Housing association saves £500,000 by moving to a virtualised environment

Together Housing has saved £500,000 by moving to a virtualised server environment

Together Housing has saved £500,000 by moving to a virtualised server environment. The group was formed from six other associations, all with their own legacy systems. The association is responsible for more than 35,000 homes.

The group has 1,500 IT users, spread across 20 locations in the North of England. Its 300 servers are currently split between 80% virtual and 20% physical, although the number of virtual machines is steadily growing as more services move online.

As the organisation moved to a virtualised environment, different hardware kits initially made it difficult to standardise the virtual IT infrastructure, said Lee Richardson, systems manager at Together Housing. 

The association now has a mixture of VMware, Microsoft Hyper V and Citrix servers, but it will eventually move everything to VMware, he said.

“If we go out and buy 25 boxes [instead of one virtualised server], it doesn’t make sense,” said Richardson.

Back-up became an issue with the dramatic change in Together Housing's IT infrastructure, as the association eventually encompassed the whole of Northern England, said Richardson. 

Previously, back-up was done to tape, but when the organisation grew its requirements changed.  

The association opted for Veeam Backup to ensure the protection of its infrastructure as it moved towards a 100% virtual environment.

Using the software has halved back-up windows to seven hours, reduced recovery times by over 80%, and created savings of £70,000 per year in technology and consultancy costs.

“As we pushed towards a 100% virtual IT infrastructure, with the accompanying cost and flexibility benefits it brings, we needed to be certain that the applications and data on that infrastructure would be easily recoverable in the event of a disaster," said Richardson. 

"At the same time, our existing legacy products did not provide the flexibility and cost-effectiveness needed to work in an increasingly large and complex virtual environment.

“We can also recover individual files, rather than entire machines, giving greater flexibility in data protection. This has made a huge difference to our business – we are more secure in our ability to offer a consistent service to our customers, while our auditors are much more satisfied with the data protection processes we have in place.”

Photo courtesy of RuralHousingNI/Flickr

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