E&I Engineering

Published:

Sector: Commercial

Services: IT Solutions, Cloud Services

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About E&I Engineering

E&I Engineering Group is the largest electrical switchgear manufacturer in the UK and Ireland. E&I offer unique in-house integrated power solutions tailored specifically to meet their clients’ requirements.  With over 30 years’ experience in the industry, the company employ 1,000 staff across four locations in Ireland, the UK, Dubai and South Carolina.  E&I Engineering have a team of highly experienced and qualified engineers spread throughout all four sites.

As a customer since 2014, Capita deliver a number of infrastructure services for E&I Engineering including hardware, virtualisation, backup and disaster recovery, networking and most recently an Office 365 migration.


The challenge

E&I Engineering’s technology estate was reaching end of life and they had identified a number of challenges including growth restrictions within the existing IT infrastructure.  They also identified a single point of failure within their network, the need for a backup solution and enterprise class shared storage which would meet their current and future requirements. E&I required a DR solution for their Donegal and South Carolina sites to secure their data and systems. They also urgently required a migration of their current Microsoft Exchange environment to Office 365.

In order to refresh and upgrade E&I’s  infrastructure, Capita delivered an infrastructure refresh, backup and disaster recovery service (to both Donegal and South Carolina sites) and an Office 365 migration.  

 

Solution  

  • Replacement of E&I’s ageing infrastructure hardware with a new high performance platform.

  • Establishment of a Virtual Environment to facilitate smooth transfer of E&I Systems from one server to another in the event of a failure.

  • Supply of professional technical services to complete above and provide knowledge transfer to the E&I team.

  • Establishment of a backup and recovery service to protect all hosted E&I configuration information and data to an agreed policy and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

  • Implementation of Disaster Recovery Solution for South Carolina and Donegal sites to help secure data and systems and deal with the implications of data loss and systems failure.

  • Provision of consultancy, planning and migration of E&I’s On-Premise Exchange 2010 to Office 365.

Capita implemented a scalable and resilient server and storage hardware infrastructure, providing a virtual platform upon which all E&I virtual servers and services will be hosted.  The solution will not only meet current requirements but includes the capacity to allow for future growth over the next 5 years.  A key requirement for E&I. 

Virtualisation software was utilised to provide a flexible virtualisation platform.  This delivers enhanced features in relation to business continuity and high availability, as physical server downtime can be reduced with automated restart of virtual machines after a physical host’s failure.

Sharing SAN storage ensures the virtual machines are available to multiple servers in the event of a failure to a single hardware host.  For critical, line of business application the virtual machines can be configured as Fault Tolerant, this enables a failover of the virtual machine running the application with no disruption of service in the event a host hardware failure occurs.

The virtualised environment also reduces downtime with regards to the operating system as the time required to build an Operating System is reduced from days to minutes through VMware included features. All virtual machines are available to manage from a single console allowing E&I Engineering to host a central management system.

Capita implemented a new storage area network (SAN), which was installed and configured to provide a shared storage platform to which each identical host servers was attached and upon which E&I virtual machines and application data will be securely stored. An additional 70% of storage capacity was implemented to host E&I’s current systems and allow for expansion.

Capita’s approach was to create a robust and effective DR solution to both the Donegal and South Carolina sites, delivering a new high performance, available and resilient, strategic infrastructure that includes server, storage and networking hardware and software as well as the introduction of Cloud Services. The solution provides minimal service disruption and downtime for the business and ensures peace of mind.

Microsoft Exchange Online is a hosted messaging solution that delivers the capabilities of Microsoft Exchange Server as a cloud-based service. The service provides E&I staff with single sign-on access to email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from PCs and mobile devices. It integrates fully with Active Directory, enabling administrators to use group policies, as well as other administration tools, to manage Exchange Online features across their environment.

Capita consulted E&I on each of the Office 365 versions before the migration, providing insight on how to maximise the potential of familiar Microsoft communication and collaboration tools, such as Outlook 2013, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint and Lync.  By subscribing to Exchange Online, E&I can now retain control over the messaging service without the operational burden of managing an on-premises solution.

In order to achieve E&I’s O365 requirements, Capita had to create an Office 365 mailbox per user and ensure email was routed through Office 365. Capita also had to ensure a fully populated and visible Global Address List was in place, ensure there was Outlook web access functionality and manage the Active Directory accounts

Capita implemented a hybrid migration approach setting up connectivity to migrate user mailboxes including email messages, contacts and calendar items.

The O365 service is accessible to E&I staff on a wide range of devices from inside and outside their corporate network therefore allowing anywhere, anytime access.  This enables E&I Engineering staff to work where and when they choose, letting them respond to important requests right away, from almost any location.    

Results  

  • Cost effective, robust solution.
  • Reduced down time - minimising business disruption and impact on business and customers. 
  • Increased end user satisfaction, meeting E&I’s objectives and requirements.
  • Scalable, resilient, flexible server and storage hardware solution.
  • Backup solution allows for fast, versatile backup and recovery of virtual machines and physical servers.
  • DR solution secures E&I’s data and systems and minimises the financial implications of data loss, system failures, and lowered/stopped productivity of the business.
  • Flexible working - employees have anywhere, anytime access to a wide range collaboration tools such as Outlook 2013, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

   

“We are extremely satisfied with the infrastructure refresh implemented by Capita. The new solution has undoubtedly reduced down time and allowed for room for growth. The backup and DR solution ensures minimal disruption to our business and migrating to the Office 365 platform allows us the agility that the business requires. We feel the Capita infrastructure solution is reliable, cost effective and gives us peace of mind that our IT estate is in good hands.”Simon Killen, Group Manager - Energy Management & IT Divisions, E&I Engineering   

 

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