Moving to a prestigious, grade-II listed building presented some challenges for Flagship Housing Group as conservation requirements restricted FHG’s ability to make structural changes to accommodate its technology infrastructure.
FHG is the largest provider of affordable homes in eastern England. With its group members of Suffolk Heritage Housing Association, Peddars Way Housing Association and Kings’ Forest Housing, FHG owns and manages over 20,000 homes and is developing more than 1000 homes each year in partnership with the Housing Corporation.
FHG’s key requirement was to find a solution to match its new office environment. The second consideration was the implementation of a disaster-recovery system that could be managed in-house, allowing them to deliver consistent ICT services to both employees and tenants in the event of planned or unplanned downtime.
Having decided to use external expertise, Colin Daine, ICT manager, FHG, said, “We chose EACS because of positive feedback from colleagues in the housing sector and the manner and speed with which our requirements were handled.”
FHG was interested in creating a virtual computing environment, with fewer physical servers, to utilise space in its new offices more efficiently. As visualising, scoping and costing a virtual environment can be difficult, EACS installed and configured VMware’s Capacity Planner as part of an information-gathering exercise.
Capacity Planner monitored and reported server activity for a month, tracking processor loads, memory usage and disk I/O activity. The resulting data was used to build scenarios and what-if models, enabling EACS to determine which applications were most appropriate for virtualisation as well as which of the current hardware platforms were suitable.
The exercise demonstrated that virtualisation would enable FHG to reduce its existing infrastructure of 48 servers to just four virtual servers and three physical servers, all using its current hardware stock. With EACS’s recommended fifth virtual server for resilience and performance, FHG’s infrastructure would fit in one cabinet for ultimate space efficiency and lower power consumption.
Colin Daine said, “The Capacity Planner project was invaluable, giving us the information we needed to plan our new server infrastructure. We have now decided to virtualise our server environment, while also adding shared storage to our infrastructure.”