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FUTURESOURCE: JOURNEY TO THE CLOUD
Futuresource Consulting delivers specialist research and consulting services, providing knowledge, experience and accuracy that supports their customer’s decision-making processes. Amongst other research methodologies, Futuresource uses intelligent web crawling spider technology that collects invaluable data, allowing them to deliver in-depth analysis of market trends and forecasts. This data is then collated and delivered to customers as intelligent and comprehensive business reports.
Futuresource Consulting took the decision that in order to achieve a stable and long term platform, the best strategy to move the business forwards would be to implement a hosted server solution alongside a refresh of their existing network. This new platform would provide Futuresource with the flexibility and scalability required to accommodate future growth, whilst improving the service provided to their existing customer base on a daily basis.
Following extensive quantitative analysis, Hosting Techniques Ltd (HTL) was selected as the optimum hosting solutions provider. This decision was taken because Hosting Techniques was able to provide the most relevant all-encompassing solution, including ongoing maintenance and long-term technical support as part of a strategic partnership.
HTL proceeded to design and implement a resilient cloud-based solution, designed specifically to cope with and exceed the demands that the web crawling software placed on the Futuresource network.
As part of the project, HTL installed a dedicated and private high speed fibre connection alongside an Ethernet first mile (EFM) backup line. These two lines were made of different materials (fibre and copper), delivered by different line providers, and configured to be fully resilient, meaning that if connectivity on one line failed for any reason, Futuresource would fail over to the other line transparently, effectively avoiding downtime. This solution allowed the Futuresource office to be connected directly to the HTL datacentres around the clock, providing a resilient and reliable connection.
In addition to the point to point connectivity solution described above, as part of a relocation to new larger offices, Futuresource engaged HTL to implement a comprehensive new wired and wireless office network, in order to improve reliability even further.
The combination of these changes ensured that the Futuresource user-base gained high speed connectivity to the five virtual servers that Hosting Techniques host for Futuresource’s core business information systems. A further 12 hosted and clustered SQL servers were also added to the network that were dedicated to running the critical web crawling spider software. In addition to this, all systems hosted in the Hosting Techniques datacentres and the users at the Futuresource offices are all protected by the managed, highly available and next-generation UTM firewalls deployed at the perimeter of the Hosting Techniques environment.
Whilst the main focus of the engagement between Futuresource and Hosting Techniques was to improve connectivity and application performance, by working together over a number of years, a strategic partnership has been formed allowing Futuresource access to the engineering and support resources of Hosting Techniques. By using Hosting Techniques as a trusted advisor, Futuresource has ensured that maximum value and leverage is always gained.
THE RESULTS >>>
Futuresource now has access to a private, stable and highly resilient platform of latest generation computing that allows them to provide their clients with the best possible service for both critical cash generating applications and internal business systems. The transparency of the system also provides Futuresource with clear and insightful reports that show how the network is functioning around the clock.
Due to the fluid nature of the hosted solution, Futuresource has the flexibility and agility to respond to changing client demands, and can quickly spin up new virtual machines within HTL’s datacentre whenever they are required, giving maximum business agility.
Hosting Techniques continues to provide comprehensive round the clock technical support on the hosted platform that, if omitted, would cause operational impact due to lack of resource internally. In addition, Futuresource has access to a dedicated account manager, and regularly conduct review meetings to ensure that service levels are maintained for all systems.
As Futuresource continued to grow, it faced issues with its network and computing capabilities. This was due in part to aging hardware and physical on-site servers that couldn’t cope with the strain of additional bandwidth requirements, as their client base continued to grow. This strain resulted in poor resiliency which caused unstable network performance overall. As the Futuresource suite of solutions is dependent on its software, resolving these existing challenges swiftly whilst preparing for future business growth was key.
After several years of working together in a strategic partnership, HTL continues to provide me with the tools needed to optimise our client engagement based on a stable, high performance platform. This has allowed me to focus on the strategic side of my role associated with software development, and less on the platform on which it runs.
Khurram Ramzan, Systems Support Manager at Futuresource
To discuss a hosting solution tailored exactly to your business needs, contact the team at Hosting Techniques.
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