No Time for Managing Hardware in the Fight Against Hunger

Rackspace employees volunteering with the San Antonio Food Bank

With the challenge of providing 4 billion meals annually to the one in every eight Americans that struggle with hunger, Feeding America doesn’t have time to worry about managing its IT. The leaders of the non-profit organization need to devote their time and resources to support its nationwide network of food banks. That’s why Feeding America opted out of a traditional colocation data center arrangement and instead looked to Rackspace for help managing its IT needs

As the largest domestic hunger-relief and food-rescue organization in the United States, Feeding America helps feed more than 46 million people, including 12 million children and seven million seniors, through 60,000 food pantries and meal programs in communities nationwide.

In 2014, Feeding America was working with a colocation provider where they were responsible for leasing floor space, power and Internet services. The organization itself owned all the equipment to support workloads, including hardware, servers and storage.

Focusing on core priorities

Technology plays a huge role in keeping Feeding America’s network connected. But Steven Carlberg, the managing director of infrastructure and security at Feeding America, wanted to eliminate hardware costs and allow his staff to focus on core priorities.

The San Antonio Food Bank, a member of the Feeding America network, had an existing relationship with Rackspace and introduced Feeding America to the managed service provider. Rackspace not only hosted the San Antonio Food Bank’s website — Rackspace staff volunteers there regularly to help the organization in its fight against hunger.

Once Feeding America decided to pursue managed cloud services, Rackspace helped migrate the company’s VMware vSphere-based private cloud infrastructure, moving 350 servers and over a petabyte of storage to Rackspace data centers.

Rackspace hosts hardware, software, servers, storage and other infrastructure components while handling myriad tasks including system maintenance, backup and resiliency planning, and delivering highly scalable resources that can be adjusted on demand.

With this level of service and support in place, the Feeding America IT team was able to shift their focus to managing core operations, applications and workloads while the day-to-day maintenance for the backend, hardware and software became managed by certified Rackspace experts.

Mission focused

“By going to a managed service model with Rackspace, I just worry about the workloads and applications to support our mission and our members’ mission,” says Carlberg. “I could run what I need today, knowing that I can rapidly scale up or scale down to fit our needs, and serve up workloads. Now I just have an operational cost as opposed to a capital expense outlay.”

Rackspace operates a world-class data center in Chicago, where Feeding America is headquartered. “It allowed us to tap into best-in-breed technologies, where we could run all our workloads virtualized on VMware who is, by far, the best-in-breed on the server side in virtualization today,” Carlberg says.

The relationship also eases security concerns for the organization, as it can rely on Rackspace to help it protect sensitive data without imposing additional burdens on users.

By relying on a trusted managed services provider, Feeding America can now focus more intensely on its critically important mission of fighting hunger. To view a video and learn more about its transition, click here.

Casey Casseb leads the Customer Reference Program at Rackspace where she's worked since 2004. She began her Rackspace career in front-line support and has worked closely with Rackspace customers since her first day on the job. In her current role, Casey highlights the ways businesses are finding success when they partner with Rackspace to tackle their toughest IT challenges.

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