Data Center Infrastructure

Resiliency, Meet Efficiency

The data center is dead. Long live the data center.  On-premises infrastructure will continue to play a critical role in the overall transformation of IT and digitization of businesses. Increasingly, enterprises are managing large, complex IT environments that straddle public and private cloud infrastructure — what AHEAD calls an Enterprise Cloud.

AHEAD combines the latest capabilities in virtualization, containerization, and hyper / converged infrastructure to bring cloud-like capabilities to your data center—while managing the critical touch points with the rest of your enterprise cloud.

Do you have a data center strategy?

Many organizations do not. For those companies where the data center continues to play a prominent role – AHEAD helps them simplify operations, handle compute and storage refreshes more holistically, use software licensing strategies that can save money and fund innovation, and help them break down a function that is still to this day, often siloed around technologies.

Harvest to Invest

Draw down technical debt and free up resource for innovation.

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Enterprise Licensing Strategies

Draw down your technical debt and free up resources for innovation.  AHEAD can harvest cost savings and efficiency gains in your environment, through infrastructure modernization and new license agreements, and assist you in reinvesting those savings in new capabilities.

If your business doesn’t have a clear view of committed infrastructure costs, you probably don’t have an accurate understanding of maintenance forecasts and software upgrades, let alone a comprehensive financial plan that allows you to make informed decisions.

AHEAD can help apply enterprise or transformational license agreements for storage, virtualization, backup, and even network security.  The process begins with an infrastructure assessment where we create full visibility into your committed maintenance and support costs, then come up with ways to reduce those costs – often dramatically – through better licensing agreements.

How Enterprise License Agreements Can Create Financial Clarity

Don’t be blindsided by your next maintenance bill.  Download our eBook on ELAs and watch the webinar.

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Compute and Virtualization

Modern applications and workloads require a great deal of computation. And many enterprises are still trying to address where to run new workloads and applications, and whether existing applications can even be re-factored to take advantage of the public cloud.

As one of the most recognized and advanced players in the VMware ecosystem, virtualization is in our DNA. We’re now we’re helping organizations fit VMware into an overall cloud strategy, and navigate VMware on AWS.  We help:

  • Deliver discrete units of compute to meet application and cost requirements, while improving server provisioning time.  
  • Navigate decisions between containers and hypervisors, helping to find the right solutions based on fit and business objectives.
  • Implement vSphere upgrades, especially as the 6.5 upgrade isn’t a standard upgrade path.
  • Determine how a public cloud strategy affects the current hypervisor and data center environments.
  • Determine how network virtualization and micro segmentation fit into an application-aware environment.

Planning Your vSphere 6.5 Upgrade

Download our Upgrade Planner and watch the Webinar.

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Containers and Serverless

Containers package up applications in file systems in order to isolate them from the underlying operating system. We help clients enable application portability through encapsulation and container management.

Serverless computing reduces the amount of overhead associated with developing applications in the public cloud. We help clients build applications and services in a faster, more agile way, leveraging infrastructure managed by cloud providers like AWS and Azure.

  • Create predictable development and release environments that are isolated from other applications.
  • Decrease reliance on server resources with lightweight containers not requiring their own O/S.
  • Decrease time-to-market and accelerate software release cycles while reducing operational costs and enabling agile developers.
  • Enhance scalability by provisioning and de-provisioning infrastructure as needed, while improving latency and geolocation.

Data Protection and Availability

Enterprises are dealing with a lot more data, from a lot more data sources.  Never before has data protection been more paramount. New threats, new compliance requirements, and new applications coming online – not to mention the drive to the cloud –  all result in new data protection requirements.

With our broad and deep experience in the data center, and cross-OEM experience, AHEAD is well positioned to help with your data protection, availability, and compliance needs.

  • Select and design of the best data protection solution for your business, including designing plans and tools for protecting cloud workloads.
  • Integrate your cloud strategy with your on-premises data protection efforts. Our specialty is in bridging the worlds of public and private infrastructure.
  • Create an understanding of the tools you’re using versus what you’re licensed for, with an eye toward saving money while reducing risks.
  • Apply workflows and scripting to integrate data protection and availability into your automation and operations management platforms.  
  • Keep your data protection strategy and platform current against security concerns around ransomware, AirGAP, GDPR, data privacy, and endpoint.

End User Computing

Mobile technology continues to change how and where users work and collaborate. We help clients enable workforce mobility by providing their end users access to data and applications from any device. We can help:

  • Improve the end-user desktop experience while enforcing desktop and application standardization.
  • Set a strategy for managing user data (often unstructured) and securing your internal file access.
  • Rationalize on-premises and public cloud for hosted VDI and provide the financial justification for choosing the right strategy.
  • Determine root cause analysis for performance issues affecting the virtual desktop or application environment.
  • Accelerate application deployment by leveraging DaaS to deliver on-demand desktops in a pay-as-you-go model.
  • Migrate VDI platforms like Citrix to the public cloud or adopt Amazon WorkSpaces, helping reduce the time to deploy and manage these environments.
  • Use virtual environments to test applications as part of a Windows 7 to Windows 10 migration.
  • Implement logging and reporting capabilities for compliance while eliminating large, unstructured file shares.

AHEADstart for Amazon WorkSpaces

View our jumpstart consulting offer for Amazon WorkSpaces.

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Hyper / Converged Infrastructure

Does your team efficiently handle infrastructure patching and management? How long does it take to migrate from old to new infrastructure after a large purchase?  Clients express to us their frustration of infrastructure management, and issues of unplanned downtime, inability to patch systems in a timely manner, or security breaches.  

HCI and CI make it easier to support enterprise applications because they’re built to simplify overall management while running complex workloads. We help clients deploy integrated compute, storage, networking, and virtualization to increase agility, and realize operational efficiency, and ultimately achieve “single pane of glass management.”

  • Free up IT staff to focus on mission-critical tasks and innovative projects.
  • Reduce operating costs and deliver enhanced data center visibility.
  • Deploy compute, networking, and storage components all within one platform with a single vendor.
  • Utilize software-defined storage to aggregate existing hard drives within a cluster, making them highly available and redundant.

AHEAD offers a breadth of expertise with H/CI, including instances VxRail and VxRack, Nutanix, and Hyperflex available in the AHEAD Labs for use in testing and training.

Straight Talk About Hyper-Converged Infrastructure

Is HCI Right for You? There’s a lot of buzz around hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) solutions. To get the most value from them, you’ll need to cut through the noise. Is HCI really a good fit for your needs? And if so, what’s the simplest way to implement it?

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Networking and Network Security

Enterprises seek scalable, secure and resilient connectivity between users, infrastructure, and applications, leveraging a combination of software-defined and physical network approaches. With AHEAD’s experience in automation, orchestration, and infrastructure-as-code, we help clients pursue the software defined data center. Our networking practice helps:

Wrongly-sized or poorly performing connectivity to the cloud can be costly, and can undermine the success of the public cloud.   We have expertise in extending enterprise networking to the cloud.

  • Speed up the provisioning of networking.  Most organizations are familiar with how automation accelerates the deployment of applications above the hypervisor.  But networking and security teams are often seen as the bottlenecks to faster deployments.
  • Replace high-latency WANs and data center backhaul strategies, with SD-WAN —  critical for the growing adoption of SaaS solutions.
  • Add more bandwidth without buying more circuits through TCO analysis and licensing strategies.  
  • Configure network management, monitoring, and BYOD through customized software and hardware deployments.
  • Ensure your network is configured and optimized properly to ensure line-of-business applications are online and running smoothly.
  • Develop a strategy to integrate the existing network with public cloud solutions like AWS, Azure, and SaaS applications.
  • Design and implement highly available and secure cloud integrations using solutions like Direct Connect, Express Route and Equinix Cloud Exchange.
  • Secure access to the network as the number of users and end points explode. Implement controls to protect against propagation inside your network perimeter.
  • Make the network compliant with regulations like HIPPA and PCI, by bridging the AHEAD network and security practices.


The rise of Everything-as-a-Service, Internet of Things, and unstructured data is driving parabolic growth in digital data, and fueling investment in robust, flexible, and performant storage infrastructure.

AHEAD storage solutions help clients build out resilient, performant, and cost-efficient tiers of storage capacity across on-premises and the public cloud. Bridging the gap between public cloud and existing data assets are especially critical for success today. We help:

  • Optimize your performant storage capacity while providing cost-efficient storage solutions.
  • Inform cloud strategies by keeping them apprised of data and storage requirements.
  • Formulate a business continuity and disaster recovery plan to enable and streamline the retrieval of mission-critical data.
  • Provide scalable storage for file systems, underserved in current PaaS offerings, enabling new capabilities like global collaboration and granular recovery.
  • Find the right balance between public cloud and enterprise storage.

Client Results

  • Implemented converged infrastructure solution to increase network uptime from 87% to 100%
    for a large academic medical center.
  • Reduced backup and recovery times from 29 hours to less than eight hours for a premier Midwest healthcare provider.
  • Designed and deployed a greenfield “virtual first” environment in less than 60 days for a large
    mutual insurance company.
  • Consolidated 20,000 users worldwide onto a single file sharing and collaboration tool – Box – for a large mutual company.
  • Improved end-user response times by 600% down to 1ms for a premier Midwest healthcare provider.
  • Designed and deployed infrastructure in less than 60 days to support a secure virtual desktop
    environment with scalability up to 5,000 users for a large mutual insurance company.
  • Created a custom Amazon WorkSpaces chargeback solution using Lambda for a global financial and professional services firm.

Client Results

AHEAD has served more than 500 clients in building and managing their enterprise clouds. Read More

Installation to Improve the Data Center

DTE simplifies operations with high-performance Nexus switches

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Reducing Costs while Increasing Security with EUC Strategy

Advocate Health Care updates EUC services to optimize staff utilization

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Building a Better Infrastructure

Amway develops the proper framework for their growing business

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Deploying vRealize Operations 6

CUNA successfully designs and deploys product for operations management

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Strategizing for a Successful Hybrid Cloud

Discover Financial Services develops a hybrid cloud infrastructure across entire corporation

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Modernizing an End-User Computing Environment

Hagerty updates their EUC to improve performance

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Expanding the Data Center Network

JLL extends its Cisco data center to better leverage technology

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Integrating a New Cisco ACI Data Center Network

Johnsonville recognizes benefits of Cisco ACI in simplified, flexible data center

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Upgrading the Data Center

WEX Health installs Vblocks to improve infrastructure

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What’s your on-premises data center strategy? Do you have one?
  2. Do you have complete visibility into your committed infrastructure costs?
  3. Is there are strategy in place for protecting cloud workloads?
  4. Are there inefficiencies in how you handle patching and infrastructure management?
  5. Do you have controls to protect against propagation inside your network perimeter?

Better Together

AHEAD partners with 60 technology providers, all geared toward optimizing the enterprise cloud.

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AHEAD maintains deep competencies in all Cisco product lines, including networking and security. We earned the Cisco Advanced Security Architecture Specialization in 2017, and have formed an entire practice supporting Cisco’s AppDynamics platform.


Since its inception in 2007, AHEAD has been a key partner of DellEMC. We’re honored to have won the DellEMC Extraordinary Partner of the Year award in 2018.

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AHEAD collaborates with Equinix to provide onramp services to the public cloud. Our new lab hosted at Equinix’s IBC in Chicago combines on-premise performance with the convenience and scalability of the public cloud.

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AHEAD leverages Nutanix to bring cloud-like performance to your data center—while managing the critical touch points with the rest of your enterprise cloud.


AHEAD uses Palo Alto network to design, migrate, and deploy automated security solutions that span the enterprise cloud, across public and private infrastructure.

VMware logo

Since its inception, AHEAD has been a key partner of VMware. We’re honored to have won the Americas Partner Innovation Award in the category of Professional Services.

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