Hedge fund firm invests €150,000 in virtualisation strategy

29 Mar 2010

A Dublin-based hedge fund has invested €150,000 in the deployment of a fully virtualised IT infrastructure and disaster recovery system from IT Focus which eliminates the risk of business outage and reduces the overall risk to the business.

Centaur was founded by Karen Malone, Ronan Daly and Eric Bertrand and began operations in September 2009 to provide a professional fund administration service to hedge fund managers and their investors. The company employs 10 people at its offices in Dublin and has plans to grow the business on a selective basis over the coming years.

“Starting a new company with a clean sheet of paper gave us the opportunity to ensure we had the most up-to-date technology infrastructure in place to support our business now and in the future”, explains Malone, managing director of Centaur.

“We placed a lot of emphasis on ensuring we had the right technology resources to advise, implement and support our business plans.

“It made sense to outsource this to a company who understood our industry and who would provide us with a broad range of skills. Given the importance of client service in our business, we chose IT Focus as our outsourced solution provider as we found them to be very client focused, responsive and professional in our dealings with them.”

The work of Centaur and IT Focus

IT Focus worked closely with Centaur to establish an IT strategic plan, which allowed for increased efficiency, flexibility and responsiveness whilst also meeting the needs of the business.

IT Focus installed the infrastructure on a complete virtualisation model using VMWare and VMware View by implementing 10 virtualised servers on a fully redundant platform, as well as implementing virtualised desktops running on HP thin clients.

IT Focus worked with Centaur to integrate its recovery infrastructure into the company’s high connectivity network to its hot site using technology from ResQ, VMWare, HP, Kaseya EndPoint Security and Microsoft.

This provides the infrastructure to allow online replication for Centaur’s email, servers and applications by mirroring them to a hot site location based off site which, each night, provides an incremental back up for the system state of the remaining servers and rebuilds an updated image of same in the hot site.

The implementation of the infrastructure also included the successful integration of the core business applications (SunGard Investone Enterprise for Fund Accounting and HWM Mantra for Investor Services).

“The implementation of VMWare View, desktop virtualisation, is highly innovative and is at the forefront of the technology curve”, explains Neil Stone-Wigg, chief technology officer at IT Focus.

“It places Centaur in an enviable position where they can now embrace the full benefits and reduced total cost of ownership from this solution”.

The next phase for Centaur is straightforward as its grows its business, as it can simply utilise the technology it has invested in to seamlessly support many more users with no associated growth pains.

“The real time, online replication of our data allows us to respond quickly and to access our network remotely. If our primary servers were to go down, we have the security of knowing that switching to our disaster recovery environment will allow users and clients to experience minimum disruption times,” Malone added.

By John Kennedy

Photo: Karen Malone, managing director, Centaur; Neil Stone-Wigg, CTO, IT Focus; Eric Bertrand, director, Centaur; and Edel Creely, managing director, IT Focus

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years