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Server refresh for a large, historic country estate

Our client operates an extensive, highly successful business. Including forestry, farming, commercial sites, business parks, residential home letting and building projects. The company is one of the largest businesses in the region and has complex IT and communication needs.

The problem

The company’s servers were reaching their limits. Performance was becoming slow and unreliable. There were issues with poor data access and remote access, and there was no comprehensive disaster recovery system.

The estate management team wanted a solution that would include all staff, many of whom in remote rural locations. The new network would also allow them to achieve corporate consistency. As well as the standardisation of documents used internally and sent out to clients.

The Alchemy Cloud solution

The initial stage involved installing a fibre connection to significantly upgrade the speed and reliability of their internet connection.

The client had no services in the cloud at this point. They did however agree to our suggestion to migrate their email from the small business server into Microsoft Office 365. This provided a stable, accessible, scalable and cloud-based email solution. People now have a single sign-on – they log on to their PC and are automatically authenticated into their email.

A realistic and effective solution

We understood that, given some of the substantial files they needed to access and share, a total cloud solution was inappropriate.

This resulted in a cost-effective hybrid solution – vastly improved email services in the cloud, along with specially built, rack-mounted servers housed in a dedicated, secure, air-conditioned room.

Improved data access across the company

To improve access to applications by remote workers, we built a virtual terminal server. This provided high-speed, high bandwidth access to applications hosted on the network – such as the accounts package, Qube. The server acts as a desktop, providing staff with all the functionality they would expect to find on their PCs.

VOIP and Sharepoint

Another major enhancement was to work with a telecoms supplier to install a VoIP phone system. By routing phone calls over the internet, the company saved a significant amount of money. Especially when compared with their old, traditional phone system.

We also introduced SharePoint, which is hosted within Office 365, to provide a secure, cloud-based intranet. Staff can use a web browser on to log-in from anywhere and access their data. SharePoint also allows staff to store and share documents, work on documents together and access many different types of information.

Reliable disaster recovery

On another part of the site, we have designed and implemented a second, fibre-connected, rack-based server which runs a replicated offline copy of their main server. So if there is a disaster, the company network, and the company, could be back up and running within minutes.

Future developments

The client is delighted with the enhancements we’ve introduced, and we are continuing to plan an extensive range of future projects. These include expanding SharePoint services, the creation of a Customer Relationship Management system and the introduction of other elements of Office 365, including Lync which will allow everyone to come into meetings, via mobiles, tablets, PCs and phones, at any time, from any location.