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A simple cure for a dying server

Jonathan May 1, 2013 0 Comments

Arrow Digital is a small digital marketing agency based in Harrogate. “We help businesses develop their digital strategies and increase online revenues,” explains Leigh Woolard, the firm’s founder and managing director.

“That means we mainly build websites, perform search engine optimisation and run pay-per-click advertising campaigns for our clients.”

The company’s client list spans a range of organisations that run ecommerce operations, including Silver Cross, which has manufactured prams and buggies for over 130 years.

Dealing with a slow server

Like many companies, for many years Arrow Digital relied on a server-based IT system. The firm had an in-house server that was used to store key data. Each member of staff was able to access this centralised data from their own computer, via the company network.

Over time, this system became sluggish and less dependable. “Our server was getting slower and slower and our software was unreliable,” confirms Leigh. “The problems started to really disrupt our work, because some days we had to restart the server several times.”

Turning to the cloud

As it was clear the server’s days were numbered, Arrow decided to re-evaluate its IT provision. The firm had two key requirements in mind: it wanted to improve reliability and make it easier for staff to work on the move and from home.

With these in mind, Leigh approached local suppliers, including Yorkshire Cloud. After evaluating Arrow’s requirements, we proposed a system that would see Arrow move its data and applications into our cloud platform. Employees could then securely log in and access their data and software from any computer, anywhere.

“Although I’d had the idea that we might want to move to the cloud, I hadn’t seen a system like this in practice before,” describes Leigh. “The guys at Yorkshire Cloud did a really good job of explaining how it all worked, and once I saw it in action, it clicked in to place.”

Finding greater flexibility

Once he’d seen how Yorkshire Cloud functions, Leigh was sold on this new way of doing things. “I could tell straight away that the convenience was right for us. Occasionally I work from overseas, and I knew it would give me the flexibility to do that.”

With the contracts signed, our expert team began moving Arrow’s data to our cloud platform. With a project deadline never far away, it was vital to keep disruption to a minimum.

“We had to integrate four or five of our own pieces of software,” explains Leigh. “We had a few issues with one package, but as it wasn’t one that we used every day it was more important we got up and running quickly. Once everything else was sorted, Yorkshire Cloud went back and resolved the problem quickly.”

A smooth changeover

Because Arrow Digital was switching to an entirely new platform, Leigh’s staff were able to continue using their server-based system while we got everything set up.

“Altogether, it took three or four days,” confirms Leigh. “We had virtually no downtime. Yorkshire Cloud moved everything over, then we switched to the new system once it was ready.”

The new system allows Leigh and his colleagues to log in from any computer that’s connected to the internet. They always see the same thing: their desktop, providing access to the software and files they need to work. This is a standard Windows desktop – with no learning curve to speak of, Arrow was able to get straight up to speed.

Because everything runs from our central cloud servers, the firm hasn’t even had to invest in new equipment to see significant performance improvements. Arrow’s team use the same PCs as before, but now they work as terminals that connect to the cloud platform.

Ongoing benefits

“We’ve seen huge improvements in reliability,” enthuses Leigh, who doesn’t miss his old server in the slightest. “It’s a stable platform that works for us. We’ve never had a moment of downtime.”

It’s also clear that passing responsibility for system maintenance and updates to Yorkshire Cloud has lifted a significant weight from his shoulders. “It’s about efficiency,” he continues. “I had a lot of worries about IT equipment before, but now I can focus on my work.”

“The most important thing about Yorkshire Cloud is their service. They always respond quickly if something’s not right or we need extra software. That’s the greatest quality they bring. Yes, the product’s great and we don’t have any issues with it, but the service is what makes me confident we’ve made the best decision.”

 

Written by Jonathan