Hyperconverged Infrastructure Reliably Delivers for EnergyUnited








Nearly 25 years after two electrical providers combined their smaller co-ops into a single electrical co-op, EnergyUnited now serves over 130,000 customers in 19 counties in North Carolina. Their mission includes safely and reliably delivering power to their customers while protecting their data and privacy. The firm relies on Robert Martin and the IT team to deliver the infrastructure that makes all of that possible. In turn, EnergyUnited relies on eGroup Enabling Technologies services, and solutions from Nutanix and Cohesity.  

Hear about EnergyUnited’s mission as a caretaker of the grid and protector of consumer privacy. 

The Challenge

When Robert joined EnergyUnited, he found the core was built on a traditional three-tier architecture with discrete servers, storage arrays, and virtualization software from different vendors. This mash-up resulted in high maintenance, management, and upgrade costs, as well as frequent downtime and performance issues.  

Robert also realized the firm’s backup system relied on tape and carousel, and as such, was unreliable, slow, and prone to errors. He quickly ascertained that EnergyUnited needed a more modern and efficient IT infrastructure to support their 24/7 operations and data protection needs. His vision included leveraging the cloud for backup and disaster recovery, and for future innovation and growth.

Robert summarizes EnergyUnited’s catalyst for action below:

EnergyUnited expected any new solution to provide: 

  • Reliability and Availability: EnergyUnited needs IT systems that are operational 24/7 to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of power to their customers.  
  • Data Protection and Security: Customers expect privacy, so providers’ systems must have robust data protection and security measures in place.  
  • Scalability and Flexibility: Changing demands and support for future growth are the norm for growing North Carolina communities. 
  • Cost-Efficiency: Member companies expect to keep their IT costs under control, meaning Martin had to seek cost-efficient systems to operate and maintain.  

The Solution

"After a lot of investigative work, it was clear that Cohesity was really the right choice for us. I like to think that Cohesity is a lot like Nutanix, but in the backup space. It's modular, the hardware looks similar to Nutanix, and hyperconverged storage is built in. Both Cohesity and Nutanix offer good options for cloud as well." 

Robert called in the team from eGroup Enabling Technologies, a leading provider of IT hybrid data center services and solutions. After having successfully worked with eGroup | Enabling in the past, Martin trusted the expertise and processes of the 30+year-old IT Managed Service Provider. 

The team leaned in to plan EnergyUnited’s transformation. The paramount design principle: no downtime, even for routine maintenance. The critical uptime of the co-op’s required changes during the transition (and beyond) to be handled with care.  

eGroup Enabling Technologies’ data center engineers helped Robert narrow down the options to two best-in-class solutions to best meet the requirements for scalability and resiliency: Nutanix and Cohesity.  

Nutanix’s hyperconverged platform combines compute, storage, and virtualization in a single appliance, eliminating the need for separate hardware and software components. “Nutanix has been a real leader in the hyperconverged space,” testified Martin. “I looked at some other offerings from Cisco and HP, but none of those were mature enough. History has supported that decision, because HP and Cisco really don’t even have viable alternatives now.”

Migrating in a 24/7 environment takes careful planning and execution:

Nutanix has delivered the scalability and resilience that EnergyUnited requires. Through its Prism interface, Robert controls all aspects of the stack.  

Some of the administrative advantages include the following:

Cohesity’s data management platform provides backup, recovery, and cloud integration for any data source, including Nutanix. “After a lot of investigative work, it was clear that Cohesity was really the right choice for us,” asserted Robert. “I like to think that Cohesity is a lot like Nutanix, but in the backup space. It’s modular, the hardware looks similar to Nutanix, and hyperconverged storage is built in. Both Cohesity and Nutanix offer good options for cloud as well.” 

Cohesity’s on-prem restoration capability brings major relief:

In addition to Cohesity backing up Microsoft 365, which has allowed Robert to restore long-deleted Office files on demand, it also protects on-premises data. “Cohesity takes a full backup of a virtual machine at a point in time, and then does incrementals forever. We can go back to whenever we need to. When somebody calls me up and says, ‘Hey, I need this file,’ I do a quick search, find the file, and put it back. It just works, and it works correctly.” 

Executive Management has Board Meeting Notes restored to SharePoint:

The Results

As a result of Martin’s leadership, EnergyUnited has achieved significant improvements in their IT infrastructure and backup systems, including:  

  • Increased performance, scalability, reliability, and security for their applications and data 
  • Reduced costs, complexity, and management overhead for their IT operations 
  • Eliminated downtime and performance issues caused by hardware failures, firmware updates, or resource contention 
  • Enhanced data protection and recovery capabilities, with faster and more reliable backups, restores, and cloud integration 
  • Protected and restorable files within Microsoft 365 

The many benefits are summarized below:

“The best feedback we’re getting is that we don't get any feedback because there are no problems to complain about. They're seeing zero downtime and life goes on. It just works!”

That’s the feedback from Executive Management, where no news is good news!

Additionally, Robert sees the ROI as net positive. “Because of the complexity of the old system, we relied on contractors for a number of things, and there was always the downtime issue and keeping things running. From a budget perspective, over a period of time and with the simplification of what we are doing, it really is more cost-efficient.” 

EnergyUnited is able to shift resources between data centers in real-time:

The Partnership

eGroup Enabling Technologies has played a crucial role in the lifecycle of EnergyUnited’s hybrid data center.  

“We’ve implemented a number of projects with eGroup Enabling Technologies in the area of compute, storage, and backup of infrastructure,” recalled Martin. “They’ve really helped us solve a lot of problems with reliability.” 

eGroup Enabling Technologies helped EnergyUnited evaluate their options and recommended Nutanix and Cohesity as the best solutions for their requirements. Robert attests “eGroup Enabling Technologies has picked the right vendors that we need to keep our business running on track.” The team designed, deployed, and configured Nutanix and Cohesity across their two data centers, and migrated their applications and data from their legacy systems. Eight years on, the eGroup Enabling Technologies team continues to provide support, training, and guidance to ensure the success of the lifecycle of EnergyUnited’s hybrid data center.

“One thing I like about eGroup Enabling Technologies,Robert mentioned, “is they offer a number of seminars about some of the technology that they’re offering. You can get a sneak peek at some things and a little more in-depth review before you start making decisions and understanding what’s available.”

"I can't say enough good things. They've been in the forefront of all the things that we've done and even when I don't have something going on, if I need a question answered or a little help on something, they will generally get back to me very promptly, which is much appreciated even though they're not on the clock."

Shout-outs like these are truly appreciated, as our dedication to customers drives us every day!

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