Case Studies

HYBRID CLOUD SOLUTION PROVIDES WELCOME BREAK FOR TRAVELWEEKLY

BACKGROUND

Travelweekly is the UK’s market-leading publication for the travel industry, boasting a presence both in print and online. The publication is part of the Travelweekly Group portfolio owned by Jacobs Media Group, Europe’s largest travel and hospitality B2B media company.

Travelweekly.co.uk is the industry’s most trusted source of digital news and information, and holds an 81 per cent market share against its nearest competitor. The website is the first port-of-call for the trade, and has an increasing level of engagement with a consumer audience.

Communications are vital to the Travelweekly team. The group runs a 24-hour operation, with reporters and editors constantly on the move, chasing the industry’s biggest news and events. In this deadline-driven sector, reliable IT systems are absolutely essential to maintaining its reputation across all channels.

When Travelweekly purchased its sister title, The Caterer, the business faced a significant challenge in merging two completely separate networks to enable seamless communications throughout the group. Following in-depth discussions with its IT support partner, Utilize was asked to deliver this project via the implementation of a hybrid network infrastructure.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Several months after its acquisition of The Caterer, from an IT perspective at least, Travelweekly was still faced with two entirely separate businesses.

Each network ran its own domain and these needed to be merged in order to facilitate smoother operations throughout the group. Each network ran its own Small Business Server with users who needed access to resources on both servers, being forced to operate two separate user accounts. Management was understandably complicated.

Head of Technology, Carlos Diaz, knew that other aspects of the network infrastructure could also benefit from a more general review.

Diaz explained: “As an editorial house, having the availability and capacity for secure storage, communication and file sharing within the domain is essential. A more flexible configuration was required with a fully integrated backup and disaster recovery solution, appropriate to the storage needs of the business.”

Utilize proposed a hybrid solution with on-premise servers that would satisfy the performance requirements of a media company working with high volumes of large files. Office 365 was chosen to relocate the storage and delivery of all email to the Cloud.

 

THE SOLUTION

As a media company, the work of Travelweekly is very data intensive, so ‘on-premise’ performance was required to handle the large files being constantly accessed, edited and broadcast by users.

Over the course of two weekends, Utilize supplied and installed a SAN (Storage Area Network) connected to two physical hosts in its client’s offices, located close to London’s Victoria station. The two physical servers provide vital redundancy in running the numerous virtual machines that Utilize specified in order to optimise deployment times and improve efficiency.

These virtual machines include 2 domain controllers, 2 file servers, a Sage server, an SQL server, a WoodWing application server, a print server and a phone management system.

Next, Utilize turned its attention to the network cabling infrastructure. Due to the layout of Travelweekly’s building, the business has traditionally operated two separate comms rooms, which were connected together via a single length of category 5 cable. Utilize replaced this connection with a fibre optic link to improve the bandwidth.

From a backup and disaster recovery perspective, Utilize recommended Ignite Cloud Backup & Recovery (ICBR) with an onsite machine taking snapshots of all specified servers every 15 minutes and replicating these to a secure datacentre.

The hybrid element of this new solution was the cloud-based Office 365 software. Managed as a separate project, Office 365 was launched after a period of 2-3 weeks during which all mailboxes were migrated across to the new platform.

Carlos Diaz commented: “It may be 2016 but we are still heavy consumers of email, so a robust, secure solution like Office 365, which is easy to scale for our mobile workforce, is perfect for Travelweekly.”

 

BUSINESS BENEFITS

Head of Technology, Carlos Diaz, describes the three main benefits of the new network design as the ability to share data seamlessly throughout the entire organisation, the ease with which remote workers can now collaborate with their colleagues and “100% peace-of-mind” provided by the new backup and disaster recovery solution.

Diaz said: “Utilize provides 24-hour support to the Travelweekly Group, offering unrivalled expertise as well as valuable commercial and technical reporting. They provide great quality of service and the onsite engineers who work in our offices every day are confident, well-qualified and fully conversant with our systems.”

The Travelweekly Group now enjoys:

FIRST-CLASS IT SUPPORT

Utilize is an ISO-9001 and ISO-27001 business operating to the highest standards of custom service and data security. The Travelweekly Group now benefits from 24/7/365 support with onsite engineers providing daily system management.

100% PEACE OF MIND

The new ICBR system takes full server snapshots every 15 minutes whilst a separate backup runs to Azure for storage on a 3-month retention. The business continuity procedure has been successfully simulated and tested from Utilize’s in-house 10-seat DR suite.

SECURE REMOTE ACCESS

Many Travelweekly remote users can survive on email alone. However, an SRA device also provides a robust, secure VPN and an RDS server allows these users to access the network remotely.

SIMPLER LICENSING

Greater flexibility and scalability have been achieved with Office 365 licences, which can be added or removed on demand with the monthly subscription fee being adjusted accordingly. Version updates are automatic, so users always have access to the latest software.

SECURE MANAGED FIREWALLS

Travelweekly Group now operates 2 high availability IMFS managed firewalls for unrivalled security and redundancy.

 

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