The Challenge: Virtual Environment Stability Requires Unique Technical Skillset
When a business provides communication services, client downtime is not an option. That’s the challenge Volli Communications faced in 2016 as its client base began to grow rapidly.
Volli provides an alternative to businesses that rely on costly and inflexible phone plans. With Volli NetOffice, businesses can unplug their landlines and simply plug into the Internet to communicate and substantially lower their monthly phone bills, equipment charges and maintenance fees.
During Volli’s growth spurt, the company brought on a new client in the financial services sector with approximately 125,000 phones in the U.S. and Canada. Given the criticality of communications for every client’s business, Volli must prevent any downtime for the telecom platform it hosts.
“One of our key concerns was our open source virtual environment on which our telecom platform runs,” says Terry Madden, President of Volli Communications. “Our expertise lies in the development and support of NetOffice. So we needed technical resources to assess our virtual environment and to apply any configuration changes we required in order to ensure our client communication systems continue to deliver reliable and stable performance around the clock.”
Volli specifically required expertise in Proxmox—the virtual server environment. Other open source technologies for which Volli hoped to find expert technical support included the Linux operating system, Asterisk PBX software, and MySQL.
“Before engaging Pantek, we initially worked with a consultant who was available on an intermittent basis and would often give us things to look into on our own,” points out Ray Howe, the Volli Technical Coordinator. “But we need resources who are available immediately in case of a pending system-down situation. We also want to partner with experts who will work alongside us—solving issues and spending time to help us understand more about open source technologies.”
“The expertise Pantek provides saves us from having to hire two or three technical resources, who we would have had to hire at full-time salaries. That approach would greatly increase our IT costs, and we don’t need such resources all the time. Working with a partner like Pantek gives us all the open source support we need at a much lower cost.”
The Solution: Pantek—All the Required Skills in One Partner
As Howe began to conduct a search for an IT partner with open source skills, he quickly discovered how rare it is to find experts with Proxmox knowledge. “There are some consultants who know Proxmox but are not always available,” says Howe. “We wanted to partner with a company that offers a team of experts so someone will constantly be there for us.”
Fortunately, Volli found one company with all the required open source skills and on-demand availability: Pantek.
With the Pantek ticketing system, the client has a permanent record of all work done, which benefits everyone involved.
“In addition to expertise in Proxmox, Linux, Asterisk and MySQL, Pantek is very responsive any time we need help,” Howe says. “Even more importantly, they share their insights so we can understand why issues occur and learn how to correct them on our own.”
The Results: A Reliable Telecommunications Platform at a Lower Cost
At the beginning of the partnership with Volli, Pantek’s expert technical support engineers connected remotely and resolved the immediate issues. The engineers then created a project plan to resolve the less critical issues. Finally, once the issues were resolved, Pantek provided suggestions on improvements that optimized the overall productivity of the systems.
Pantek’s expertise helped ensure reliable performance for the virtual environment supporting the NetOffice platform. Since that time, Pantek has continued to provide managed services to keep the environment stable. Pantek resources are also available 24×7 should any urgencies arise.
“The expertise Pantek provides saves us from having to hire two or three technical resources, who we would have had to hire at full-time salaries,” says Madden. “That approach would greatly increase our IT costs, and we don’t need such resources all the time. Working with a partner like Pantek gives us all the open source support we need at a much lower cost.”
Over time, as the Volli team continues to learn more and more about open source technologies from the Pantek team, the amount of time Volli requires from Pantek has diminished. “They don’t keep things to themselves, trying to protect their knowledge,” Howe says. “They are willing to share and want us to become self-sufficient as much as possible.”
Volli also greatly values that Pantek is always there when needed. Madden and Howe envision the three-year partnership will continue well into the future.
“It’s nice to know we have a partner who understands our unique environment and who we can always turn to in a pinch,” says Madden. “Pantek gives us an extra layer of support and confidence that our platform will continue to perform with reliability and stability as we continue to grow and meet the communication demands of our clients.”
Case Study Overview
- Volli needed IT resources with open source expertise to support the virtual Linux platform hosting the telecommunications services that Volli provides to clients.
- Specific software in which Volli required support included Linux, Proxmox, Asterisk and MySQL
- Hiring the two or three resources that would be required to cover all these open source technologies would have been cost-prohibitive.
- Finding a partner with expertise across all these areas, who could also provide on-demand support, was difficult at first.
- Pantek proved to be the one partner who could deliver on all the requirements.
What Pantek Delivered
- Dedicated technical resource evaluated the open source virtual environment and provided the necessary configuration changes to stabilize the environment.
- On-going managed services maintain reliable performance for the telecommunications platform.
- Pantek conducts knowledge-transfer of open source technologies to enable the Volli team to become more self-sufficient in supporting the open source environment.
- The Pantek team is available 24×7 to address any urgent support requests.
- Volli benefits from a much lower cost for open source support in comparison to hiring internal resources.
Tools and Technologies
- Linux operating system
- Proxmox virtual server environment
- Asterisk PBX software