26 Jun 2019 | 02.46 pm
TM Blinds And Its Journey To The IBM Cloud
DNA IT Solutions helped the Dublin firm every step of the way
26 Jun 2019 | 02.46 pm
Market leader TM Blinds worked with managed services provider DNA IT Solutions to move its IT requirements to an IBM Cloud platform
T.M. Blinds Ltd is a member of the multinational Hunter Douglas group of companies since 1999. TM Blinds is the market leader in Ireland in the supply of high-quality window blinds to the retail industry. The company employs 120 people at its manufacturing site in Newcastle, Co Dublin. Operating a ‘just in time’ supply chain, TM Blinds works to a very efficient 48-hour turnaround target for inbound orders.
DNA IT Solutions has been working with TM Blinds as its IT managed services provider since 2007. Initially, TM Blinds’ IT environment was traditional, comprising all physical servers hosted on-premise. The primary technology was Novell Netware, Exchange 5.5 and Microsoft SMB server 2003, with the group ERP platform being Microsoft AXAPTA.
As the business grew and the demands around IT became more complex, with increasing importance put on no downtime and with greater security threats, DNA and TM Blinds recognised the need to evolve and utilise more enterprise-class technology. Utilising best-in-class technology for the time, DNA designed and implemented a new, highly resilient IT infrastructure using VMware for server virtualisation.
The new environment also consisted of a SAN with 10TB of storage, and a multi-node virtual machine environment with 20 virtual servers and Active Directory replacing the SMB server. This new infrastructure was hosted on-premise and was designed, implemented and managed by DNA. It was fully operational by 2012 and worked very well since being rolled out.
By 2017, the IT infrastructure was coming to end of life, and DNA sat down with the management team of TM Blinds to begin planning for what the next iteration of the IT environment would look like. Due to the scale and growing importance of IT in the business, both TM Blinds and DNA felt that cloud technologies needed to be looked at as part of the future IT strategy.
DNA presented two strategies to TM Blinds. One option continued with the existing model for IT and refreshed the infrastructure every five years or so. The second strategy looked at the cloud option and considered all the major vendors in this space.
The financial realities of operating in the cloud were considered very carefully, as this often proves to be a problem with cloud deployments. Sometimes, the costs of operating from cloud environment are more expensive than in-house. As with most organisations, ensuring a positive financial impact of migrating to the cloud was a critical point of consideration for TM Blinds.
IBM Cloud Migration
The outcome of the solution development workshop was that of all the cloud platforms, the business case for the IBM Cloud was the best option – both technically and commercially. The IBM Cloud provides world-class data centre facilities and enterprise levels of resilience and security. The entire migration process was completed in under five months and went live in January 2019.
The IT infrastructure is now operated on a purely ‘on-demand’ model, in which the IT computer power scales to whatever is required by the business, with no hardware refresh cycles and the capability to expand rapidly, without having to buy new hardware.
“Moving to the IBM Cloud gave TM Blinds more options in every sense regarding IT and made things far more efficient in the long term”, says Philip Casey, Financial Controller of TM Blinds said. “Our entire IT infrastructure is now run on an OPeX basis, so there is no waste and we are only paying for what we use, which is ideal for us.”
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