Pilot Partners Case Study

Pilot Partners

The Challenge

When accounting firm Pilot Partners planned an office move to accommodate its continuing growth, it coincided with the need to refresh most aspects of its IT environment.

 

With the requirement to securely store and retain client data a pressing concern, any update needed to offer improved backup and replication as well as very high availability.

 

While the previous IBMTM servers, implemented some five years ago, had proven to be a very reliable investment, they were reaching end of life and the opportunity to embrace new technologies meant that Pilot Partners could build a base for the next era.

 

Moving to a new address in Brisbane’s premium Eagle Street meant assessing carefully how to make the most of available space. As part of the upgrade, the decision was made: the filing rooms had to go.

“We were running out of room. We had to move or do something. We elected to shift to a minimum-paper office, which meant scanning an enormous amount of archived documentation. We needed a system that would cope with this sudden increase without any impact on our daily business activities.”

Christone Connor - Prictice Manager

The Solution

Pilot Partners’ reputation has been developed through years of offering sound business and financial advice to many of Queensland’s most successful organisations. When it came to finding a technology specialist that understood their own business, the choice was easy. The Integrated Solutions team has unfailingly delivered on every project during the fifteen years it has supported Pilot Partners.

 

A fully redundant solution was designed that offered considerable server consolidation onto IBM Bladeserver H servers, with off-site replication to offer greater peace of mind.

 

A 10Gb backbone and some serious processing power also made Pilot Partners ready to implement some much needed new business applications.

 

The paperless office eliminated the need for a filing room, which with Eagle Street office space typically costing in excess of $800 per square metre resulted in a considerable cost efficiency.

Consolidation

The IBM Bladeserver H, now released as the updated PureFlex system, was an obvious choice. Not only did it offer superior networking and consolidation options, it also came out ahead in cost:benefit comparisons. In fact, 22 servers were consolidated onto six blade servers, greatly easing management burden and squeezing more value out of available resources.

 

This solution provided Pilot Partners with sufficient redundancy to run all servers on six blades, with ample capacity to accommodate growth for the next five years.

Disaster Recovery

Replication to the Integrated Solutions’ Data centre provided a faster and safer disaster recovery option. Using Veeam Enterprise Backup and Replication, Pilot Partners gained the ability to seamlessly and automatically replicate critical servers to an off-site location, eliminating human error as well as some very time-consuming daily tasks. Pilot Partners had every reason to take disaster recovery very seriously indeed.

 

“Our system had already been tested in the major floods that hit Brisbane in 2011, when Integrated Solutions stepped in to evacuate our systems and get our servers out with very little notice. We were able to continue to provide the services our clients expect and were aware that managing future risk meant building a disaster recovery option that would keep us operating, no matter what,” continued Christine Connor.

“Even if we can’t access our physical building, we can work seamlessly from anywhere. Our clients are unaware of any difference.”

Christone Connor - Prictice Manager

Paperless Environment

The move from distributed servers to a consolidated environment meant there was less hardware to manage. A considerable increase in virtual servers, though, meant that the new solution was able to handle not only the scanned archives but also the resulting new business processes. These days there is very little paper in evidence at Pilot Partners, with laborious filing tasks a thing of the past. The IBM 3400 SAN means centrally stored data is easily accessed.

 

“Client information is now available immediately, no matter where our employees are working from, meaning our service is more efficient and uninterrupted. We are no longer paying premium office space costs to store archived files and we are getting full value from every bit of floor space,” said Christine Connor.

A New Home

While the blades and backbone were installed in advance to help establish Pilot Partners’ new document management system, the remaining infrastructure was put in place prior to relocation. The office move and data migration was conducted over a weekend, with only brief, planned downtime for packing and staff briefing.

“People are shocked by how smoothly we were able to complete our move. Nothing is too much trouble for the Integrated Solutions team, who worked around the clock to ensure we were ready for business on the Monday morning. Servers, computers, phones – everything operated as it should.”