Last February, Gorham Savings Bank found itself in the midst of a bizarre scenario. A prankster with a firearm caused about $30,000 in damage shooting at a fiber-optic cable box near the Gorham Industrial Park in Gorham, Maine. Several rounds of gunshot cut service to a number of businesses and residences.
Although Gorham Savings Bank was spared, repairs to the fiber box serving other network connections would require an agonizing eight hours of downtime for the bank’s fiber access. That was unacceptable to Gorham Savings Bank, which had to ensure bank transactions continued seamlessly with little to no disruption to their customers. Working with Oxford Networks, the bank was able to access a temporary fiber workaround to get them up and running, which today offers a redundant path in the event of future disasters.
“A shooting spree to a fiber line is likely a scenario few would anticipate. Yet, more than ever, organizations – particularly financial institutions – need to ensure they have more than just a disaster recovery plan in place,” explains Kevin Heatley, Director of Technology and Senior Vice President, Gorham Savings Bank. “They also need a redundant network, solid relationships with vendors, and the ability to ramp up or down with compute needs at a moment’s notice.”
For Automatic Distributors, D-Day Became V-Day
June 6 is remembered as D-Day, the day the Allied forces led a historic assault on German forces on the beaches of Normandy, helping to secure victory and bringing War World II one step closer to its merciful end.
Jeff Graham, the owner of Automatic Distributors, describes June 6 of 2016 as his D-Day.
Automatic Distributors is a B to B wholesale distributor of parts and accessories for the power sports industry including ATVs, utility vehicles, motocross, snowmobiles, marine craft and motorcycles. The Bangor-based company relies extensively on internet orders and fulfillment to serve customers worldwide. It uses IBMi series servers as the brains of its operation, coordinating orders between its Bangor and Indianapolis facilities.
“We were changing some batteries on our server and a live RAID card was inadvertently taken out and it crashed the system,” he explains. “No one could recover it and get it back up.” So Jeff called Oxford Networks’ CTO Ron Shink, who referred him to Senior Systems Engineer Joe Hodge, an expert on the i-series. Graham had known Hodge and worked with him on IT needs for years when Joe was with Norton Lamb, an IT solutions company, prior to its acquisition by Oxford Networks.
“I called Joe and asked if Oxford Networks had an IBMi machine with a card we could use to replace the damaged one we had,” explains Graham. “Joe dropped everything and arrived that next morning and I then worked with Joe tirelessly for weeks including late into the nights and weekends. Joe was absolutely integral in the recovery and eventual solution,” said Graham.
“Joe said Oxford offered IBMi hosting on its own cloud at Oxford Networks’ Brunswick (Maine) Data Center, and that we would be well served by remote hosting at their facility. Oxford Networks had us up and running in two weeks.”
However, there was still a significant issue to work out. Automatic Distributors’ IP sessions kept dropping, and no one could figure out why. “Virtually the whole staff in Brunswick came together to help. Everybody was involved down there, including five or six engineers. They even ran a fiber line off the street, and had daily briefings in the morning with engineering staff. Eventually, someone suggested we change the IP subnet, and the problem was resolved.”
Graham, a no-nonsense businessman who loves to talk about his 40-year-old company with pride, explains that Google couldn’t provide the support he needed, which is why he approached Oxford Networks. He’s glad he turned to what he called a “solid bricks-and-mortar company” to help with his dilemma. Automatic Distributors now houses a number of servers at the Brunswick Data Center and intends to relocate more of them.
“You know those shows where everyone in the community comes together after a disaster to help someone in crisis?,” asks Graham. “It really felt just like that. Everyone came together to help. It was a very stressful three weeks, but it all came together. And the i-series has been a rock ever since.”
Three cheers for V-Day.Jeff Graham
A few years ago, a vendor recommended Oxford Networks. We had a lot of land lines at the time, and transitioned to Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) with them, and it turned out great. We had also been thinking about transitioning to the cloud for a long time, and we were hosting our own servers. About a year ago, we had heat issues in our server room and it was also time to upgrade to new servers. When we moved office locations, instead of buying and maintaining new servers in house, we made the decision to switch to the Oxford Networks cloud. We feel the data is more secure at their data center.
Oxford Networks’ account rep is one reason we stay with Oxford Networks. She’s more concerned about what’s best for us, rather than what’s best for Oxford Networks. We’re very happy we made the switch.Annette Lefebvre
In downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire, The Music Hall is a beautiful, familiar, and historic landmark. However, the 1878 Victorian theater is anything but stodgy and sedate, boasting some of today’s most brilliant artists, comedians, musicians and authors. Indeed, the theater and its sister venue, the Music Hall Loft, have undergone renovations that make them look both hip and classy.
Given its sophistication and marketing savvy, not to mention the fact that it contributes an estimated $7 million to the local economy, theater management recognizes the importance of its IT infrastructure and connectivity. Indeed, the venue even has its own technology manager on staff.
Until recently, The Music Hall’s equipment and software were 5+ years old and needed updating. So about a year ago, they started looking at cloud options and found software for running ticketing and fundraising in the cloud, as well as Quickbooks for accounting. Today, as Technology Manager Barbara Kenney describes it, “things are humming,” with two virtual servers running on Oxford Networks’ cloud.
“We had a long-standing relationship with BayRing (now part of Oxford Networks) for our Internet connectivity, so we looked at going with Oxford Networks’ cloud solution and putting our domain server and main document and print server in the cloud,” said Barbara Kenney, Technology Manager, The Music Hall. “It’s been an extremely positive experience, competitively priced, and with our aging system, it made so much sense.”
Just completed at The Music Hall: a hosted phone solution with Oxford Networks.Barbara Kenney
Mark Anderson, CTO of I-Comm Connect, was confident that his start-up would be a winner. I-Comm Connect created a patented VoIP calling solution allowing users to place an instant call button on their website as a means of direct customer contact. Customers from anywhere in the world can simply click on the button and call an organization’s phone line directly through their browser, for free.
Just weeks before launch, however, Mark and his crew ran into a major snag: their big cloud provider couldn’t accommodate the flexibility I-Comm needed to run on their network. Gulp. So I-Comm turned to Oxford Networks, which provided the speed and capacity they needed – and ahead of I-Comm’s deadline.
As a result, I-Comm was able to confidently and successfully launch on time and within budget, and even broadened its relationship with Oxford Networks by purchasing back-up and recovery services. “Oxford Networks really saved the day, and has been great to work with,” says Anderson. “They provide the flexibility and hands-on customer support a small business needs to get up and running. That’s something you just don’t get with the big guys.”
Thanks to Oxford Networks, we were able to avoid a large capital expenditure, fit the solution into our current operating expense structure, and concentrate our IT efforts on those areas of the business that truly add value to business bottom line.
I connected with the people at Oxford Networks and believed in their vision of a high security, cloud based data center in Maine. It was the right vision at the right time in the right place.Mitch Davis
In 2009 Oxford Networks completed its fiber network backbone build to Boston, providing redundancy and unlimited bandwidth to businesses in southern Maine. One of the businesses to take advantage of this technology investment was Town & Country Federal Credit Union. According to Michael McIver, Network Administrator for Town & Country, the affordable increased bandwidth was very appealing.“ As Town & Country has expanded, we have had an ever increasing need for more bandwidth to support our IT functions. Oxford Networks has provided that reliable, potentially unlimited bandwidth at a great value to us,” said McIver. Since then Oxford Networks has worked with Town & Country as they have expanded to six locations and added additional services that enable this Maine-based company to offer better service to their members.
“Oxford Networks has helped us engineer just the right configuration for our growing company. They worked with us to create custom solutions based on our individual needs, not just providing us with an off the shelf product,” said McIver.
Town & Country Federal Credit Union is member owned, not for profit financial institution that serves more than 23,000 members across Cumberland and York Counties.Michael McIver
Oxford Networks is a great example of a telecommunications company that can innovate and think outside the box. They have been willing to expand to meet our needs, and to do so more cost effectively than other carriers.Over the past ten years, we have been growing our network of branch offices and Oxford Networks has been instrumental in enabling us to do this. When trying to work with the larger telcos available to us all around New England the increased capacity and bandwidth that we needed came at too much of a premium. These other telcos came back with responses like, ‘We don’t have a SKU for that.’ Oxford Networks representatives, on the other hand, said ‘Let me talk with engineering, and see what we can do.’ They came back with winning proposals.Oxford Networks is a great example of how bending over backwards for the customer puts the vendor in a position to be a business enabler. It’s like Oxford says, ‘We’ll make a SKU for you!’Ray Sirois Sr.