Harlingen WaterWorks System , Industry TodayHarlingen WaterWorks System (HWWS), based in Harlingen, Texas, is committed to supplying its customers with the highest quality drinking water and wastewater services. HWWS serves approximately 27,000 water customers, as well as the towns of Combes, Primera and Palm Valley. HWWS also services over 19,000 sewer accounts in addition to the towns of Combes and Primera.

IT challenges – the vital role of service and support

A user of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology for over six years, HWWS had lately become frustrated with the service levels and support response times of its previous VDI supplier. Having been presented with typical support response windows of 1-2 days, which occasionally stretched up to a week, John McKenna, IT director, Harlingen WaterWorks System and his team, took the decision to look for a new VDI solution.

Their selection criteria were challenging. Not only did they need technology partners who could meet their service and support needs, but they also required a highly efficient solution that would deliver performance, reliability and security.

Scale Computing HC3 – evaluation, selection and implementation

The process of evaluating and selecting Scale Computing HC3, in combination with Leostream and Liquidware technologies, was based on a solution demonstration, backed by reference calls to several of Scale Computing’s existing customers. “We were impressed with the feedback we got about Scale Computing from their customers – everyone liked them, no-one was having any problems and the service was great,” recalls McKenna.

Scale Computing’s ability to deliver excellent levels of reliability and service was particularly important. “We run a 24/7 environment and downtime is not an option for us. We take payments over the Internet, via kiosks and IVR phone payments, so if we are down even for a short time, it impacts our customers tremendously,” he continued.

With Scale Computing’s assistance, implementation was completed. “Everything has been great,” said McKenna. “We haven’t had any problems, and now we just take it for granted. It’s not even a thought as to whether or not we’re going to have our computing assets available or not.”

Mission-critical applications delivered with Scale Computing HC3

Scale Computing HC3 brings virtualization, servers, storage and backup/disaster recovery into a single, easy-to-use edge platform. All of the components are built into the solution, including the hypervisor, without the need for any additional software licensing. Scale Computing HC3 includes rapid deployment, automated management capabilities, and single-pane-of-glass management, helping to reduce mundane daily tasks, saving time and money.

HWWS has purchased three Scale Computing HC3 appliances and runs 52 virtual machines supporting every major department of the organization, utilizing them to run a comprehensive range of mission-critical applications. These include, financials, utility billing, cash receipts, inventory and a number of other operational functions, such as general ledger and human resources.

Scale Computing has streamlined VDI for the distributed enterprise, and all those for whom VDI was unaffordable or unrealistic in the past. The combined expertise of Scale Computing HC3, in combination with Leostream and Liquidware technology, provides a complete VDI solution that is simple to set up, easy to manage, and cost-effective, while still offering all the same great features you’ll find from a legacy VDI solution.

Benefits – wide ranging and high impact

With an IT team of four people, HWWS has seen major efficiency gains, with infrastructure management time reduced by 30 percent over their previous solution.

Scale Computing’s emphasis on delivering market-leading levels of customer support has helped the Harlingen IT team throughout the entire process, from evaluation and testing to implementation and full roll-out. As McKenna explains: “With Scale Computing, if I call them, I get someone on the phone right away who can help me get the answers I need. With other vendors, it was really difficult for that to happen. In addition, the added service of Scale Computing being able to step in and help us find our way through the implementation maze was very helpful.”

With Scale Computing, Leostream and Liquidware, VDI is not only achievable for any size IT department, but available without complexity or prohibitive cost. The joint VDI solution works exceptionally well in VDI environments across various verticals, for a wide range of use cases from task workers to power users requiring a simple, secure and low-maintenance option to traditional desktop PCs.

Backup and snapshots offers protection against ransomware

The HWWS IT team carries out synthetic backups every night and also takes a snapshot of their environment on the Scale platform once per hour. With the utility sector a frequent target of criminal malware attacks, the importance of this capability quickly became significant to the business in protecting against technology failure or the potential risk of ransomware.

“We’re really happy to have the snapshot capability – we feel that’s a real benefit for us that we were unable to do with the system we had prior to working with Scale,” said McKenna. “It gives us more flexibility on restoring should something happen, whether it be malware or some type of failure.”


Key challenges

  • Incumbent VDI technology supplier did not meet Harlingen WaterWork System’s service and support requirements
  • As a customer-centric business, downtime had to be minimized to avoid serious disruption
  • Small IT team needed highly reliable infrastructure backed by excellent support

Business benefits

  • Infrastructure management time reduced by 30 percent
  • Rapid, trouble-free implementation
  • Simplified IT infrastructure and VDI management delivers improved performance and throughput
  • Ability to take snapshots on the Scale Computing HC3 platform every hour improves backup and protects Harlingen from potential impact of ransomware attack
  • “It just works” – John McKenna, IT director, Harlingen WaterWorks System

To learn more, please visit: https://www.scalecomputing.com/.

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