Vision and purpose
Working without limits
Marson Fabrics is an established textile merchant and design company based in London. It works closely with customers to supply material that meets their very specific needs for both quality and design. Fabrics are sourced from, among other places, China, and Turkey. Marson Fabrics offers an attractive combination of local design and control, with efficient international sourcing. An increase in international trading means Marson Fabrics needs to work flexibly. Staff require easy access to their systems and data whether in the office, at home, or abroad. Head office relocation provided the ideal opportunity for Marson Fabrics to review its systems, it called in Network Interlinks to help.
The business challenge
Increased flexibility, simpler, safe backups
In addition to enabling staff to work seamlessly from anywhere in the world, Marson Fabrics has a design team that creates large graphic files, these files need to be accessed rapidly while being easily stored and reliably backed up. Alister Heath, financial director at Marson Fabrics says, “Backups were running all night and hadn’t finished in the morning. Data recovery under test conditions was proving to be a challenge when using backup tapes.”
Business need and cost parameters
In addition they also wanted to replace their desktop PCs and upgrade software such as Windows, Microsoft Office and Exchange to newer releases. Alister explains, “Our decision was really driven by business need and we just had to find a solution within reasonable cost.”
Better cash management
While offering better access and more flexibility, systems also needed to simplify the budgeting process and enable improved cash management.
Although the initial project focus was to reduce the amount of office space used by technology hardware, which is a significant benefit and cost saving, quite a number of other benefits are delivered by the solution and the improved information flow that it brings.
Reduced costs, enhanced continuity
The smaller on-site comms room reduces the power and air conditioning requirement, helping to lower overall costs. Hosting in the Cloud ensures that systems are available 24/7 and that data is properly backed up — providing greater levels of business continuity and disaster recovery. It also removes the reliance on tape-based backup solutions, which had become difficult to manage as data levels grew.
Lower capital expenditure
The new approach also means that there is now no need for large scale capital expenditure on new and replacement equipment. This simplifies the budgeting process and improves cash management as Alister explains, “It does make it easier having a regular monthly cost rather than some big capital expenditure. It evens things out, making planning and cash flow easier and when budgeting we know exactly what our costs are going to be.”
No nasty surprises
When commenting on the costs of the project Alister went on to say, “The project came in exactly on budget. There have been no nasty surprises. Network Interlinks were very competitive and compared to some of our other suppliers their costs are very reasonable.”
A reliable partnership
Another benefit for Marson Fabrics was the certainty that came from a long term partnership. “We have been using Network Interlinks for 15 years. We know them and they’ve never let us down” says Alister.
The best of both worlds
A hybrid solution using a hosted Cloud environment with the addition of some on-site capacity was proposed by Network Interlinks. Marson Fabrics’ Microsoft Exchange system and enterprise applications were migrated to the Cloud, including Mertex, the company’s ERP solution. These applications were then delivered internally and externally to users via Citrix XenApp thin client technology, a platform that Marson Fabrics already knew well. “We have used Citrix for over 10 years so were already used to accessing remote applications” commented Alister.
Integrating valued applications
Although Mertex was a legacy application, Network Interlinks was able to integrate it into the Citrix environment, taking advantage of the improved availability of the platform. At the same time they were able to upgrade the version of Exchange to deliver both performance and functional enhancements to the business.
Intelligent file storage
In order to manage large graphic and image files produced by Marson Fabric’s design team and the company’s document management system, on-site servers and storage were also deployed. This on-site capacity is driven by the need for this data to be stored and accessed without using up valuable bandwidth, reducing the need for expensive connectivity.
Simple, reliable back up
On-site data is both replicated to the Cloud environment and to mirrored storage appliances located at the company’s warehouse in Harlow. All servers and data based in the Cloud are protected by regular snapshots which are incrementally transferred to the provider’s back-end storage. This removes the need for tape backup. Alister says, “The solution is very easy to use. It’s quite seamless”.