Information technology should be a business enabler. When CR Mining had the opportunity to refresh their IT infrastructure, they went looking for a commercially effective approach. Teaming up with Brennan IT, CR Mining opted for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS): a solution that provided a flexible, cost efficient and whole-of-business approach to their computing needs.
CR Mining is a world leader in the design, manufacture and delivery of heavy engineering products for the mining industry, including dragline buckets, chains and conveyor equipment.
Having grown rapidly through the merger and acquisition of several companies, CR Mining created a new head- office in Brisbane while retaining nine other business sites across Australia.
For IT Manager James Mulvaney, this amalgamation presented a serious challenge, with disparate IT and legacy systems in various geographical locations needing to be streamlined, homogenised and then centrally managed.
“The merger was a chance for CR Mining to review its IT infrastructure and start again in Brisbane with a ‘greenfield’ site”. Mulvaney says. “The task was to design and develop a new and centralised solution that would support the needs of a business with a considerable geographical spread.”
With the majority of the business operating far from where business data would be stored – and the desire for a head office that was more or less ‘portable’ – CR Mining decided that investigating the benefits of an externally hosted service through a third-party provider should be top of their agenda.
“IaaS has been hugely effective on a commercial level, not only have we obtained a completely new infrastructure without considerable capital investment, but we’re also able to draw on Brennan IT’s technical expertise, support and documentation.” James Mulvaney, CR Mining.
To solve CR Mining’s IT needs, Mulvaney created an initial set of requirements before evaluating the costs of various designs.
“We examined various options around co-location and other alternatives,” Mulvaney says. “We also knew that the ability to rent infrastructure existed, but we weren’t certain of its flexibility, quality and capacity to live up to promised SLAs.”
The more he examined his requirements, however, the more appeal the concept of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) appealed. “From my perspective, the model of utility computing has always made sense,” Mulvaney says. “What I needed to be sold on was the fact that the technology was now mature enough to be used in a production environment.”
To pursue Infrastructure-as-a-Service further, Mulvaney approached Brennan IT. “We were looking firstly to prove that IaaS was the right solution and secondly that Brennan IT was the right provider,” he says.
To show that IaaS could support CR Mining’s needs, the company agreed to a six-month trial where Brennan IT would work with CR Mining to create and then test and refine a complete infrastructure solution.
By the end of the trial, CR Mining’s offices were seamlessly connected to a single, centralised infrastructure using a combination of 14 virtual servers and desktops using Citrix technology. The reliability and performance of the infrastructure convinced the company to commit to Brennan IT and IaaS for the longer-term.
“Brennan IT have been flexible and accommodating in their approach while recognising the importance of getting the solution exactly right.” James Mulvaney, CR Mining.
Mulvaney points to a wide array of benefits. “Scalability is an important benefit, but these days scalability is very much an expectation,” he says.
Instead, Mulvaney says that what’s most impressed CR Mining about IaaS is the cost model. With a fixed monthly server and per-user licensing cost model, there’s no need to worry about compliance and licensing expenses; management overheads have been dramatically reduced; and large, up-front capital expenditure avoided.
“IaaS has been hugely effective on a commercial level,” says Mulvaney. “Not only have we obtained a completely new infrastructure without considerable capital investment, but we’re also able to draw on Brennan IT’s technical expertise, support and documentation, meaning we don’t need to hire our own IT specialists and risk ‘idle time’ or pay for expensive training. The relationship with Brennan IT also eliminates the risk of losing knowledge and skills should one of our key technical staff leave.”
“Organisationally, the ultimate benefit of IaaS is that our workforce can function almost anywhere – whether remotely, at our two foundries, or any of our business sites. A centralised infrastructure has also improved our customer service and made us a more efficient operation.”
Commenting on the transition to IaaS from the company’s existing systems, Mulvaney says that the obstacles encountered were similar to those that occur in any IT change process. All were overcome and no limitations arose. The company has now been using IaaS for more than a year and plans to continue with IaaS long-term.
Asked about his experience with Brennan IT, Mulvaney says that Brennan IT have been flexible and accommodating in their approach while recognising the importance of getting the solution exactly right.
Learn more about CR Mining here.