This article first appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of The Record.
Keen to automate IT tools, proactively monitor hardware and streamline software distribution, the UK’s City of Wolverhampton Council invested in Microsoft System Center. To maximise its use and introduce a Microsoft Azure hybrid cloud model, the council enlisted the help of IT automation specialist PowerON, which also created a bespoke cloud management appliance (CMA).
“We have a solid reputation for the quality and simplicity of our service, and for offering an assured outcome to our customers, which really resonated with City of Wolverhampton Council,” comments Steve Beaumont, PowerON’s product development director, and a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. “The council is under pressure to make its budgets go as far as possible and was facing challenges with legacy systems. Using Microsoft Hyper-V provided flexibility between on-premise and cloud computing resources and when this was combined with the reliability and security of Microsoft Azure and our CMA, it created an unrivalled solution.”
PowerON incorporated Operations Management Suite for cloud backup, disaster recovery and log analytics, as well as Enterprise Mobility Suite for hybrid management of mobile devices.
“We delivered a fully functioning version of System Center, via our CMA, in just over two weeks, which was much less than the 90 days the council initially estimated it would take,” says Beaumont. “We were then able to roll out Windows 10 faster than any other desktop refresh in the council’s history. The whole system, which runs on Windows Server 2012 R2, is now completely scalable through Microsoft Azure and can support up to 20,000 managed devices per appliance. Our success at City of Wolverhampton Council is now a blueprint for local authorities and we’re already implementing similar systems at other councils throughout the UK.”
According to Paul Dunlavey, the council’s enterprise manager, PowerON’s agile and flexible approach made it an ideal partner.
“PowerON made adopting the cloud an easy process and the speed it took to build the infrastructure, which had previously been a barrier to adopting these technologies, resulted in major cost savings against our initial forecast of how long it would take do in-house,” he explains. “Ultimately it has transformed the way the whole council works, and has reduced the size of both our primary and secondary data centres, which has generated office space and further savings. Importantly, it has also paved the way for the council to migrate larger systems to the cloud and within two years, the aim is to have all primary business applications running from the cloud.”
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