Bedfordshire reduce help desk calls

Bedfordshire wanted to update its existing infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows NT and Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5.

Mar 9, 2006
By David Howell

Bedfordshire wanted to update its existing infrastructure based on Microsoft Windows NT and Microsoft Exchange Server 5.5.

It was finding it increasingly challenging to manage its information quickly and securely.

It also found that its back-up processes were time-consuming and cumbersome. The force worked with Dell and Dell Professional Services to implement 18 Dell PowerEdge 2850, 6650 and 4600 servers, one Dell/EMC CX500 storage area network (SAN) and Symantec NetBackUp software product. It also migrated to Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. As a result of the project, the force has reduced the time taken to restore data from days to minutes, and cut the number of helpdesk calls by almost half.

In 2003, the force realised that its existing IT environment could not support its performance and storage requirements. Patrick Bygraves, IT technical support manager at Bedfordshire said: “We had been running a Microsoft Windows NT4 domain and a distributed Microsoft Exchange 5.5 email environment since about 1998. Aside from finding it difficult to manage, we were also experiencing significant performance issues.

Using roaming profiles was extremely inefficient, and it could take users up to 20 minutes just to log on in the morning.

“We also had a requirement to support a new county crime recording system based on the Linux operating system and an Oracle 9i database. The system needed to support at least 100 concurrent users per day who needed access to vital data as quickly as possible. With our existing infrastructure, we were not confident that we could store the data effectively, guarantee availability around the clock, or scale to meet growing data requirements in the future. We also found that with aging hardware in place, crashes were becoming a frequent occurrence.”

Bedfordshire put out a tender for a complete infrastructure refresh project. Dell came back with an original specification that was tailored to suit the force’s exact requirements. Bygraves said: “Dell Professional Services offered us a comprehensive package, including project planning, project management, hardware custom factory integration and delivery, asset tagging, migration services, training and support. We chose Dell and the project began in early 2004.”

Bedfordshire needs to ensure that it can always offer a quick and responsive service to the community in which it operates. It was therefore vital that the infrastructure refresh project made no interruption to the force’s day-to-day business.

Bygraves continued: “We needed the project to go as smoothly as possible and we took that into account when choosing a strategic technology partner to work with. The fact that Dell could customise our machines in-house, tag them, and arrange delivery to specific rooms at specific sites was very important.

“The project management Dell Professional Services offered was also excellent. The team took a proactive, consultative approach to working with us and making sure that each of our requirements were being met. They also provided us with training on how to use and manage the SAN. It was that kind of attention to detail that impressed me most.”

Bedfordshire continue to develop the new systems, and Bygraves concluded: “The Dell/EMC SAN give flexibility at a low cost. And with centralised storage management and simplified operations, we can improve utilisation across the force and give our employees 24/7 access to servers. Standardising our infrastructure and working with Dell have ensured that we’re in a strong position for the future with an IT environment on which we can depend.”

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