News: Investment in Infrastructure

2nd November 2012
As a Exeter, Devon based IT Services company, it's easy to forget that we don't just provide IT Support for customers, but also provide a range of Hosted, Managed and Cloud Technology solutions. Many of our competitors simply provide the IT Support services, and resell other solutions or send you to third parties for the critical services you rely on. We're different and operate a diverse range of services that are critical to many of our customers.

To support this, we've a long history of investment in our infrastructure and services, and today I'm pleased to announce information about our current infrastructure upgrade project. This project is designed to let us improve the reliability of our services (we hate service issues and always look to improve matters when things go wrong), and help us add new functionality and the capability to support more services.

I'd like to share a little about some of the key areas we're investing in right now:

Security Services

One of the unsung heroes of modern networks - good security - and the ability to deal with potential security incidents is pretty important to the overall reliability of your services. After all if the services are compromised, they're likely to be unavailable. To make sure we're doing more than ever before to deal with the threat of attacks - particularly since customers rely on services such as Agility Mail and Agility Desktop more than ever before, we've invested thousands of pounds in new Firewall and Intrusion Prevention equipment - and we're rolling this out over the next few weeks.

Network Infrastructure

To keep our network operating at its best, we've always invested in high quality networking systems, and don't use consumer grade or small business network switching anywhere in our networks. We're making further investment in this area and using it also as an opportunity to restructure some of the underlying networks we have to ensure they're optimised for today's needs and removing legacy systems at the same time - this will help us deliver more robust services, and in the rare event of a problem, better troubleshoot and bring services back online.

For technically minded users, we'll be adding additional teaming and network routing failover services, adding additional VLAN technology, as well as upgrading our core switching adding new functionality and adding performance improvements. Although we're not yet able to deploy IPv6 fully, these changes will also see our firewall and security systems be IPv6 capable and ready just as soon as upstream suppliers can start delivering this to us.

Server Systems

Your business depends upon a number of server systems - for years now we've been operating Virtualised Server technology across our infrastructure. In the past few months we've been rolling out new virtualisation technology ready to serve our next generation services. We've also been purchasing, upgrading and investing in server infrastructure - adding systems with more storage, more memory and processing capability, and ensuring existing, still in service systems are receiving extra care and attention.

For the technically minded some of our improvements include migrating the bulk of our systems over to Windows Server 2012 which has recently been released. We've been testing it for some time with great success, so migrating to it will let us start offering great new benefits and vastly improved functionality to customers.

Documentation & Training

It sounds pretty uninteresting right? However we're conscious that our infrastructure today is pretty complicated in places, and has to be to support some of the services we operate. Accordingly we're putting time and effort into documentation. If you're a customer and have purchased many of our core services in recent months, you'll notice we're providing more Customer User Documentation than ever - but it doesn't stop there and we're taking extra care to ensure our internal documentation is tip-top - after all the better that documentation is, the easier it is to support you, to fix issues when they arise and ensure we have all the quirks and configurations noted down.

This includes reviewing all of our historical documentation, removing out of date information, double checking all other information for accuracy and restructuring our data and documentation to ensure that it's easier to find and understand how our systems work for the benefit of everyone, including customers.

Redundancy, Failover and Availability

They're big words in IT and something that can be very difficult to achieve. Overall we've always enjoyed pretty reliable services in the main, but unfortunately there have been a few exceptions to this. That's not something we're happy about - and we know our customers aren't either. That's why we're putting a huge effort into this upgrade - a key part of our plan has been to ensure that we consider how we can improve all 3 aspects of this, and I'm very pleased to say that this upgrade will result in huge improvements in these areas in real, noticeable ways for our customers.

We take the reliability, robustness and performance of our services seriously, so we're going to continue to invest in our systems - we've been testing many aspects of the changes for some time. We've completed the first 2 phases of our internal systems upgrades and use the same technology.


Update: You can read about the specific works happening on Nov 7th-12th here.


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