Migrating to a new data center made easy-even though the new location is 500 miles away

An Opengear Case Study


  • Relocating its data center to a colocation facility over 500 miles away from PSCU’s headquarters meant the team would not have the hands-on access they used to have.
  • By deploying Opengear, the Network Operations team can oversee the health of their network more efficiently.
  • Opengear’s Out of Band Solution provides PSCU with ease-of-use and exceptional capabilities for remote access, including cellular connectivity.

Customer Story

As the nation’s premier Credit Union Service Organization (CUSO), PSCU partners with credit unions to help them grow and meet evolving member demands. Headquartered in Saint Petersburg, Florida, PSCU leverages digital technology and supports the success of more than 2,400 financial institutions, representing more than 7.7 billion transactions annually.

The organization announced its three-year investment plan to accelerate its digital-first strategy and capabilities. By the end of 2022 PSCU has invested more than $150 million to support its “digital transformation” initiative and continues to optimize its operations and enhance member experience. The plan has garnered measurable results; PSCU grew 70% over the last four years.

Building on the momentum they achieved with its “digital-first” strategy, in 2022, PSCU launched a new internal initiative called “Transforming Together” (T2). Through T2, PSCU focuses on delivering operational excellence across the organization and setting up the appropriate infrastructure to drive its enhanced vision. During 2022, the organization helped stop a $530 million fraud by monitoring and analyzing every single transaction, interaction, and event to identify and block any suspicious activity and possible account losses of members.

PSCU keeps evolving its solutions, services, and internal processes with the help of technology to support credit unions at the forefront of the industry. Driven by the evolving needs of members and member communities, PSCU constantly innovates, while the Network Operations team works hard to ensure a reliable network that supports it all.


After gaining a wealth of experience at Fortune 100 and other large companies, Christopher Deatherage joined PSCU’s Network Operations team as a senior network engineer. The team of four engineers is responsible for managing everything from data centers to corporate operations. “My team is responsible for the architecture and the documentation and handles the head-end for that environment. Even the campus Wi-Fi falls under our jurisdiction,” said Deatherage. He explained that he took on the role of senior engineer to help retrofit PSCU to industry best practices he’d learned in previous roles. PSCU’s data center footprint required a refresh, as it lacked the flexibility and efficiency the growing organization needed. Hence, the Network Operations team desired more speed and agility, reduced costs, and greater scalability for its data center operations.

Consequently, the team chose a colocation partner and relocated its data center from Saint Petersburg to their partner’s Alpharetta, Georgia location while keeping the other data center in Phoenix, Arizona. Although working with a colocation partner brought benefits, it also presented some challenges. Relocating its data center to a colocation facility over 500 miles away from PSCU’s headquarters meant the team would not have the hands-on access they used to have. Additionally, the legacy console servers deployed in their environment were end-of-life and lacked the ease of use the team sought. Deatherage and his team needed to overcome these challenges.

“We had a practice shutdown during which we were able to bring down the network gracefully, and bring it back online gracefully, without relying on in-band management. We used the cellular capabilities of Opengear.”
~ Christopher Deatherage, Senior Network Engineer, PSCU


As part of the T2 initiative, Deatherage and his network operations team prioritized updating their organization’s data center footprint. This involved a complete overhaul, including a refresh to software-defined networking (SDN) and revamping the core network architecture from a core collapsed network to a tree-tier network design.

To ensure the implementation of industry best practices, the team needed a secure out-of-band network to access critical data center and remote site components. Based on his previous experience, Deatherage recommended Opengear’s secure out-of-band solution for this to ensure the team would achieve more efficiencies when overseeing the health of PSCU’s network securely.

The team evaluated Opengear’s CM7100 Console Manager and IM7200 Infrastructure Manager product families. The CM7100 offers 16-96 serial console ports and dual GbE ethernet connections. The high-density CM7196 model provides 96 console ports in a 1U configuration and is ideal for hyper-scale locations. Finally, the IM7200 offers 8-48 software-selectable serial console ports, dual GbE connections with built-in Fiber SFP, 16GB internal storage, and cellular connectivity via a 4G-LTE cellular embedded module. Available in 24-port Gigabit switch and 24-USB console port models, IM7200 brings major flexibility in addition to cellular connectivity.

Happy with their evaluation and experience, PSCU’s Network Operations team decided to deploy CM7100 Console Managers (CM7148-2-DAC-US and CM7132-2-DAC units) and IM7200 (IM7216-2-DAC-LMV and IM7248-2-DAC-LMV units) Infrastructure Managers in their data center and colocation facility.


The team is highly satisfied with the efficiency and effectiveness of Opengear in their daily operations. Deatherage notes that the Opengear appliances are very easy to set up and use right out of the box. Using Opengear to access network devices in the data center feels comfortable and natural, not like breaking a bad habit, according to Deatherage. The extended team, including the Unified Communications Solutions (UCS) admin, Storage Area Network (SAN) admin, and security team, also find the deployment and use of Opengear devices practical and value-adding.

Deatherage emphasizes the efficiency and time-saving benefits of using Opengear. For example, when staging an Opengear device, Deatherage needed to recover his password. Afterwards, he forgot to change the configuration registrar back to normal. Once at the colocation site, the router came up in its password-recovered state. Deatherage had to reconfigure the device remotely, which turned out to be a surprisingly easy, efficient process. “What could have been a multiple-hour headache was a five-minute inconvenience,” he said.

The team no longer needs to call in smart-hands employees, hold meetings, screen shares, or travel to resolve issues. Opengear has saved Deatherage and his team many employee hours. It has also spared them from having to hire a third party to fix an issue in a branch office location, a job which could take several days and cost $400-$500 for remote hand services fee too.

One of the most valuable features of Opengear, according to Deatherage, is the cellular connectivity. PSCU runs an active-active data center, and before moving to a colocation facility, the team needed to ensure that the new environment could run all traffic by itself for an extended period. To do so, they staged a practice shutdown.

During the practice shutdown, the team was able to log into core routers and shut down routing protocols and servers at PSCU’s second data center in Phoenix, Arizona, without losing connectivity. “Even when it’s in-band management is completely (100%) offline” Deatherage said. “We were able to bring down the network gracefully and bring it back online gracefully, without relying on in-band management. So, we used the cellular capabilities of Opengear, and then we were able to console into the network equipment, and we were able to do that practice exercise.” Opengear helps network engineers oversee their network’s health more efficiently, translating into significant time savings of 90% of the time that would normally be required.

Opengear’s CM7100 Console Managers and IM7200 Infrastructure Managers provide PSCU with ease-of-use and exceptional capabilities for remote access, including cellular connectivity. The company’s network operations team leverages Opengear’s out-of-band management to troubleshoot and maintain their devices at their colo data center, saving them time and labor, and eliminating the need to hire third-party assistance. They’ve been consistently satisfied with the devices and are now considering expanding their use of Opengear’s products by adopting Opengear’s centralized software solution, Lighthouse, for network visibility and automation in 2024.

Industry: Financial Services

Location: Saint Petersburg, Florida

Products: Products: CM7100 Console Manager and IM7200 Infrastructure Managers