With the help of Eurodata Systems, Affinity Sutton has carried out a comprehensive review of its server and storage requirements in order to consolidate its technology infrastructure following its formation in 2006 from the merger of Affinity Homes and William Sutton.
Affinity Sutton, which manages 51,000 homes nationwide, engaged Eurodata to carry out a review of its IT operations and to suggest possible future solutions, including the provision of sufficient ‘head room’ to accommodate the technology requirements of further acquisitions.
Mike Yarde, director of IMS, Affinity Sutton, said, “Efficiency and effectiveness are two of our greatest concerns. As a result of our merger, our housing development programme doubled in size. Prior to the 2006 merger, our organisation was the product of previous multiple mergers during which systems were sometimes joined together rather than merged, so we often didn’t benefit from economies of scale. So when it came to this merger, involving four different domains, we realised we couldn’t simply patch them together, we had to do it properly.”
The merger has meant that Affinity Sutton has many more servers and applications to manage, while at the same time, one of the requirements of the merger was to reduce costs. Yarde added, “This meant we had fewer staff than before, which meant less resource. Added to which, we didn’t necessarily have all of the in-house IT skills required to run a larger, nationwide environment, so we needed to pull in external expertise. In the area of storage, for example, we had no-one internally with sufficient experience in virtualisation and SAN technology.”
Affinity Sutton also had considerable duplication of applications across its various operating companies, such as three different asset management systems on three separate servers, resulting in isolated ‘islands of storage’. It also planned to combine its two data centres into a single site, with a co-located data centre for back-up and continuity.
After completing its review, Eurodata presented its proposals to Affinity Sutton. These would allow Affinity Sutton to consolidate its servers through virtualisation, with the result that maintenance time and costs would be significantly reduced, as well as lowering power and cooling costs. The technology demands of future acquisitions or new services would be easily accommodated via the rapid provisioning of new virtual servers.
Yarde said, “A major reason for inviting Eurodata to undertake this review was to help us better understand our storage environment and to make it more robust. We feel that having a model in place will help to make us future-proof and put us in a stronger position to take on future mergers and acquisitions.”