“Aspiring. Achieving. Accelerating.” This is the motto of Avondale, Arizona, a city of about 80,000 residents in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Known for its recreation and sports, Avondale is home to Phoenix International Raceway, where thousands of visitors congregate to watch NASCAR races twice a year, as well as Avondale Sports Complex, which serves as a popular site for regional and national amateur sports competitions. Avondale is also known for its responsive and progressive municipal services. The community has won several awards: ranking in the top-ten for Digital City of America in the last four years, placing as the #1 Digital City in the nation for mid-sized communities for the past two years, and receiving a digital government achievement award from the Center for Digital Government.

The city had already shifted to a hybrid cloud model and had a vSphere-based environment when they decided to move from disaster recovery to true business resumption. Like all medium-sized organizations, the city of Avondale’s IT Department sought a responsive, easily accessible cloud-based solution that would fit their existing technology environment and budget. Although they were already VMware customers, they weren’t going to play favorites.

Avondale’s IT team considered several cloud service providers before awarding their project to VMware vCloud® Air™ Disaster Recovery. The IT team appreciated the support and services VMware had provided in the past and their existing familiarity with VMware tools. Chief Information Officer of Avondale, Rob Lloyd, elaborates on why Avondale chose VMware, citing their past vSphere implementation as a successful project and wise investment, “We reached our goal of 70 percent virtualization in just over a year of using vSphere. VMware continuously advances its technology and provides options that allow us to build onto its solutions. As a CIO, that’s critical when looking at strategic investments.”

With vCloud Air Disaster Recovery, the City of Avondale was able to achieve several goals:

  • Build an extendable cloud-based failover environment – With vCloud Air Disaster Recovery, Avondale’s IT team is able to grow their disaster recovery services as the city’s needs grow and change. “We’re going to build around longevity and sustainability and making sure that all the services we buy and put out there have a lifespan that we can assure.”
  • Leverage built-in failover testing – In order to ensure the IT team is truly prepared for a disaster, Avondale wanted to conduct periodic tests of its cloud-based replicated environment without having to worry about extravagant costs. “You hope that everything is there, and you’ve managed it well, and you’ve done your test restores. VMware and vCloud and IT Partners provided it to us. They built for that exercise so that they could prove it at the end and on an ongoing basis.”
  • Meet recovery objectives – Recognizing the critical importance of having the most current data, Avondale worked with VMware to set a maximum three-hour RPO for important services. Also, establishing SLAs around availability of resources and powering on VMs during an operational disruption were key aspects of the service that helped drive the city of Avondale’s decision to select vCloud Air Disaster Recovery. “Disaster recovery is important to the city and to any organization, but specifically to government. When government fails, traffic stops being well managed; police don’t arrive; fire fighters don’t arrive. Then, it gets to what are our core assumptions about how a community works and people are at risk. So, in terms of our urgency, it’s life and death for a lot of what we do.”
  • Implement disaster recovery at an affordable rate – Avondale has a responsibility to its residents to provide services, but is also beholden to a local-government budget. Lloyd wanted to find the best service at the best rate, and felt that VMware consistently offered a comfortable level of assurance at a price that worked with their budget. “We’ve been able to push the envelope because of VMware’s capacity, and they’ve always honored their commitments so we don’t use more than we need. I don’t often use the term vendor partner, but VMware is definitely in that category for us.”
  • Prepare for the future – The city of Avondale plans to expand its network segmentation protection and is currently piloting VMware NSX as a platform to improve perimeter management and increase security layers to improve protection. “We want to manage our network in a way that’s more nimble, but also more secure and without needing as much hardware and personnel time.”

Deciding to build on their familiarity with VMware technology and tools, Avondale IT team’s choice to adopt vCloud Air Disaster Recovery allows them to restore city services as quickly and securely as possible, greatly improving the city’s resiliency at an affordable, scalable rate. Lloyd recognizes that these decisions mean more than the end-goal, “Internally, IT develops more credibility when we are accomplishing great things with departments, so that’s what we build around. It’s not to sell ourselves. It’s to be responsive and to hear what the organization needs. To create a very clear and effective IT vision and strategy around that.”

To learn more about Avondale’s success with VMware, watch the video.

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