Our Case Studies
ClearSource was a leader in the manufacture and sale of value tier, single-serve bottled water products. Vermont Pure/Crystal Rock, then acquired by ClearSource. With plants in Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Texas, Vermont, and Arkansas, ClearSource provided an exceptional level of service and quality to a growing portfolio of multi-regional customers. ClearSource was our client for a decade, and we provided managed services for network infrastructure, servers, email, portals, and public website.
In 1999 we were introduced to Vermont Pure just before it was sold to another company. The firm was going through rapid growth and in need of enhanced IT support to meet their growing business needs. Their network was messy, undocumented, and needed an entire overhaul, and client pc standardization.
We did a bit of everything: building server racks, supplying servers and client machines, designing network infrastructure, building intranets, public sites, monitoring the infrastructure, and performing preventive maintenance.
Some of the significant challenges that we recall include renaming their domain over the course of a weekend and severing their enterprise domain and email systems from affiliate partner's shared WAN access. Within a weekend we were at their Massachusetts office to complete the proxy connection changeover and to stand up a separate email server for their affiliate Crystal Rock.
We built a SharePoint intranet that was such a tremendous success that HR person Sandy said, "it saved my sanity." We had a wonderful experience collaborating with a public facing web working with a designer, Robbie de Villiers, who provided very cool graphics effects while we did the behind-the-scenes plumbing using Microsoft SharePoint.
It was about at this point that we developed and firmed up our plan for a redundant array of inexpensive computers which we called "RAIC." We persuaded Fred Newell, CFO, to experiment with using inexpensive computers instead of standard big Dell servers. We thought that having a one-day DELL technician come up to restore failed servers was inefficient, so instead, we implemented standard imaged servers that could be reconstituted within an hour from standby bare-metal servers.
A similar process was used for client machine management. If a user was having an issue with their machine they would simply take it from their cubicle and place it on the rack in the IT department room and take a fresh computer off of the rack. When this computer was plugged in and they logged in, it would then pull down their profile, use scripts to configure their Outlook email configuration, download their desktop wallpaper, files, and remap their printers and home drive. This was accomplished using ScriptLogic's Desktop Authority scripting software.
After the acquisition by Micropack, a dozen additional branch offices were connected to the wide area network using Microsoft ISA and PPTP over the public Internet. It worked well and saved a lot of money from dedicated connections and we had created an efficiently replicating WAN amongst six offices nationwide. We prepared special servers running ISA and hyper-v with VMs that were federated DCs. The remote offices plugged in their servers and the networks were connected. this worked like a charm for 6 remote offices. It's very cool that this worked so smoothly.
Our use of server imaging and scripted deployments proved to be a tremendous success and for a period of several years. There was virtually no downtime from failed servers. ClearSource had an outstanding IT infrastructure with lowered expenses.
We built a great new public website and an intranet that saved HR lots of manual work. ... And a web-based help desk!
Intranet Helpdesk "Homer"
If you're wondering how to get more out of SharePoint than a good first step is to reach out to an experienced Microsoft SharePoint consulting firm. We have worked with SharePoint since its first version and will be very happy to show you some examples of our work and provide ideas for how you can use it better within your company so contact us today!