Founded in 1998, Cat-Tec is a managed service provider serving a broad range of small and medium-sized businesses in Ontario, Canada.
- Existing infrastructure limited their ability to expand the business without hiring additional staff
- Inability to quickly and fully recover from a potential ransomware attack or other system-wide disruption represented an existential threat to the business
- The cost and complexity of systems like Nutanix did not meet the needs of its small and mid-sized customers
- Manually updating firmware on customer hardware was both time-consuming and inefficient
The Scale Computing Solution
- The automated self-healing capabilities of the SC//Platform provides peace of mind in the event of a ransomware attack or system-wide network disruption
- Leveraging the advanced capabilities of SC//Fleet Manager means their small team spends less time manually tracking hardware inventory and applying updates to their customer infrastructure
- Scale Computing’s consolidated platform means Cat-Tec can deliver more services at a lower cost to improve their net profitability
- Modular, mix-and-match cluster architecture provides instant scalability to help meet future customer IT demands
- Improved Bottom Line Results: The flexibility of SC//Platform has allowed Cat-Tec to strengthen its business by driving more customers to an recurring revenue model
- Streamlined Delivery: The Scale Computing platform has enabled Cat-Tec to pre-stage 90% of configurations saving them an estimated four hours per deployment per client implementation
- Easy & Reliable Backups: Native integration with market leading third-party backup vendors ensures simplified end-to-end data protection
- Accelerated Troubleshooting: Scale Computing Fleet Manager’s capability enables Cat-Tec to remotely and proactively troubleshoot issues and quickly determine if a site is down
It’s not an exaggeration to say that Scale Computing has completely transformed our business. Most notably, the flexibility of Scale Computing Platform has opened up the opportunity to expand our business as a Managed Services Provider.
Based in Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada, Cat-Tec provides enterprise-level computer network consulting to small and mid-sized businesses whose networking needs range from five users to over ten thousand users. Cat-Tec serves businesses in many industries such as financial, publishing, legal, manufacturing, marketing, and the not-for-profit sector.
The Challenge: Improve IT infrastructure value and resilience
Founded in 1998 by IT experts Rick Martin and Genito Isabella, Cat-Tec is a regional MSP focused on delivering personalized IT services and cloud solutions to a broad spectrum of small and mid-sized businesses. For more than 20 years, Cat-Tec has established a well-earned reputation in its regional market for providing affordable, high-touch IT services to its clients.
“While our clients all have very different operating requirements they all have one thing in common – they want to spend less time troubleshooting their technology stack and more time focused on running their business,” explains Cat-Tec’s Co-founder and VP of Systems Integration, Genito Isabella. “That means that we need to continually evaluate the latest technologies that we use to run our supporting infrastructure so we can pass along those efficiencies to our customers.”
Before learning about Scale Computing, Cat-Tec relied on a combination of Nutanix, VMware and Hyper-V virtualization technologies to both run its infrastructure and to resell to its customers. However, it soon began to recognize that the cost and complexity of deploying these systems were limiting its ability to secure new customers. As Isabella explains, “a baseline Nutanix solution would start at $80,000. I can't go to a small business and tell them you're at $80,000 before we talk about any of our services or anything like that.”
Isabella also spent many nights awake worrying about the potential impact of a ransomware attack and questioned their ability to bring back their customers’ data in the event of a broad disruption. “One of my biggest fears is not being able to recover from a ransomware attack or system outage. Although snapshots are extremely useful for the local recovery of data from a number of operational disasters, a truly resilient backup strategy requires that snapshots be automatically replicated onto another device in a different geography.”
The Solution: Improved efficiency translates into new and predictable revenue streams
For MSPs to thrive in today’s hyper-competitive landscape, they must continuously seek out new ways to differentiate themselves in the market and add incremental value to their service portfolio. For some, that might mean investing in new technologies that can help improve their service level agreements or hiring staff with specific platform expertise. Cat-Tec saw an opportunity to distinguish its service by investing in a modern hyperconverged infrastructure solution that would offer customers added assurance by delivering rapid recovery of all workloads – regardless of where they might be located.
“Given the pervasive threat of ransomware, uptime and data security are two issues that have become a priority for all our customers and prospects. So when we began to evaluate HCI solutions, system resilience and the ability to automatically fail-over was a key selection criteria. The fact that Scale Computing had a long-standing partnership with Acronis and could provide agentless backup was a major factor in our purchase decision. Before moving to Scale Computing Platform the best I could promise a customer was to give some sort of rate option with backup. Now I actually have server-based redundancy so if a node should have a catastrophic failure, I know our cluster has two other nodes available to keep the business running.”
Isabella also recognized that moving from a hardware-based resilience model to one that was software-defined would not only be far more efficient, it would also enable them to serve more customers without having to hire and train additional staff. “As an MSP, everything we do is project based. Getting everything out of the box, already pre-configured, means I have a fully functional infrastructure ready to go. This not only represents a tremendous time savings, but also allows our small team to focus their energy on more strategic, value-added initiatives.”
Naturally, the cost of the solution was a major point of consideration. “The affordability of Scale Computing means it’s very attainable for our small business customers who don’t have to go and take out a $200,000 loan to finance a large capital expenditure. It also means that we can pass along those savings to our customers and ultimately boost our bottom line by driving more recurring revenue.”
The Benefits: "Scale Computing has transformed our business”
Since deploying SC//Platform, the Cat-Tec team has been able to save time by automating many of the manual tasks that once consumed the majority of their workday. “We estimate that the ability to pre-stage the hardware has saved us an average of four hours per deployment per client implementation. Before, I'd have to go and physically get the boxes, unpack hard drives, find power supplies, put in memory chips – all of these little tasks add up to a lot of time – time that we could be spending helping customers solve real problems.”
Isabella also finds great value in Scale Computing Fleet Manager, the integrated cloud-based management tool that makes it easy to manage multiple clusters from a single console. “From a hardware inventory standpoint, I don’t have to track serial numbers and details, it’s all right there. And if an issue does arise, having all of this information in one place makes it easier to recover. We’ve also found SC//Fleet Manager to be beneficial in terms of understanding our resource utilization and capacity. Is there a node that’s busier than another? Should we be spreading VMs around instead of having to buy new hardware? Now we can think more strategically about how we can fully leverage our resources.”
Isabella estimates that approximately 80% of their customers are currently being run on Scale Computing systems and given their success to date, plans to standardize all of their customers on SC//Platform in the near future. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Scale Computing has completely transformed our business. It’s not only saved us a ton of time and enabled us to improve the quality of our service, it’s provided us with the opportunity to do more business as an MSP.”
While Cat-Tec doesn’t have any immediate hiring plans he’s confident that when he does bring on new employees, the onboarding process will be significantly faster than it was with VMware due to the intuitive user-interface of SC//Platform. “I’ve been around hypervisors for ages. The simplicity of Scale Computing means that when we are ready to scale up, we can do so without skipping a beat.”
I’ve been around hypervisors for ages – the simplicity and the scale of SC//Platform has opened up the ability for us to do a higher volume of business since we no longer need to babysit our hardware. Instead, we can now focus on delivering the highest quality service to our customers.— Genito Isabella, Vice President, Systems Integration, Cat-Tec