August 12th, 2016 by StorageReview Enterprise Lab
StorageReview Success Story: The Watershed
It’s an oft-repeated and widely accepted notion that IT administrators in the enterprise are being asked to do more all the time, without additional resources. Perhaps nowhere is this notion more prevalent than at The Watershed, based in Delray Beach, Florida, where a team of just three handle the infrastructure needs for a highly mobile, geographically dispersed staff of over 600 in Palm Beach County, Florida and Houston, Texas. As the organization continued to grow in both headcount and locations, IT was faced with the stark reality that the current way of delivering applications and support via traditional PCs simply wasn’t working. So they did what any forward-thinking organization would do; they took a hard look at the existing systems, employee needs and business requirements, and came up with a plan. The net result was a plan to simplify infrastructure, move to virtualized desktops, and ensure the employee experience was beyond compare. The goal for this small dynamic IT team was to spend more time proactively impacting business outcomes, rather than being mired in support tickets.
The Watershed’s facility in Palm Beaches, Florida
To understand the issues faced by The Watershed, it’s important to have an understanding of what they do. Wherever there is the use of a psychoactive substance, whether used for medical reasons or recreational purposes, there is a chance of abuse and addiction. The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs are designed to aid those battling addiction. Incorporated in 1998, The Watershed was created to be the best addiction treatment and rehabilitation center possible. Not only did the founders want the center to be the best at helping those in need, they wanted to be able to do it in an affordable manner. Since 1998, The Watershed has treated over 45,000 patients and now has five inpatient partial hospitalization locations, three after-care facilities, and one corporate office and call center. The Watershed staffs experts such as psychiatrists, medical doctors, psychologists, nurses and therapists, and offers various treatments to all individuals (or groups)--running the gamut from counseling to hospitalized medical detoxification.
When a facility treats an enormous volume of patients with a large number of experts, that activity will generate a lot of pressure on IT operations. Patient information needs to be quickly available from anywhere in each of the facilities, which may include places that don’t have the best Internet infrastructure. This data must also be delivered securely and its access is based on the permissions of the user's role. With such a small IT staff, this made the delivery of applications to such a diverse workforce even more daunting.
Dell Wyse 5000 Series All-In-One Thin Client
The first step The Watershed IT took was modernizing their data center and end-user devices. This included replacing nearly all of the PCs with Dell Wyse thin clients. Even the CEO uses a thin client. The Watershed built out a program to support the edge all the way through the executive offices. Not only does this strategic change shift control and security back to IT, it allows the end-user to easily move around within a location or across multiple locations and pull up their login in as little as 10 seconds. Needless to say, this solution yielded a user experience that is far better than the dedicated PCs they had prior. Instead of worrying about securing and upgrading software on hundreds of PCs with different OS versions, IT is now able to focus on a single OS image for hundreds of employees. The Watershed deployed predominantly Dell All-in-One Thin Clients, which greatly simplified the deployment process. This also gave users control over personalization settings like screen resolution, which follows them to every system they use.
Beyond the thin clients the users interact with, The Watershed rebuilt their data center, choosing a strategic combination of Dell PowerEdge R920 servers, Dell Compellent SC8000 storage arrays, SonicWALL firewalls and Dell networking switches. If The Watershed sounds Dell heavy, it is. In addition to several application deployment and WAN optimization products from Citrix, the organization relies entirely on Dell for its IT infrastructure. Additionally, The Watershed leveraged Dell financial services to acquire the new equipment and Dell Installation Services to deploy. The installation services were key, as the IT team didn’t have the expertise required to configure and provision the new infrastructure. Dell and The Watershed worked collaboratively, simplifying the process of deployment. As a result, the new data center was operational and ready for workloads within just a few days. The relationship has continued to work well after the initial deployment; The Watershed continues to leverage Dell Services as the company expands and brings additional IT resources into their locations.
The Watershed bought into the Dell Enterprise message in its entirety and couldn’t be happier with the results. The company leveraged a combination of servers, storage, networking and endpoint thin clients to deliver a better experience to their constituents--while having more rigorous control over their security policies. Beyond that, the small IT team now deals with a much easier-to-manage infrastructure. And while support tickets may not be a thing of the past, they’re clearly no longer a burden. Moreover, The Watershed solved key pain points that were limiting the ability of the organization to grow. With IT in control from the data center to the edge, The Watershed can continue to expand, knowing their IT infrastructure will gladly scale to meet the challenges of opening new facilities anywhere in the country.