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Close Invoice Finance
Foundation IT help Close Invoice Finance improve its Disaster Recovery capability
With every part of Close Invoice Finance being dedicated to client facing activities improving its disaster recovery capabilities was high on their agenda.
 James Hamilton, Network Manager at Close Invoice Finance, said “We cannot afford downtime, our clients expect the very best service and that means keeping the data centre online 24 hours a  day, it’s business critical that we meet client demand. In the event of a failure or disaster beyond our control we need to be able to recover quickly.”
Close Invoice Finance used backup and replication software to protect 40 physical servers located on two primary sites; “this was not very efficient”, according to Hamilton. They looked to the marketplace to explore the alternatives, and with a small IT support team, the solution would need to be robust, reliable and easy to use.
Foundation IT was able to demonstrate, using the Dell EqualLogic SAN and  VMware, just how easily recovery could take place. Others were asked but could not replicate this with as much ease. Close Invoice Finance also discovered that the Dell EqualLogic platform offered a compelling total cost of ownership due to SAN features being included in the cost of the hardware and warranty; something that was not the case with other solutions evaluated.
“We felt Foundation IT had the experience and credentials to help us, they understood us and where others talked an overly complex story Foundation IT simplified it, they spoke our language and we liked that about them”, added James Hamilton.
Disaster Recovery – Virtualisation, the way forward
“With the help of Foundation IT Close Invoice Finance arrived at a new conclusion”, according to James Hamilton.
Originally data was backed up at the primary site in Newbury, Berkshire and then replicated to Brighton, on the South Coast. Close Invoice Finance recognised the risk associated with this but with 40 physical servers hadn’t yet
come up with a cost effective alternative. Another disadvantage in the event of recovery was that one of the IT team had to drive the 2 hour trip to Brighton to manually recover that site.
“With the new solution in place recovery takes place in a matter of a few minutes.”
James Hamilton commented, “Foundation IT helped us explore virtualisation. By virtualising our servers we could reduce them to just 6 across both sites, this dramatically increased our levels of efficiency and reduced our risk factors. In addition we are planning to move the infrastructure for both sites into co-location facilities – the move is somewhat simplified needing to move only 6 servers instead of 40. And of course there is the ‘green’ aspect, we’ve gone from 40 servers powered 24 hours a day, 365 days per year to just 6 physical servers!”
Making a difference - Foundation IT
“We felt we were working with really knowledgeable people”, said James Hamilton. “Whose expertise and dedication together with our leadership saw the project completed in less time than first anticipated.”
Much of the migration work was completed ‘out-of-hours’ to eliminate downtime, Foundation IT were on hand throughout to support the IT team as required. “I continue to be impressed with how quickly Foundation IT responds to a query or simple request, nothing is too much trouble and for this reason we continue to work with Foundation IT on upcoming projects,” concluded James Hamilton.
About Close Invoice Finance
With Offices in the UK and Ireland Close Invoice Finance offers clients a full range of flexible working capital finance facilities and cash flow solutions. These include invoice discounting, factoring, growth finance, 100% bad debt protection and International services including direct collections in more than 50 countries.
About the Client
  • Customer Profile
    ​Close Invoice Finance is part of Close Brothers Group plc, one of the City's most respected Merchant banks. Close Invoice Finance provide a full range of flexible working capital finance facilities and cash flow solutions tailored to meet
    the needs of individual clients.
  • Business Situation
    ​Close Invoice Finance’s method of disaster recovery had become more and more complicated as the data centre had grown. Replicating its 40 physical servers was time consuming and recovery times needed to be
    looked into to minimise downtime in the event of a disaster. With 150 staff across 4 sites and a small IT support team any new solution would need to be robust and easy to use.
  • Technical Solution
      • VMware VI3 Enterprise with a vCenter server (VM) at each location.
      • EqualLogic PS5000 16TB SATA iSCSI SAN array at each location.
      • 3 x Dell PowerEdge 2950 dual quad-core Intel Xeon servers at each location.
      • Cisco Catalyst 3750 switches – stacked pair at each location to isolate the iSCSI traffic.
      • Less risk, greater flexibility
      • 40 Servers reduced to 6
        2 full racks to just half a rack reducing footprint and cost dramatically
      • Significantly reducing energy costs
      • Faster restores using the SAN
      • Future proof solution​

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