Business Overview

Jordan Foster Construction (JFC) seeks to be the preferred provider of superior commercial construction services throughout the southern U.S. by providing a quality product that adds significant client value. Founded in 1969, the company has completed over $6 billion of construction in most southern states, as well as in Hawaii and Alaska.

Jordan Foster’s diverse construction portfolio includes hospitality, industrial, office, schools, retail, places of worship, healthcare, entertainment, multifamily high-rises, civil projects, concrete and asphalt paving, and government housing and facilities. Working with little margin for project errors, tight deadlines and fixed budgets, Jordan Foster continuously seeks to improve its quality, safety, and technology.

Challenge

JFC desired to upgrade its core computing infrastructure. They also needed a reliable method to test necessary configuration changes and updates to its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. Considering their options naturally produced uncertainty:

  • Will current applications successfully run in the proposed environment?
  • Can JFC upgrade their current environment in-place?
  • What steps are required in order to bring the new environment online as seamlessly as possible with little to no chance for downtime to occur?
  • Will a vendor-provided update to the ERP system cause unintended negative consequences elsewhere in the computing environment?
  • Can JFC minimize, or even eliminate, downtime for revenue-generating end users when performing upgrades or system changes?

Essentially, JFC needed a test environment solution to mitigate these risks.

Solution

JFC integrated a Kubisys appliance into its environment to solve these challenging issues. The Kubisys Platform allowed JFC to quickly create production-accurate test environments in an on-premise, virtual private cloud to perform “what-if” scenario tests.

Capturing their production environment occurred within hours, and sometimes even within minutes. The private cloud test “bubbles” created on the Kubisys Platform resulted in customized, isolated, identical, and fully functional virtualized replicas of JFC’s production servers. Additionally, JFC also created multiple simultaneous but separate environments on the same appliance for concurrent testing of various initiatives by both systems administrators and application developers.

Outcome

With the Kubisys Platform, JFC performed invasive testing of critical systems and software without affecting production. Essentially, this completely mitigated the risk of costly downtime. JFC also realized significant cost- and time-savings due to the Kubisys Platform’s ease of use, speed to build and customized, concurrent test capabilities.

More specifically, JFC finally had a solution to these technical problems:

  • Vendor Patching: JFC had experienced several problems with vendor-deployed patches breaking certain ERP functionality. Testing these patches on the Kubisys Platform before deploying to production prevented remediation and end-user downtime.
  • Critical System Upgrades: JFC’s payroll system currently resides on a physical Windows 2003 server. By using our Platform, they can ensure a successful upgrade when that system is moved onto a Windows 2012 R2 virtual server.
  • Payroll Downtime: JFC uses an internally developed time-card system. If upgrades, patches, or other changes aren’t successfully deployed, downtime could lead to drastic, real-world ramifications: no pay, or reduced pay, for employees living paycheck-to-paycheck, or the need to have extended overtime for the Payroll Department as they manually enter time cards.
  • Domain Controller Testing: With the Kubisys Platform, JFC could install Active Directory Services in order to test potential issues associated with the domain promotion process of a Windows 2012 R2 server operating at a Windows 2003 level. JFC could also validate the demotion process of current Windows 2003 domain controllers in the presence of a Windows 2012 R2 domain controller.
  • Windows Server Upgrades: JFC could test whether particular physical servers with Windows Server 2003 could be successfully and directly upgraded to Windows Server 2008. Attempting a failed upgrade and then restoring from backups would have meant end-user downtime.
  • SharePoint Upgrades: JFC could replicate a Microsoft SharePoint environment to upgrade both the version of SharePoint and the operating system it resides on. 
  • Training: Through the Kubisys Platform, JFC could create a training environment for a new IT Administrator without fear of bringing down JFC’s Intranet.
  • ERP Upgrades and Data Transformation: JFC can now develop a plan to upgrade their Oracle-based ERP system involving new servers and substantial amounts of data transformation. JFC will use the Kubisys Platform in multiple iterative tests to validate converted data prior to an end user discovering it in production.

Because JFC has witnessed first-hand the many benefits of using the Kubisys Platform to test upgrades, patches and changes to even their most critical of systems, they now see how our Platform might be used to help further mitigate the risks that typically accompany development and deployment. With Kubisys, Jordan Foster Construction can continue to grow while still meeting tight deadlines, working on fixed budgets, and realizing little margin for project errors—and now especially in their IT department.  

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