Meloney Metalcraft

Posted on: 8th Aug 2014

90 days and counting…

A newly divested company. An exciting future. An immediate IT challenge: build an enterprise-grade infrastructure – from the ground up – in three months.

A closing widow of opportunit

As part of a global business Walsall-based Maloney Metalcraft had relied on its US parent for its IT infrastructure and applications for over a decade but with its divestiture in 2013 all that changed.

The firm had just 90 days from date of sale to create, from the ground up, an enterprise-grade IT infrastructure able to take the newly formed business forward. Continuity of service was key for users. Reliability and scalability, and continuity of existing services were the company’s requirements.

There was little room for error. Three months after the divestiture date the MPLS connection to the parent network would be switched off: whether Maloney was ready or not.

From Challenge to Solution

Some 12 months before “d-day” Maloney’s head of IT, Chris Preece, sat down with NTS consultants to design the new independent network, and to plan migration strategy.

“Having worked with NTS on past projects I knew I could rely on their objectivity and expertise,” said Preece. “This matters because when you’re building IT from scratch you need people who don’t just “get” the technology, but who can be relied upon to deliver to timescales and budget.”

If the objective was straightforward – to build an IT infrastructure as good, if not better than, the one Maloney was losing – achieving it within the given time would be anything but.

The newly divested business needed to hit the ground running. Its 60 plus employees, many of them mobile, needed uninterrupted access to the applications and services they had previously enjoyed: from the engineers and sales consultants through to administration and finance department.

It wasn’t just the data. Previously, all Maloney’s telephony services had been handled through a centralised Cisco Call Manager over in Houston, with a Microsoft Lync deployment offering unified communications services. An alternative needed to be found.

The new network

Working together, client and consultant built a clear plan.

It began with developing a test environment for the network on a virtualised VMware vSphere infrastructure. This was then converted to the production environment based on Microsoft Server 2012 and Exchange 2013 – alongside an existing server re-commissioned with ESXi to create a highly available resilient VMware cluster. Next generation Cisco ASA 5515x firewalls in high availability at the edge of the network, and the latest in Cisco layer 3 switching, complemented the solution.

The presence of the virtual infrastructure allowed for the deployment of the latest virtual Wireless LAN Controller to utilise all existing access points to: moving away from a previously difficult to manage, autonomous setup.

To support Maloney’s telephony requirements, NTS recommended a Cisco Business Edition 6000. This would address Maloney’s need for future proofed, scalable communications – injecting new levels of collaboration (and cost saving) across the business with Cisco Jabber.

Delivering value in 90 days

The planning paid off. Maloney’s new network was delivered on time and in budget. The milestones were hit, and migration carried out seamlessly within the 90 day window.

And while an independent Maloney is now a smaller business, its infrastructure and communications network deliver the kind of scalability and functionality usually reserved for global enterprises many times its size – on a two-server VMware vSphere cluster.

The softphone and presence functionality of Cisco Jabber delivered by the Business Edition 6000 has streamlined communication throughout the business, while VPN access has dramatically reduced the international telephone bill. Engineers in Abu Dhabi or Brazil now connect over WiFi and circumvent crippling roaming charges.

But for Preece the biggest benefit has been the smallest impact – on his users:

“Throughout the testing, production and migration phases our people experienced little or no disruption. We managed a Zero Downtime Migration, with users now enjoying even more functionality than before. Without NTS being there within every step of the process, this migration would not have run as smooth as it did. It is great to work with a partner who can understand not only our technical needs, but our business needs as well. We look forward to involving NTS in many other projects going forward as a new independent business.”

NTS continues to support Maloney through a dedicated support contract, and is helping to drive further efficiencies and cost savings as this ambitious business continues to expand.

– ends –

Maloney Metalcraft is a designer and fabricator of high quality, high specification process equipment for the global oil and gas industry, with a heritage stretching back over a century.

Based in Walsall, UK, and employing over 60 people, Maloney provides a one stop shop design and manufacturing solution to some of the largest and most innovative energy brands on the planet.