“These days, maintaining information technology infrastructure can get a little tough on the budget,” says Steve Kasper, Director of MIS at North State Grocery, Inc.
Founded in 1962, North State Grocery operates a chain of 19 Holiday Market stores in northern California that see stiff competition from both boutique markets and national chains in an industry notorious for tight margins.
“We faced additional data center dollars for this cycle,” Steve explains, “so we decided to better leverage that spend by moving our entire infrastructure to the cloud.”
Finding the right cloud service…
North State’s search for the right cloud provider included the usual high-profile offerings.
“We considered Amazon, Azure, and the like, but they offer no client services,” says Steve. “After you sign up, you’re on your own — no dedicated account manager. When you have an issue, you call 1-800-Help Me, and who knows who you’ll get on the other end or how much time you’ll need to educate that person about what you’re doing.”
This sort of cloud model wouldn’t work for North State, Steve concluded. “We were looking for more than a transaction. We wanted a technology partner.”
Even more surprising, and contrary to widely held belief, the larger-vendor offerings were more expensive. “Trust me,” Steve reports. “They’re not cheaper at all.”
…And the right technology partner
Steve checked out Quest after consulting several colleagues in the grocery business. “Quest was the name that kept coming up.”
“I called some of the references Quest gave me, of course,” he recalls. “I also contacted grocers not on the list but that I knew used Quest. They all were very happy with the Quest relationship and kept re-upping. Well, my feeling is if you keep going back to a technology provider it’s because they’re doing right by you.”
Hassle-free migration to Quest’s cloud
According to Steve, Quest is just what North State needed — a technology partner with the right combination of resources, expertise, and service.
“Quest put together an excellent project team for us. What’s more, any time we exceeded the scope of the project, our account manager, Phil Ostrowski, or our IT services manager, Chris Freitag, made sure we got the resources we needed. Throughout the engagement, everyone at Quest was very responsive, and they continue to be responsive.”
Most importantly, the migration went off without a hitch
“I was very pleasantly surprised — amazed, actually — at how easily we migrated from our data center to the Quest cloud,” Steve says. “The highest praise is that our user community didn’t know anything had happened. There was zero unplanned downtime. If Quest said we’d be down twenty minutes, we were down twenty minutes.”
“We’re saving money”
For Steve, moving to the cloud was a “no-brainer.” Network costs have dropped, he notes. So why not buy more bandwidth and have people whose expertise is maintaining data centers?
“We’re saving money,” he says. “We have services we didn’t have before, like intrusion detection. And now, whenever we want to invoke a new application or program, we simply call Quest and have them add a server to our farm.”
Steve appreciates not having to focus on hardware as North State adds stores. As for concerns about loss of control, etc., he points out, “You still own the data. And Quest’s facilities are much more secure and resilient. We can now concentrate on the solutions we provide users. After all, we’re here to sell groceries, not maintain and secure networks.”
The key, he says, is to be comfortable with your technology partner.
“You must look at this as a long-term relationship. Examine the costs of owning a data center versus a proposal from Quest and you’ll see it makes a lot of sense to move it all to their cloud.”