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Darwin Global Migrates to TierPoint Cloud

Introduction
Darwin Global, LLC was launched in 2012. It manages the operational infrastructures and web presence of three growing organizations — Smart Horizons, Smart Horizons Career Online Education, and NexPort Solutions.

Smart Horizons, a division of Darwin Global, provides online education, courseware development, and software development. Its products include solutions for online training, employee performance evaluations, and emergency response dispatch.

Smart Horizons Career Online Education (SHCOE) is the first fully accredited, private, online school district in the United States. Students graduate with both a high school diploma and a career-credentialed certificate. SHCOE is also leading the way in corrections education as the nation’s first provider of fully online high school completion education for state and federal prisons.

NexPort Solutions develops secure online education and reporting systems. The NexPort Campus learning management system delivers online education and training programs quickly, sparing customers the burden of technology ownership and upkeep while empowering them with innovation, resources and flexible deployment alternatives for their online training and education operations.

All three Darwin Global organizations deliver web-based services to customers on a 24x7x365 basis. Darwin Global was faced with the task of moving the customers for three different organizations into a new architecture without disruption. Darwin’s leadership had concerns about possible downtime while migrating to the new IT solution since their customers depended on the performance of their systems. For this transition, the migration had to be seamless and any significant downtime was not an option.

Darwin Global saw many advantages in using the TierPoint cloud. They converted both existing physical and virtual servers to TierPoint’s cloud. TierPoint engineers helped with the migration, and as a result, the company experienced little downtime as servers were replicated, then failed over to begin operating in the TierPoint Cloud.

Another advantage the TierPoint Cloud presented was that legacy operating systems could be upgraded at a later time, eliminating one of the struggles with a migration to new hardware. Darwin Global created new virtual machines with newer operating systems and migrated those systems at a later time. The dynamic nature of the TierPoint Cloud made it easy to spin up new virtual machines and eliminate older systems after migration.

The TierPoint solution also included other IT components that were important to Darwin Global. TierPoint utilized F5 load balancers to ensure performance, and the TierPoint solution also included new solutions for physical firewalls and intrusion prevention systems. This new TierPoint cloud environment also improved security for Darwin Global.

Darwin Glogal utilized TierPoint’s network-based disk backup product, Seagate’s Evault. Evault provided a file level backup and bare metal restore capabilities. Evault, using TierPoint’s network of data centers, provided Darwin Global with geographic separation of all their backed up data. Not only was their data being backed up to another system in the Oklahoma City data center, that data was then replicated to TierPoint’s data center in Dallas.

Darwin Global also used TierPoint engineers to help manage and monitor their IT environment. TierPoint engineers provided systems admin-type task assistance. This included handling tasks such as SSL certificate renewal, active directory administration, systems health checks and backup administration.

TierPoint was successful in helping Darwin Global migrate to the new IT solution without inflicting downtime on their customers. The TierPoint solution was important to Darwin Global for many reasons, including new solutions for load balancing, intrusion protection, backup and assistance with maintenance. But the solution also provided Darwin Global with the flexibility that comes along with TierPoint’s cloud as well as access to computing resources on demand.

“Migrating our systems and software to the TierPoint cloud has allowed us greater flexibility in reacting to capacity problems. Our turnaround times for adding additional processing power or storage space has gone from weeks to minutes.”

Dan Pupek

Chief Systems Architect, Certified Scrum Master Nexport Solutions, OKC, a Division of Darwin Global, LLC

AT A GLANCE

Industry
Online Education

Technology
Cloud Computing Services

Challenge
Unifying the IT
architectures of
three organizations
and adjusting to the
pressures of fast
growth within each
organization.

Solution
The TierPoint cloud
allowed Darwin Global
to obtain the computing
resources needed
to upgrade the IT
infrastructure of all
three of its rapidly
growing organizations.

Results
Darwin Global’s IT
environment had high
availability, geographical
separation using data
replication and
scalable resources.

Website
www.darwin-global.com