Case Study North Country Leisure
Higher service levels with reduced ongoing IT costs
Customer Profile Company: Industry: Location: Users: Website:
North Country Leisure Not-For-Profit Charity UK Over 500 northcountryleisure.org.uk
Proactive remote monitoring removes IT worries Scalable solution for business expansion
North Country Leisure
No barriers to business expansion When North Country Leisure's IT services began to suffer from performance and capacity problems, a new solution had to be found. Building on an existing support relationship with Lanway, a new virtualised infrastructure was designed and implemented. NCL now has a powerful IT platform capable of supporting substantial business expansion.
"We have been very impressed by the services that Lanway has provided. They have grown into the role over time and we are now partners." Martin James, Director of Finance and Systems.
Running out of IT capacity to run user applications is a worrying prospect. When North Country Leisure began to experience performance and storage problems due to business expansion, a new infrastructure became essential. By turning to Lanway, it now has proactive support, reduced operating costs and a scalable solution. North Country Leisure (NCL) is a not-for-profit charity which manages leisure centres and services for local authorities. Established in 1998, it operates in Cumbria and Newcastle upon Tyne. Based in Hexham, NCL looks after 11 major leisure centres and other locations. NCL used to rely on two HP servers, Microsoft Hyper-V for virtualisation and Microsoft Remote Desktop Services at its head office. Applications included Microsoft Office, Omnico leisure management software and Access Dimensions accounting. A 20Mbps leased line provided internet connectivity. According to Martin James, Director of Finance and Systems, over 20 virtual servers were configured. The two physical servers were not well matched with poor failover provision alongside growing file storage concerns. "The big issue we were facing was capacity with too much traffic on the leased line. There were 500 users and it became exceptionally slow," says James.
Case Study // North Country Leisure
LANWAY HAVE OVER 25 YEARS EXPERIENCE PROVIDING COMPREHENSIVE IT SUPPORT SERVICES
Increasing Demands In order to help its hard-pressed IT manager, NCL called upon Lanway for support services in 2012. Following some essential hardware upgrades, a five-year support contract was agreed for the infrastructure and multiple sites. In April 2013, NCL added new leisure centres in Appleby and Penrith. When the IT manager left in 2014 and was not replaced, Lanway took on even more responsibility. In July that year, NCL started managing Eldon Leisure, Gosforth Pool and Outer West Pool in Newcastle upon Tyne. The extra workload exposed further problems with bandwidth, performance, resilience and storage capacity. "We wanted to improve IT services, reduce the ongoing costs and improve capacity. Ideally, we wanted the hardware located where it was easier to maintain," says James.
New Solution By this time Lanway had built up a good understanding of NCL's business. It carefully reviewed the infrastructure before making recommendations. "Lanway proposed a good technical solution within a relationship which was developing and working between the two organisations. Lanway is our IT partner." The new design ensured that performance, resilience and scalability were all covered. It consisted of a three node HP server cluster, utilizing VMware virtualisation and a Nimble Storage SAN. A fourth HP server acted as a domain controller and backup server, using technologies such as Veeam to provide backups and advance monitoring. Network connectivity involved HP switches and Cisco firewalls supporting VPN links to remote sites. As before, business applications were to be provided centrally via the internet to all locations.