the burden of constant patching. Standing up new servers doesn’t require talking to our hardware provider and licensing and configuring. It’s just as easy as spinning up a virtual machine in our tenant.”
As for those predicted cost savings? “In the past year, since we’ve been in Azure,” Fadiran said, “we have saved between 40-50% compared to our data center, so it’s been a really, really good success.”