Schrader Electronics has invested €575,000 on a technology refresh project that includes what’s said to be one of the largest Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation projects on the island of Ireland.
The company, which has its headquarters in Antrim and another site in Carrickfergus, has had a period of sustained growth and needed to refresh its IT infrastructure ahead of planned further growth in the years ahead.
Schrader makes tyre pressure sensors and demand for its products increased in 2007 when sensors became compulsory in new US cars. A similar law is due to come into force in Europe in 2014 and the company anticipates a similar spike in production as a result. Earlier this month, Schrader announced it would be investing stg£29m to create 100 new jobs following a deal signed to supply its sensors to Ford. Its Antrim facility has a highly automated production process that is heavily dependent on always-available infrastructure.
It awarded the lucrative contract to BT Ireland, which is using Microsoft Hyper-V to virtualise the data centre located on Schrader’s Antrim site. This involves consolidating 100 servers down to eight physical machines, supported by HP storage. The deal also encompasses a Cisco network upgrade, new web-based security solutions and the supply of 65 PCs.
BT had an existing relationship with Schrader, having previously supplied a range of network and communications services over several years. BT Ireland’s IT services arm will act as a single point of contact for Schrader in dealing with the various IT vendors. According to James Devlin, head of NI business sales at BT Ireland, this alleviates the need for organisations to manage multiple contracts with several different suppliers.
Schrader’s plan called for an agile and resilient IT infrastructure and BT identified virtualisation as the way of meeting that need. “Virtualisation was new to us, so we made a strategic decision to find a partner to go out and supply the hardware, configure it and implement the virtualisation software. I have been very happy with the decision to go with BT,” said Graeme Thompson, Schrader Electronics’ finance director.