BaxterStorey’s virtualisation project means better business
BaxterStorey is an award-winning, independent contract catering company that cares about food, where it comes from, how it’s cooked and the impact that its production has on the environment. As a dynamic and rapidly expanding company, both through organic growth and acquisition, it needed IT solutions that can adapt and grow with the business. Virtualisation seemed to be the perfect solution and IDE Group recommended a combination of VMware and HP P4500 for server virtualisation and VMware View VDI for the desktops.
IT Director, Richard Bull, said: “Our first step was to introduce a dedicated primary data centre. Then, working with IDE Group, we virtualised almost our entire server estate.” These steps immediately resolved the challenges the company was faced with, with the added benefit of ensuring that all users could always access their desktop remotely in the event of a DR situation.
By virtualising their entire server estate, BaxterStorey can now respond very quickly to the needs of the business. Whilst strategic planning must address the physical server and storage resources required for future needs, the company can actually build and deploy servers much quicker. The virtual servers are more robust, giving much greater business continuity, and having them housed in a data centre, where they can be easily replicated to a fall back data centre, puts the company in a much stronger position.
With regard to virtual desktops, 50 were deployed purely for remote access and DR and the decision was taken to keep in-house desktops as physical machines. On several occasions these virtual desktops have proven their worth. For example, in the winter of 2009/10 when heavy snow prevented staff from getting to work, they could access a desktop from their home PC’s just using a web browser.
As well as the resilience, reliability and remote access benefits that BaxterStorey has realised through these virtualisation projects, the company has also been able to manage staffing costs more effectively.
Richard said: “We started this project with four people in the core IT function supporting our servers and desktops. Four years later, despite continued growth, we are still a team of four. This is largely because virtualisation brings so many efficiencies and makes managing your server estate that much easier; and because the support provided by IDE Group means we can focus on other areas that add value to the business.”
Previously BaxterStorey had a support contract with a local company and although they did a good job, they could not provide the level of support that BaxterStorey grew to need. Richard also recognised that they needed the support of a company that had specialised skills in Virtualisation and Storage, saying: “Where IDE Group comes into their own is when we run into an issue that we cannot resolve ourselves. We know that the IDE Group team are very dedicated, clever people with a wide range of technical skills that we can call on at any time.”
When deciding who to appoint for the virtualisation projects and ongoing support, BaxterStorey went through a lengthy IDE Group process that involved several other companies being considered. Richard concluded: “We chose IDE Group because we felt confident about the technical team that we met and we liked the solution that was being recommended. I would have no hesitation in recommending IDE Group but I would say to ensure you meet the team behind the scenes.”
“We know that the IDE Group team are very dedicated, clever people with a wider range of technical skills that we can call on at any time. Where IDE Group comes in their own is when we run into an issue that we cannot resolve ourselves”