Advanced data centre
With increasing numbers of businesses making the transition to hosted IT and communication solutions, independent service provider, Timico, has turned to BT to help it develop the most advanced data centre in the Midlands.
The new tier III data centre was opened in January 2012 and has enough capacity to store a high resolution digital image of everyone on the planet. This hosting space will enable Timico’s clients to upgrade or expand their IT systems quickly, effectively and securely.
One of the fastest growing privately-owned companies in the UK technology sector, Timico offers a comprehensive range of managed internet services, including fibre broadband, Ethernet, MPLS, hosting and VoIP solutions. With around 200 staff at various sites around the UK, it is also a fully licensed mobile service provider, with data networking and unified communication expertise.
Says Calum Malcolm, Group Operations Director for Timico: “We have been expanding through multiple acquisitions and have built an in-depth technical team who handle development work across networks. However, we also wanted to expand our customer base and revenues by offering Storage Area Networks (SAN), virtualisation and Cloud technologies. Cloud services represent the future for businesses of all shapes, sizes and sector – by outsourcing to us, our customers can save capital expenditure on servers and storage of their own and avoid the operating costs and challenges of managing them in-house.”
Making the most of BT's expertise
Enjoying a diverse set of skills and specialist relationships, BT was able to give Timico access to best of breed suppliers, using its in-depth knowledge of Timico’s current data platform and ongoing development strategies to inform its choice of technology.
The compute and switching platform is based on a Cisco UCS solution, which allows fast, easy deployment of managed Cloud services. Added to the platform is EMC VNX storage, which gives the robust architecture and continuity of customer service that is vital for service providers. Timico now has in-built resilience at multiple levels, with any hardware failure causing minimal impact on internal or customer operations.
Point in time recovery and encryption ensures security and integrity of data at rest, while compression and de-duplication of storage mean faster, more reliable backups for users.
By combining servers, storage and hosting in one solution and managing it in-house, Timico benefits from greatly reduced expenditure on third party hosting and lower administrative overheads. “It’s so much simpler to run,” explains Calum. “Everything is in one place, and there are fewer graphical user interfaces, which is much more efficient. We are now re-assessing our technology estate and migrating and integrating it into the new facility to make even more operational savings.”
BT has also introduced Timico to the benefits of cold aisle containment for its servers. A special corridor encloses the fronts of the machines and cold air is fed into just this part of the room - instead of trying to cool the entire area, including the warm air being expelled from the backs of the servers. It makes it easier to keep the servers from over-heating and helps Timico meet its corporate social responsibility targets by reducing power usage.
“We have learned so much by working with BT,” comments Calum. “The knowledge and technical skills that they have shared with us throughout the project have helped upskill our own people. We’ve taken our expertise to the next level, without expensive training courses, through on-the job learning. This enabled us to implement the new data centre and offer the new service to customers in a matter of a few weeks, instead of six months.
“The second phase of our project will see us offering customers Cloud services on our secure platform, with the ability to quickly scale at predictable costs. I can’t see us using anyone other than BT to get that speed of set-up going.”
As well as offering speed to market, BT’s contacts with industry-leading partners have reassured Timico that this ‘safe pair of hands’ will mitigate risk by working in partnership, whilst offering full control and visibility.
“We see this as a strategic partnership,” concludes Calum. “BT has designed a platform which takes into account our strategy, our growth plans and our product development roadmap. It’s good to know that they not only have expertise in the technology that they’ve sold to us, but also in all the other solutions we offer, so we have a partner we can turn to, to meet our customer’s needs.”
We see this as a strategic partnership. I can’t see us using anyone other than BT.
Calum Malcolm, Group Operations Director, Timico