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Goodwill Embraces IT Transformation with Cloud, Virtualization

December 02, 2015

The virtualization of the data center and the move to the cloud has become a seemingly unstoppable force. Embracing this transformation underpins the IT strategy of one of the country’s largest charitable organizations, Goodwill Industries of New York and New Jersey.

Goodwill, which has 41 stores under its umbrella in the region and delivers aid to 95,000 people, has a vast lattice of point-of-sale systems, donation management applications, security systems and departmental IT to manage. CIO Andre Bromes said the charity needed modern approaches for better manageability, but that confidentiality, integrity and availability are critical to the organization. As a non-profit, solutions also have to be cost-effective.

"The end goal is to purchase innovative solutions that allow us to scale and operate in the most effective way possible," Bromes said in a recent interview.

To that end, Goodwill has made a three-year pivot to virtualization in its data center, working with VMware, as the cost of server and storage virtualization has come down. That project is now 97 percent complete, and the company has also installed virtualized desktops. And, it has worked with disaster recovery and availability management vendor Veeam for cloud-based business continuity.

"One of the problems," Bromes said, "is that we had to maintain backup libraries and support legacy technology, which often weren't backward compatible. The cloud has changed that and introduced a new level of efficiency and cost-effectiveness revolving around data recovery.”

In the past, the organization used unwieldy DAT and other tape backup technology.

"The thing that is easily overlooked," Bromes explained, "is that the ability to backup data is only part of the requirement. There's a need to have a robust data recovery system in place and, in our case, ensure that it can support a virtualized environment."

Overall, Goodwill has kept pace with the IT transformation that’s happening in the broader market, and is reaping the benefits. "We have been able to cut down on IT management and overhead, administrative costs and more—all while improving availability and redundancy," Bromes said.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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