This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Record.
EBC Brakes is a world leader in the manufacture of brake components. Headquartered in the UK, the firm also has a manufacturing base in Las Vegas. Employing 400 people worldwide, rapid expansion has established EBC as a world leader in sport, high performance and race brake pads and discs/rotors.
A product range with over 33,000 variations makes timely dispatch and accurate recording of current stock critical to its operation, but with the company’s existing systems this was proving a challenge. “We were seeing growing problems for our US based colleagues in accessing data and applications hosted on our private cloud in the UK,” explains James Hallett, group CEO at EBC Brakes. “This was creating an operational challenge and a threat to maintaining the customer service excellence that we pride ourselves on. It could take up to 30 seconds for one of our handheld scanners used by the Vegas team to connect back to the database; this was slowing dispatch and increasing our costs.”
After analysing the challenge, Bimotech – a managed service provider that works closely with EBC Brakes – concluded that a hybrid solution combining both private and public cloud could help to optimise performance. They approached GCI, as one of only ten Microsoft accredited cloud service providers in the UK that can deliver Microsoft Azure for both direct and indirect channels.
John Higgins, managing director at Bimotech explains: “We were eager to access all the advantages of Microsoft Azure from a trusted partner but needed consolidated billing and a single support contact. We wanted to work with a trusted partner that would help to make the potentially complex, simple.”
Microsoft’s data centre in California is only a few hundred miles from the client’s site in Las Vegas and provided an ideal option to address the latency challenge of accessing private cloud 8,000 miles away in the UK.
The Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud solution has greatly improved performance. “We have been able to ensure international connectivity, infrastructure resilience and instant scalability without building a data centre or the headache of managing physical IT equipment,” explains Hallett. “The delay in dispatch scanning has gone away with a resultant improvement in our customer service and operational efficiency.”
“The ability to work with GCI to deploy Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines is a real competitive advantage for us moving forward,” concludes Higgins. “We can now deliver flexible deployments and hybrid cloud hosting solutions that best meets our clients’ operational needs.”