By designing and deploying a new virtualised IT infrastructure for Moore Stephens Nathans, MJ Flood Technology has helped this leading accountancy practice to reduce its carbon footprint, significantly cut IT management and hardware costs and improve service levels to users.
An office move to new premises coupled with significant company growth provided the catalysts for a new IT infrastructure for Moore Stephens Nathans, Philip O’Shea, IT manager with the company, explains. “We take the view that IT is mission-critical for our business. As our IT footprint continued to grow at an exponential rate, it was clear that fresh technology investment was required. We needed a platform which would provide us with the scale and flexibility to support either organic or acquisition-led business growth into the future.”
With 123 users spread across Dublin and Cork, Moore Stephens Nathans originally had 21 servers running many applications, including their mission-critical practice-management software. This had increased by 12 servers in just three years, driven by application vendors mandating that single servers be allocated to each separate application. In parallel to this, data growth had more than trebled in that time, up from 150Gb in December 2005 to 500Gb in December 2008.
Virtualisation = simplification
Using a capacity planning methodology, technical staff at MJ Flood Technology identified that most servers were only running at 5-15pc of their capacity – a hugely inefficient use of computing resources. A network re-design was undertaken and using industry-leading technology from VMware, technical staff consolidated the number of physical servers from 21 to just three server blades housed in a single chassis.
In line with this, a 3.6 Terabit Storage Area Network was deployed, providing plenty of growth capacity and meeting the practice’s regulatory requirements. Centralised backup, together with offsite disaster recovery, is designed to ensure the company’s most precious business assets are protected and available at all times.
“Virtualisation has delivered a number of benefits to Moore Stephens Nathans,” according to James Finglas, managing director with MJ Flood Technology. “Ongoing IT administration overheads have been reduced and we estimate that energy consumption will be slashed by up to €80,000 over the next five years. The IT footprint has also been reduced significantly and the entire infrastructure is now housed in half a rack as opposed to the server sprawl of 21 separate devices.”
‘Always on’ email connectivity
Moore Stephens Nathans has made an important addition to its infrastructure by choosing the Mimecast service – a cloud-based unified email management system which provides continuity, archiving and email filtering. “Email is the lifeblood of our day-to-day business,” comments O’Shea. “Mimecast guarantees the integrity of email traffic with sophisticated email and spam filtering. And in the unlikely event of service disruption, email traffic is seamlessly routed through the Mimecast service with no downtime for users and no degradation in service levels.”
The power of visual communications
Moore Stephens Nathans also took the decision to deploy a videoconferencing solution between the Dublin and Cork offices. Running across a high-bandwidth, IP-based broadband infrastructure, the solution drastically cuts travel costs and boosts staff productivity. Sharp picture quality and crystal-clear sound provides a “virtual” office experience for staff, allowing them to complete tasks without the need to travel.
At a Glance
Company: Moore Stephens Nathans
Industry: Accountancy practice
Customer profile: With offices in Dublin and Cork, Moore Stephens Nathans is currently ranked among the top 15 accountancy practices in Ireland and in 2008 reported fee revenue of €11m. Employing 123 people, the company recently joined Moore Stephens International, one of the largest international accounting and consulting groups, with 647 offices in 98 countries.
Business challenge: The occasion of an office move coupled with significant company growth prompted a complete IT infrastructure technology refresh.
- Virtualisation of the network infrastructure using VMware, reducing the number of physical servers from 21 to three.
- 3.6 Terabit Storage Area Network providing a scalable repository for the company’s data.
- Centralised and secure backup and off-site disaster recovery.
- Video-conferencing solution between Dublin and Cork sites.
- Cloud-based unified email management system with full email continuity, filtering and archiving.
- Projected energy savings of up to €80,000 over a five-year period.
- Reduced carbon emissions in line with the company’s “green” policy.
- Smaller IT footprint and space requirements with plenty of scope to grow.
- A more manageable IT infrastructure with easy addition of servers and applications.
- A boost in staff productivity coupled with reduced travel costs.
- High email application availability with 100pc uptime for users.
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