A customer we have been working closely with over the last few years realised they had some challenges that needed to be addressed and asked Computer Merchants for help. Apart from ageing servers, they also had software that was old and nearing end of support. Their users were consistently experiencing slow access to their core applications and this was directly affecting customer satisfaction because the time to generate quotes and contracts was getting impacted.

The key areas we needed to address were as follows. Their ageing servers were struggling with increasing workloads and were at the end of the extended warranty period. The network was slow and their backups were taking too long. Some of their servers were still running on a mix of Windows Server 2003 and 2008, as well as old versions of Exchange and Citrix. Most of their endpoints were also past their refresh cycle and really needed to be updated with new technology. It was also getting quite costly to manage and maintain the old hardware and software. Add in the impact to customer satisfaction and we found we had a strong business case to refresh their infrastructure.

Together we analysed all parts of the infrastructure and put together a plan to upgrade and repurpose new and existing technology with minimal risk to the business. We consolidated workloads onto two new IBM X3650 servers.  The servers came with solid state disks (SSD’s) to give fast access to their database application that they use to generate quotes and contracts.  To cater for their growing disk requirements in a cost effective way we decided to keep their existing disk system and upgrade the capacity to it. To improve the performance of their network we replaced their existing 10/100 Ethernet network with new HP ProCurve 2920 1Gb switches for both their core and edge switching. To avoid the risk of running unsupported software we supplied Windows Server 2012, Exchange 2010, Office 2013 and Citrix XenDesktop 7.5. To reduce the time their backups take by 20-30%, we replaced their LTO4 tape drive with a Tandberg LTO6 tape drive. To rejuvenate their fleet of endpoints we supplied a mix of Lenovo desktops and notebooks. Our services team worked with the client to set up and install their new hardware and software. To ensure the project went smoothly we supplied project management, onsite services, documentation and handover.

The biggest win for this customer was the immediate effects of the higher I/O of the SSD Technology and the new 1Gb network. The systems are now running much more effectively together with the new software and better technology. Providing the customer with a stable platform for the core of their business, this is going to allow them to grow without being restricted by systems limitations. The customer was able to stay in control by leasing this upgrade and knowing exactly what is required for their budget over the next 3 years. Consolidating their systems has also lowered their ongoing costs by reducing IT administration time and reducing their power and cooling costs.

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