Minimising downtime through managed IT support for Blyth+Blyth

TSG replace ageing servers and implement automated backup technology for Blyth+Blyth

EngineeringThe customer

Blyth+Blyth has been in the construction industry for over 160 years. The business operates from offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London, and has recently opened an office in Elgin.

Trading since 1848, Blyth+Blyth in these early years engaged in the development of Scotland’s road and rail infrastructure and was responsible for the design of many notable works including
Edinburgh’s North Bridge, Edinburgh Waverley and Glasgow Central Railway Stations.

Blyth+Blyth remain one of the UK's foremost independent, multi-disciplinary engineering consultancies, specialising in building design, civil engineering, infrastructure and industrial project management.

"[TSG] knew that putting a massive amount of data into the cloud wasn’t necessarily the best solution for us, and instead came to us with a plan for a virtualised environment."

The customer objectives

The construction firm wanted to modernise technology throughout its offices to keep up with present and future growth plans, and increasing reliance on a robust infrastructure.

With 10 ageing servers located throughout the offices, Blyth+Blyth was mindful that the threat of system failure resulting in data loss and prolonged downtime was looming. In addition to this they still operated a dated tape backup system – a manual task for staff within each office to complete daily - not only taking up time better spent on other duties, but risking human error.

Graeme Campbell, IT Manager at Blyth+Blyth adds, “Because the backups were being run in different locations, our data was fragmented. It didn’t make sense so we knew that adopting a unified approach would be a key driver to improving our internal processes.”

The engineering consultancy firm was also looking to improve office to office connectivity; with increasing volumes of data including massive CAD files being passed through their network, it was important for them to depend wholly on the stability and security of the system.

The company invited TSG along with two other credible IT suppliers to tender for the work.

The TSG solution

TSG experts demonstrated a thorough understanding of Blyth+Blyth’s requirements. In recommending a virtual server SAN solution rather than opting for a cloud-based solution, TSG was thrust ahead of the competition and asked to complete the project.

Graeme explains, “Coming from a non-virtualised environment, it was great for us to hear the solution in its entirety from TSG, and how everything would work together. The clinch was they knew that putting a massive amount of data into the cloud wasn’t necessarily the best solution for us, and instead came to us with a plan for a virtualised environment.”

The old servers were replaced with 6 Microsoft 2012 servers to boost Blyth+Blyth’s infrastructure and its reliability which were configured in a hyper-V cluster to allow failover due to hardware failure. Adding strength to the network in terms of speed, TSG upgraded to fibre leased lines in each office providing the business with faster connection office to office, with the ability to withstand large data files.

Speaking of the fibre Graeme explains, “Fibre wasn’t actually something we’d considered. The team at TSG recommended it as part of the solution to increase the feasibility of transferring large design files around the business. The teams in different locations are working more and more closely on projects so it was important to have something like this to make their lives easier.”

The arduous backup has been replaced with an automatic system, with a backup of the whole business activating overnight without the reliance of human intervention. The backed up data is then sent automatically from the other offices to the main server based in Edinburgh to be stored centrally.

“It’s great knowing that we don’t need to rely on staff in the offices to run the backup. That was always a concern for us, and now that it’s automated, life is good!”

TSG also deployed a Microsoft DNS failover solution to reinforce Blyth+Blyth’s network. This clever technology works as a backup connection to keep their system operational, by re-routing data to an alternate endpoint without any detection. 

Sophos anti-virus software was installed to protect the network and data from threats which would ultimately cost the business time and money.

Blyth+Blyth also selected TSG’s IT support service SystemCare to protect their network against system failure and data loss. SystemCare tackles everything from day-to-day IT housekeeping to the business critical, leaving the business safe in the knowledge that TSG experts are proactively monitoring the system.

The benefits to Blyth+Blyth

With everything deployed and working together in harmony, the business as a whole is running smoothly and confidently.

New, modern servers have provided floor space once taken up with the 10 bulky machines, as well as providing cost efficiencies to the business almost instantaneously.

The centralised backup system ensures all data is continuously secure – a huge benefit and relief to the company and staff alike! In moving to an automated system they have saved time spent manually processing the backup and created a more secure environment.

The future for TSG and Blyth+Blyth

TSG is already in discussions with Blyth+Blyth to help them further improve communications across the business. They are considering Microsoft Lync which will deliver real-time collaboration to  staff helping them communicate securely and stay connected with each other and customers alike, from wherever they need to work.