The City of Cocoa Partners with Datrium for IT Innovation and Ransomware Protection

“A lot of city and state governments are very worried about ransomware, but with Datrium DVX, we are confident we won’t need to pay the ransom to recover our data”

– Robert Beach, Chief Technology Officer, City of Cocoa

The City of Cocoa

 

Local Government
www.cocoafl.org

The Challenge

The City of Cocoa’s IT team needed innovative ways to boost performance, give users more flexibility, protect against ransomware and other disasters, and reduce costs.

 

Results

  • 400% performance upgrade
  • 50% cost savings over traditional HCI solution
  • Complete site-to-site DR
  • RTO of minutes
  • RPO of <60 minutes
  • Ransomware protection
  • Low impact of lost/broken laptops

The Challenge

Improve the User experience, Cut Costs, Protect City Data

Many city governments struggle to do more with less. While uncertain times create new challenges, they also create new opportunities for innovators. The IT team for City of Cocoa, Florida, was determined to innovate and find smarter ways to serve its constituents for less money.

The immediate challenge was to create a better, more flexible user experience for employees and other authorized people serving Cocoa. “Performance had been a problem,” said Robert Beach, CTO. “We had experimented with VDI solutions, but they were too expensive, and they still didn’t deliver the quality of experience we were after. We also needed improvements in several of our core IT functions if we could identify a viable solution.”

 

Results

Efficiency, Productivity, Protection, and Savings

Cocoa found a partner that was ready, willing, and able to support its IT team’s innovation journey. Working with Datrium, the IT team found new ways to reuse existing infrastructure, move to more efficient, higher-performance end-user devices, protect the city’s valuable and sensitive data, and save taxpayers a great deal of money.

Interestingly, cost-cutting was not the prime directive for the City of Cocoa’s CTO. “Our approach was all about increasing efficiency and productivity, with the theory that cost savings would follow if we were successful,” said Beach. “With Datrium DVX DHCI (disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure) solution, we could achieve performance gains of 400% within our existing environment – with 50% cost savings over traditional HCI. That was a wow factor.”

Beach was also impressed by how easy the implementation was. “After we purchased the Datrium solution, the actual implementation was one of the simplest and smoothest technology deployments we’ve ever experienced,” he said. “And considering the impact it has had on our capabilities, it’s really amazing. In three hours, Datrium helped us implement complete site-to-site DR, including tamperproof snapshots, with an RTO of minutes, and an RPO of less than an hour.”

 

Simplicity, Security, and Savings in End-User Devices

Datrium DVX also enabled the City of Cocoa to cut the cost and complexity of end-user devices while giving users more flexibility. “When I started working here, every user got a desktop, laptop, and cell phone,” said Beach. “We had all these different devices, all of them had their own Windows licensing requirements, and frankly it was a mess.”

Beach explained his vision. “I wanted to move to one instance of Windows per user – a virtual instance that runs in our data center where we can manage and control it,” he said. “Datrium made that practical. And by leveraging Datrium products, we were also able to go back and cut costs in other areas.”

For example, the City of Cocoa now purchases Raspberry Pis as zero-client endpoints. A Raspberry Pi is a tiny but powerful Linux-based computer with all components built onto a circuit board about the size of a deck of cards. It sells for about $70 rather than the $600 price tag of a traditional desktop, consumes a fraction of electricity, and still provides sufficient compute power to give end users a smooth experience.

Also, the City of Cocoa now issues inexpensive Chromebooks to remote users. “People can just check out any Chromebook from us when they’re working remotely,” said Beach. “Now they can connect to their home or hotel’s wifi and their desktop is online securely. If the Chromebook gets lost – no big deal, there’s nothing on it! It saves us a lot of money while keeping all of our data safe. And we can do all this because our back-end virtual infrastructure is powered by Datrium DVX.”

 

Protection from Ransomware and Other Threats

A key benefit of Datrium DVX is that it protects the City of Cocoa against the ever-growing threat of ransomware. “A lot of city and state governments are very worried about ransomware, but with DVX, we are confident we won’t need to pay the ransom to recover our data,” said Beach.

“We really love the way Datrium DVX handles snapshots, and it’s one of the key components for all our disaster recovery scenarios, not just ransomware,” he said. “We can store the snapshots and go back in time in very specific increments, without having to rehydrate a server, and bring it back to a previous state very quickly.”

 

Easy to Meet New Work-From-Home Requirements

Datrium also made it simple for the City of Cocoa to accommodate fast-changing work-from-home orders due to COVID-19. “With Datrium, we were able to move more than 100 workers from working on premises to working at home with no performance problems,” said Beach.

“We could give employees a Chromebook. They’d go home, check-in on their home wifi connection, and boom, they can connect to their desktop securely and have essentially the same experience they have at work,” he said. “And because we’re doing it via RDP, we’re not sending anything high-volume across VPN tunnels or the browsers, so we’re preserving bandwidth and allowing for more users. Datrium was instrumental in enabling us to adjust on-the-fly and give people a great experience without giving up anything.”

 

About The City of Cocoa

The City of Cocoa is a community of 19,328 located in the heart of Brevard County along the Space Coast of Florida. Incorporated in 1895, Cocoa is one of the original communities in the County. The City of Cocoa has a Council/Manager form of government where the Council, made up of elected officials, makes policy decisions, and the staff, led by the City Manager, implements them. Cocoa is also a Regional Water Utility System that serves a majority of the residents in Central and North Brevard County. The mission of Cocoa’s government is “To enrich the quality of life for our unique and diverse community by delivering Professional, Responsive, Innovative, Dedicated and Exceptional public services!” Serving our community with P.R.I.D.E. Visit our website at www.cocoafl.org.

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