One of the developments of SYHA

In December 2019, the South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) moved to a new head office in the center of Sheffield. It wasn’t just his old home that SYHA had grown too big, however. He was also past his computer. “As the business changed and grew, so did the technology. We have been left behind a bit. We were trying to work in a modern way with old technologies, ”explains Adam Collin, IT manager at SYHA.

SYHA’s managed network infrastructure was the subject of several contracts with external suppliers, all of which had to be renewed. SYHA’s IT had also been centered on a single server room in its old offices; its obsolete hardware had served as the primary data center and primary Internet router for SYHA’s more than 25 branch offices. It was a chance that SYHA couldn’t pass up.

“We have decided to take advantage of the [office move and contract expiry] roughly aligned dates and modernize our infrastructure, ”said Mr. Collin.

More importantly, SYHA has decided to do away with its server room and migrate to the cloud. The potential benefits were significant. Upgrading the network would improve its stability and reliability, and this was key to improving the ability of SYHA staff to work remotely, which – as of December 2019 – was poised to become of vital importance to businesses. organizations of all stripes.

The move would also eliminate SYHA’s dependence on its server room and, by removing the need for a room, free up more space in the new headquarters. And all of this could be achieved without increasing costs, thanks to the savings generated by using the shared infrastructure of a data center (such as backup generators, uninterrupted redundant power supplies to maintain operation in the event of an outage, and fire extinguishers).

SYHA also wanted a new type of relationship with its IT partner. “Historically, we had one vendor that used another vendor to do X, Y, and Z,” says Collin. “It meant we were going through an intermediary. We never participated in the conversation.

This approach had significant drawbacks. Mr. Collin and his colleagues in SYHA’s IT department have a lot of know-how and experience – but this outsourcing approach meant their expertise was not being fully exploited. In addition, SYHA wanted to have these conversations himself: “We were looking for a partner who wanted to hear what we were trying to do, and not just sell the technology that had the best margin,” adds Mr. Collin. “I don’t expect a company to have the same values ​​as us, but it’s important to find solutions with that in mind. It’s about understanding what we are doing.

There were risks associated with the move. SYHA had a short window of time to migrate its systems to the cloud, and it had to do so while remaining operational throughout. SYHA chose Node4 as a new partner, removing these intermediaries in one fell swoop. The two organizations worked together to design a tailor-made solution tailored to SYHA’s needs and values. The migration went off without a hitch; Mr. Collin’s team did not receive any tickets from SYHA staff during the process.

Today, the benefits of this move to the cloud are clear. SYHA saw an immediate drop in network stability issues after the move – and when the pandemic hit, it was able to continue providing remote services thanks to the redesigned and strengthened network.

In the meantime, the move to a dedicated offsite facility has eliminated previous concerns about associated infrastructure such as power supplies, cooling, and the lack of redundant systems.

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