Outsourced support and server consolidation for financial services

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The Customer.

Thornhill, a financial services company had its head office in London close to many embassies and a smaller office in central Edinburgh.  Edinburgh had a single server running file, print and Exchange, the London office had several standalone servers.  The offices were connected by a single 2Mb leased line.  A single staff member was responsible for the IT.

The Problem.

The customer had several problems.

  • Space – they need to expand the server infrastructure, but had no space in the computer room.
  • High risk of terrorist attacks due to close proximity to the embassies of the USA and Saudi Arabia.
  • Difficulties of document and application sharing between the two offices.
  • Key man risk with a single IT staff member.

BLUE Profile Solution.

BLUE Profile planned a multiphase approach to the problems which included utilising solutions and  services from IBM, Citrix, Thus and Sungard.  BLUE Profile provided hardware, software, consultancy and project management services.

To overcome the space issue, the servers were consolidated into an IBM BladeCenter with a DS4700 storage solution.  This then allowed for additional servers to be added without the computer room being extended.  A Citrix farm was then implemented which provided a solution to give the Edinburgh office access to all the applications and data located in London, the data on the Edinburgh server was simultaneously migrated to the IBM BladeCenter in London.

The high risk server location issue was addressed by arranging for the IBM BladeCenter to be hosted in one of Sungard’s secure hosting centres.  As the customer already used Sungard for its business continuity, Sungard was the ideal hosting partner.  It was also decided to outsource the data backups to Sungard using their vaulting and recovery solutions.  Before the BladeCenter could be relocated to Sungard both the Edinburgh and London offices needed to be connected to the hosting centre with a secure and resilient WAN infrastructure.  BLUE Profile designed and implemented the secure and resilient WAN infrastructure using the Thus MPLS network with Cisco and SonicWALL hardware.  To keep the bandwidth cost lower and to provide an infrastructure with a lower cost of ownership in addition to providing a solution to addressing the issue of sharing documents and application between both offices , all application were virtualised by implementing Citrix across both offices, thus converting the whole business to a thin client infrastructure.  As an added benefit of Citrix, a Celestix WSA gateway and Vasco solution was implemented to provide a full secure remote working SSL VPN solution.

The final issue, the key man risk was removed by outsourcing the support and development of the IT infrastructure to BLUE Profile.  BLUE Profile provided a full front line helpdesk solution to the customer between 8am and 6pm with a 2 hour response.  In addition to the 1st line helpdesk support, BLUE Profile managed the support, maintenance and management of the whole network from the desktop to the servers to the MPLS network.  Monthly reports were produced which contained information on the help desk calls, security, usage and capacity planning.  This not only removed the IT function from a director who was the internal IT support member of staff, but removed the key man risk.