Using Systems for years, why look outside when you can use someone you trust and who have never let us down. Thank you!”

Jonathan Jenkins, IT Team Consort

Executive Summary

Consort Ltd is one of the leading PVC-u manufacturers to the trade in the UK. The Server & network switch infrastructure was becoming tired. Having used Systems Assurance for well over 6 years, they approached us with a simple request; Upgrade our infrastructure including servers and switches with zero downtime.

Operating a busy warehouse and head office, their downtime windows were small but working closely with their IT team, we all felt comfortable in the task.

  • High Availability Servers
  • Maximum uptime even through power outages
  • Complete failsafe systems with maximum speed
  • Reliable, future proof design and stability
  • Simplicity, using market leading products

The Challenges

Consort’s server infrastructure had become old and vulnerable. Their network infrastructure including structured cabling had become unwieldy and unreliable.
“Tackling a job like this internally is just not on our agenda, we don’t have the time” says Jonathan Jenkins, IT Manager.

A key factor in this project was the structured cabling and network switching. A company’s infrastructure is only as reliable as the hardware it sits on and Consort’s cabling had become unreliable. This was a huge task, checking the entire structured cabling of the warehouse and head offices, re-testing existing and recently added connections. Stripping out the old and faulty connections and replacing and re-testing’ all with zero downtime.

How we helped

The project was split into phases, first Consort provided network diagrams and two of our cabling engineers attended site out of hours to test and reconfigure/repair any anomalies. Secondly our networking engineers went through each switch in turn testing throughput, bottlenecks etc. from their findings, new switching equipment was purchased and installed; Next came the server upgrade.

Existing systems were still needed, there was zero downtime, so Systems Assurance configured temporary servers to cover the workload while new servers were built and existing software and data were migrated to the new infrastructure. All line of business Apps including SQL were finally tested and made live for the changeover.

Equipment we used

HP ProLiant G9 servers running Windows Server 2012 with HP 2530-48G port Switches and don’t forget the four Systems Assurance engineers!!

The Results

A project split into three, from actual network fabric, through to network switching, server hardware, data transfer and application migration. This was an extensive project and covered the fabric from the ground up. Consort are happy with their new platforms, happy there were no disruptions and relieved there’s nothing more to do for at least 5-7 years. “Hopefully by then, everything will be in the cloud”, Jonathan Jenkins, IT Manager.

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