​eSure case study

BT provided Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for eSure, a telephone and internet insurance company.

Even before its fifth birthday eSure gained one million customers, and it has since become one of the leading private motor insurance companies in Britain. To stay competitive it is always seeking new ways to improve customer service, and the delivery of this lies in the back office support.

With technology being so important to a business’ development, a pilot project was identified to assess the value of a wholly centralised system. “I was specifically keen to reduce local support issues for esure’s offshore developers,” says Glynn Edwards, the Infrastructure Development Manager for esure.

A group of 35 web developers and system testers were uploading their work overnight onto the esure servers. Due to issues with the technology the team could not make any amends until the uploading process was complete. Latency was a concern because it introduced a high cost of sale - UK employees could not readily access the intellectual property, meaning that valuable customer information was not immediately available.

esure set up a competitive tender to find the best solution and service offering. “It was obvious to me that the BT team could deliver. They completed a detailed review of our existing infrastructure and desktop environment and followed up with a workshop for our engineers to make sure the solution was workable,” says Edwards.

Chosen for its ability to run on less hardware than other systems, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure from VMware delivers measurable power and cost savings. esure’s solution incorporates a full model HP MSA and is initially scalable to 60 users, although it can easily be expanded using additional servers, disk-space or licenses.

The slimline server configuration (3 x HP ProLiant DL380 servers and VMware ESX 3.0.2 sp1) provides advanced management features and is continuously monitored by VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, a product that intelligently aligns the system to suit esure’s business needs. This connects to an HA enabled cluster, ensuring automatic system and application recovery is possible in the event of system failure.

When a server failed during the early stages of the project, this was put to the test. “Thanks to the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure another server kicked in immediately so we suffered no downtime and it was a case of ‘business as usual’,” says Edwards.

“We’ve now got a slim-line scaleable solution that’s not only built for disaster recovery but hits our key objective of allowing UK employees to access the web designers’ intellectual property from a central datacentre at any time. BT provided excellent consultancy and delivered even better results; it may just be that this pilot could turn into a company wide project in future,” concludes Edwards.

Geared for Disaster Recovery

Chosen for its ability to run on less hardware than other systems, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure from VMware delivers measurable power and cost savings. esure’s solution incorporates a full model HP MSA and is initially scalable to 60 users, although it can easily be expanded using additional servers, diskspace or licenses. The slimline server configuration (3 x HP ProLiant DL380 servers and VMware ESX 3.0.2 sp1) provides advanced management features and is continuously monitored by VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, a product that intelligently aligns the system to suit esure’s business needs. This connects to an HA enabled cluster, ensuring automatic system and application recovery is possible in the event of system failure.

When a server failed during the early stages of the project, this was put to the test. “Thanks to the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure another server kicked in immediately so we suffered no downtime and it was a case of ‘business as usual’,” says Edwards. “We’ve now got a slim-line scaleable solution that’s not only built for disaster recovery but hits our key objective of allowing UK employees to access the web designers’ intellectual property from a central datacentre at any time. BT provided excellent consultancy and delivered even better results; it may just be that this pilot could turn into a company wide project in future,” concludes Edwards.

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