Practice what you preach

This week, our business moved into shiny new offices in the City of London. Office moves can be very stressful, but our projects team had one less thing to worry about when it came to the office move – our IT infrastructure.

A little over six months ago, we had a very much an “on premises” IT set up. We have some SaaS based applications and we use Office 365 but we still relied heavily on our IT infrastructure in our Redhill data centre and in our server room in London. In total we had about four racks worth of IT equipment serving our own IT systems and some of our clients solutions. As a company that provides Cloud services we made the decision to practice what we preach and move all of our infrastructure to Microsoft Azure. We had considered this previously, but the costs were prohibitive and when we started our business Azure was still relatively immature. Now at the back end of 2018, the solution is stable, performant and cost effective, so we took ourselves on the transformation that we take our clients on and started to build shiny new infrastructure in Azure.

The actual migration was performed over 5 days migrating 3-5 servers every evening with rigorous test schedules and minimal downtime, utilising Azure replication technology this was achieved with ease. Each server incurred about 15 minutes of downtime during the cutover process.

Designing the solution was so important to the success of our Azure migration, utilising a mixture of Azure IaaS and PaaS to cut costs we have managed to deliver the Azure solution approximately 25% under the initial budget with 100% of the functionality we had on premise! This cost was saved through advances in Azure PaaS offerings, meticulous power management and continuous monitoring and refining post deployment. We are always looking for Azure resources that we can migrate to PaaS or downsize without impacting our clients or support staff to further optimise the solution and modernise the way our business works.

At the outset of the project we knew what some of the business benefits of moving to Azure would be:
• Easy and quick to scale up as the business grows
• No big CapEx refreshes or buying new kit as we grow
• Saving floor space, which in London is pretty expensive
• Vastly improved monitoring of systems with Azure functionality
• Auto-powering systems down when not required, saving the business money and becoming greener
• Improved performance of virtual machines due to modern hardware in Azure datacenters.
• Enterprise grade disaster recovery and BCP solution at a manageable and predictive cost

Not only have we had all of the benefits of using an Enterprise grade Cloud solution, but we have also had one less thing to worry about for our office move. All we have to do is turn up at the new office on Monday, plug in the laptop and off we go.