Codestone takes Virgin Management on journey to the cloud

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Codestone has successfully migrated Virgin Management Limited’s IT infrastructure to its Cloud IaaS platform. The new cloud offering provides the organisation’s 200 users with a new centralised, resilient and scalable platform via Citrix XenDesktop, with a full failover disaster recovery (DR) plan, deliverable to any device or user, expanding flexibility whilst reducing management costs.

“Right from the start Codestone understood our challenges and requirements and displayed a pragmatic and experienced approach to designing and building a suitable solution. They understood our key areas of risk and had the experience and knowledge to be open to options and exploit opportunities,” explained Terrie Kennedy, IT Director, Virgin Management Limited. “Codestone has a structured approach to project delivery including a provision of a detailed Project Definition Document, which provided us with a clear scope and delivery objectives and level of expectation.”

A decision to relocate its UK Head Office in Brook Green, London, to a new corporate HQ situated in the Battleship building near Paddington, prompted Virgin Management Limited, a subsidiary of Virgin Group Ltd., to evaluate its IT requirements. Virgin Management Limited users are extremely mobile and need to access the network from both company and personal devices, ranging from laptops, PC’s and Macs, to thin clients and tablets from locations around the globe. Therefore, it needed a fully flexible solution that allowed for expansion and contraction with limited upfront costs and maximum agility – ideally, an ‘Anywhere Office’ solution.

Following in-depth consultation with Codestone, Virgin Management Limited decided that a cloud-based Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform would provide the best value and performance to the business and its users. Built on best of breed technologies, including Dell servers, EMC SAN’s and VMware vSphere hypervisor technology, the Codestone Cloud IaaS platform provides high performance, reserved compute power on a shared or dedicated basis. A 99.99% uptime SLA is provided and supported by the platforms ability to sustain multiple points of simultaneous failure – without causing system downtime to Virgin Management Limited.

To enable users of any supported device to use instant messaging, video conferencing and IP telephony, Codestone designed and implemented a new Microsoft Lync server platform. It also migrated the existing Blackberry Enterprise Server to the new system for on-going Blackberry device management. Virgin Management Limited data is now replicated to a resilient data centre and key workloads are protected by VMware’s Site Recovery Manager (SRM).cloud_banner

Codestone also replaced the existing Dropbox solution with Citrix ShareFile, allowing users to access their files from anywhere and work on or offline. It additionally provides file sharing capabilities for group collaboration and enables offline caching of files and helps with auditing and reporting, which is essential to the organisation. As an additional security layer, Codestone decided to integrate a two-factor authentication solution. This ensures that any compromise of a user’s password does not result in a compromise of security.

As support and managed services were of high priority on all central systems in the cloud, and also to Virgin Management Limited users based in London, Geneva, New York and British Virgins Islands, Codestone mapped out a comprehensive support solution for all IT assets and end users including on site Codestone support running in parallel with Codestone’s round the clock UK-based IT service desk – SystemSure 24/7/365.

“Our approach was designed to mitigate risk with the office move to Battleship, as the platform could be built in parallel to the office refurbishment and so minimise disruption to the business by keeping all legacy systems in service during the build phase,” explained Jeremy Bucknell, Managing Director, Codestone. “We carried out a staged approach to the cloud migration project, making it achievable in manageable steps and using a single ‘Gold Build’ Citrix desktop image to deliver all user applications and services.”

With a stable and robust platform in place, the Codestone solution has enabled the management team to focus more on strategy and business rather than worrying about IT operations.

“We received a high standard of service on the project in terms of development work and flexibility. The ‘can do’ attitude meant that we achieved our transition in a very timely manner and with minimal business disruption. The transition fully supported our strategy to move to a flexible working environment,” said Kennedy. “There were no major disruptions to our systems during the migration of our mailboxes and enterprise vault, or during the implementation of new services such as MS Lync for our telephone systems, which was essential for the business to continue operating at the required level.”

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