JML is a household name, with a £100m turnover. Known for promoting products via in-store video screens, the retail company is a recognisable presence on the high street and in some of the biggest retailers throughout the UK and Ireland.
The company develops products in a variety of categories and sells them through its website, TV channels, and in retail outlets. In addition to its own products, JML also distributes products from other international direct response television suppliers, relying heavily on its IT services in order to be able to do so.
Being a progressive and forward-thinking company, JML was keen to explore the cloud as an alternative to on-premise IT infrastructure. It signed a deal with a local managed services provider, tasking them with putting its core workloads in the cloud with a view to increasing agility and reducing costs.
Initially, this seemed like a perfect solution, and appeared to be working well. Over time, though, costs began to spiral. According to Dharmesh Lathigra, head of IT Infrastructure at JML, because the business was locked into specific services, it was rapidly losing the level of agility and control it needed. As a result, it found itself struggling to align IT with evolving business needs and keep pace in such a fast-moving sector. Clearly, this state of affairs was unacceptable to the business.
This prompted Lathigra to investigate other IT services options. He realised that a move back to on-premise could give the company the performance and cost savings it needed. He knew, too, that the performance of software-defined technology had progressed significantly in recent years and offered good value for money.
Having previously used Dell infrastructure to some success, Lathigra was keen to explore what it had to offer. Working with the company, he specified a hyper-converged (HCI) private cloud platform using Dell PowerEdge servers with Microsoft’s S2D software-defined storage. On top of this, he discussed deploying an integrated backup appliance that would provide comprehensive protection for all of JML’s data and workloads.
Following these conversations, Lathigra was introduced to Dell Technologies Platinum Partner Synapse360, a company with considerable experience in deploying HCI solutions such as the one JML required.
Lathigra met with the team at Synapse360 to discuss the solution, and ensure it met all of his requirements. From this discussion, JML’s dedicated Synapse360 Technical Architect was able to quickly understand the intricacies of the situation, subsequently proposing a solution, and sense-checking that it met all of JML’s requirements.
The solution deployed was a high-performing hyper-converged private cloud built on Dell EMC, with an Integrated Data Protection Appliance. Providing comprehensive protection for JML’s data and workloads, the cloud made sure that all its business and customer information was secure. The move back to on-premise would also ensure JML had more than enough performance with an infrastructure that would be easy to manage and scale, and would deliver the cost savings needed. Having deployed Dell infrastructure previously, Lathigra considered this solution a great fit for the company.
Overcoming the challenges involved with implementation:
A migration such as this can often pose challenges resulting in downtime and interruptions for a company’s end users. However, with the support of technology from Zerto, Synapse360 was able to migrate JML’s Virtual Machines to the new platform during office hours, meaning no late nights for the IT team and a smooth migration with no disruption to services. The Synapse360 team was on hand to support throughout the whole process and built a strong collaborative relationship with a culturally like-minded client who appreciated its simple, honest, ‘can-do’ approach.
Synapse360 has since formed a close bond with JML’s IT team and is often included in discussions regarding the company’s IT future. Working collaboratively in such a way means Synapse360 has become an extension of the JML IT department – a relationship which is highly valued by the client.
Practically speaking, the solutions implemented by Synapse360 have enabled JML to deliver high-performing, secure, and agile IT services, while saving the company a significant amount of money. The on-premise design had more than enough performance to run and protect JML’s core workloads and had the scalability to cope with the company’s growth plans. In addition, the costs of providing the private cloud platform were 80% lower than using the previous managed services solution.
JML could now enjoy a fully protected environment with an infrastructure that was scalable and easy to manage, all with a cost saving of £1.1m over five years versus previous managed service.
“It’s game-changing stuff,” says Lathigra. “The on-premise solution delivers everything we wanted and gives us more control and protection, but for a fraction of the cost of the cloud solution.
“Obviously, we went for it, with Synapse360 as the deployment partner. For some of our apps, the public cloud still makes economic sense – such as Microsoft Office365 and CRM – but moving back core workloads made absolute sense.”