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Another VMware Cloud – Columbia Sportswear Runs Its Hybrid Cloud on VMware

Columbia Sportswear Company “is very pleased with how effortless it has been to deploy VMware vCloud to meet our rapidly growing business requirements, allowing us to scale instantly and reduce infrastructure costs,” shares Michael Leeper, Senior Manager of Global IT Engineering at Columbia Sportswear.

Columbia Sportswear is the worldwide leader in outwear and sportswear apparel and accessories. Based in Portland, Oregon, the company has over 4,000 employees and over 50 physical locations and retail space around the world. The company, which went from 25% VMware-virtualized to over 96% virtual over the span of 8 months, turned to VMware in order to take a closer look at the option of moving workloads outside of their own datacenters.

According to Leeper, Columbia Sportswear saw the hybrid cloud model as having three main advantages:

  1. Ability to provide zero downtime to users;
  2. Significant disaster recovery solutions;
  3. Power to spin up environments quickly.

The company saw the VMware hybrid cloud model as a way to solve business challenges around availability and disaster recovery, as it enables the flexibility to move workloads out of their own data facilities and to a cloud provider.

In terms of availability, Columbia Sportswear wanted to be able to “shutdown their physical equipment, move their data, move their workloads up to a temporary spot for four or five weeks, and then bring it back,” with users never seeing an outage while they are working from home or on the road – a problem easily solved with a hybrid cloud model.

Additionally, the company was interested in taking advantage of the Disaster Recovery solutions that a hybrid cloud approach could provide. When the Japanese tsunami in 2011 caused continuous power outages to Columbia Sportswear’s Tokyo facility, users were still able to gain network access from public sources, despite the data being inaccessible and the local servers being offline. During that time, the company realized that moving the data out of the region temporarily would have improved operations and would have allowed local staff to access their data remotely.

Finally, Leeper shares that a hybrid cloud model would enable the company to spin up environments very quickly just to test something – getting IT out of the way as a roadblock to innovation.  

Want to learn more about Columbia Sportswear and other companies who have successfully deployed a VMware-based cloud? IT executives from Fortune 1000 and mid-market companies will be taking the stage at VMworld 2012 in San Francisco during Session OPS-CSM 2258 on August 27, 2012 at 2:30pm. During the session, “Industry Leaders Share the Impact of Their Cloud Deployments,” these executives will share why they chose a hybrid cloud solution, their use cases and deployment outcomes, including infrastructure, security, provider selection and results. 

Visit Another VMware Cloud to learn more about other companies who have successfully deployed a public, private, or hybrid cloud model through VMware. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @vCloud and @VMwareSP for more Another VMware Cloud stories!

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