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Donnell Systems

When it came time for Donnell Systems, a South Bend-based software and service provider, to co-locate its data center in late 2007, company executives chose Metronet’s high-speed dark fiber as its transmission system.

"Metronet provides the connectivity required to support fast, reliable and secure mission-critical applications from our remote data center," says Tom White, Donnell’s chief technology officer and vice president for development.

"We did it for back-up in case something should go down, and also to run different services at each of the locations," he adds.

Donnell, a developer and service provider for document archival and distribution has 25 employees and two locations in South Bend. Its co-location center is at Global Access Point in the historic Union Station.

"This facility offers dual power feeds, power generators, cooling systems with redundancy, and soon, a SAS-70 level certification for DataCenter management," he says. "Without Metronet, locating these critical servers at this facility would not have been cost justifiable.

"It’s worked out very well and I’ve recommended it to others," says White, who has been with the company since its inception in 1989.

He says one of the "great advantages from our perspective is that Metronet is open, meaning it is dark fiber. So for our monthly fee we can light it and administer it ourselves. The ability to control it from our end is very important to us."

Moreover, the Metronet fibers are private, "dedicated to our use."

Prior to hooking up with Metronet, he says Donnell used a non-fiber T1 system through SBC, AT&T and other vendors.

White says Donnell manages its "web services, email and things like that through the co-location. Our Internet access point is through there and the Metronet traffic has never bottlenecked. We’ve never experienced any downtime related to the Metronet."

White says connecting to Union Station via Metronet means Donnell is now able to "access any services provider at our co-location facility securely and cheaply."

And that, he says, has increased the company’s opportunities "to expand our outsourced services, such as document management, data backups, Email management and other infrastructure-type services.

"In essence, we can now implement a "Private Cloud" infrastructure with any provider located at the facility," he says. "Thus, not only are the servers and applications virtualized (kept private), but the required data connections are private as well."

He says Donnell’s Document Management Service (OCIE) can now be marketed as an application service provider (ASP) style service over the Internet or inside a private cloud, thanks to Metronet’s high-bandwidth access.

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"Traditionally, we marketed our OCIE Service as more of a managed appliance, which is installed locally on the customer’s network," he says."Metronet is the final link that affords us the necessary network connection into the customer’s infrastructure," he says.

"So all in all, it’s been a very good experience for us and even saved us a little money, too," he says. "But the primary reason we did it was for additional functionality and capabilities that we were looking for. We’ve certainly gotten that."

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