E.N. BISSO is owned by the fifth generation family descendants of Captain Joseph Bisso. This enterprise quickly expanded to employ the use of steam-powered ferries and tugs. The ferry business grew into a sizable venture and was eventually sold to the State of Louisiana. In 1946 the company was split up and Captain Edwin Napoleon Bisso formed his own company with six tugboats and two heavy-lift derricks, later naming it E.N. BISSO & SON. Today, the company is a leading U.S. Gulf Coast provider of harbor tug and towing services.

E.N. BISSO supported its fleet of tugboats via one corporate facility linked to an additional satellite location. For IT services, the company deployed several physical servers connected to a network attached storage (NAS) device with Peer Sink used for real-time data replication.

Although the network size was modest, the company realized that too much time was being allocated to maintaining it. A decision was made to exit the information lifecycle management (ILM) process that keeps many network administrators from performing more strategic businesses initiatives. ILM is a method of keeping the IT infrastructure aligned with a business so that it’s functional from the time it is implemented through its retirement.

The ever present and constant specter of ILM does have the benefit of ensuring effective asset management, configuration, deployment, and disposal. However, E.N. BISSO realized that a plausible solution to freeing themselves of the perpetual ILM cycle was to leverage cloud-based IT services. Using these services, companies receive a model that allows them to save money by reducing the costs associated with data center power and cooling bills.

“We needed to free ourselves of managing and replacing hardware all the time,” said Michael Collins, network administrator, E.N. BISSO. “Our goal was to be 100% virtualized; it’s more cost-effective and places less burden on IT.” After experiencing an exchange server failure, it was decided that the timing was right for outsourced IT services and that the email server was to be the first hardware moved into the cloud.

“We did not want to fool with the hardware anymore; we wanted everything moved out,” Collins added.


The Solution

Selecting a qualified cloud service provider was simple; the decision was based on Collins’ prior experience with Venyu while he was an IT consultant. From 2006 to 2011, Collins worked for an IT consulting firm in New Orleans. Some of his clients, including E.N. BISSO, used Venyu for offsite backups and virtualization. Collins was hired on full time by E.N. BISSO in January of 2012.

“The decision to continue leveraging Venyu was an easy one,” Collins continued. “Their service and support left a lasting impression.” The company decided to consolidate its corporate and satellite office networks into one location, to provide better support for fleet management and corporate services. Working with Venyu, E.N.BISSO hosted half of their physical servers in a colocation environment, with virtual machines running in the cloud. This new hosted environment utilized VMware cloud and vCloud Director to manage the entire service from any Internet connection. The flexible cloud-based services allowed the company to continue virtualizing physical devices — benefiting Collins by relieving him of time constraints.

As a next step, Collins elected to deploy a disaster recovery (DR) plan. The new DR plan allowed E.N. BISSO to replicate and back up files at Venyu, creating a completely redundant service. In addition,

Venyu’s DR service provides the company with a safe and always-on business location to continue supporting the tug fleet with the same IT services — without disruptions.


The results

Upon establishing the new Venyu cloud services, three main benefits were realized: 1) flexible virtual and cloud hosting, 2) enhanced network availability and 3) enhanced IT support. Moving forward, E.N. BISSO is considering deploying Venyu’s cloud based disaster recovery solution, RestartIT+VM to help with their backup needs.

“With Venyu, we were able to outsource much of our IT responsibilities, which has enabled us to roll out new IT services in support of our tug fleet,” Collins said.


This article was originally posted “Tugboat company finds smooth sailing in the cloud” from Cloud Strategy Magazine.