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What was the need for Tonkin & Taylor to choose Windows Server 2008? What issues were they facing?
Good question. First let me just give you some background on Tonkin & Taylor as that might help to give some idea on what they do and how technology plays into their organisation.
Tonkin & Taylor are an Engineering firm with approximately 600 employees. They have offices throughout New Zealand, and are also in Australia and the Philippines. Their original infrastructure was using Windows Server 2003 which those mainly in the IT industry are aware of became the previous version in late February when we released Windows Server 2008.
The two main challenges Tonkin & Taylor had were around Data and People.
Let me explain the two issues in a little bit of detail. Firstly, with regards to data, the challenge of backups is something most if not all Security conscious organisations are faced with.
For Tonkin & Taylor, backups were happening once a night and tape backups once a week which is standard across a lot of organisations but they have such huge amounts of data being added every day - throughout the day that any loss would be substantial...
Secondly, people: as a result of having multiple sites distributed in three countries and requiring manual operational tasks to deal with this stuff, the amount of time required again would be considerable.
How did Windows Server 2008 improve T&T’s productivity?
Catherine who leads the infrastructure team for Tonkin & Taylor told me a great story about one of their staff (an engineer I believe) who had to go a few hours up North to take photos of a new project site. On his return, he transferred the photos onto the network and deleted these from the camera. Problem was, when he went to look for it on the network – he realised that he had accidentally deleted them.
Out of desperation and expecting the worst, he called IT to try and see if they could do anything.
Fortunately, because they had now moved to ongoing replication throughout the day, they were able to go back to previous backup state and recover his photos.
In the past, that would have cost him time, effort, piece of mind and worst of all – another lonely trip a few hours North.
Did Tonkin & Taylor see a big shift in the security and reliability of their network?
With the implementation of Windows Server 2008, Tonkin & Taylor were able to change the frequency of their backups from being once a day to ongoing throughout the day.
This was a result of the changes brought on through our Distributed File System Replication (DFSR). This simply meant that they would now only be replicating increments of data if existing files were being changed rather than having to replicate the entire file all over again. This is a new development which allows the customer to see more security built to reduce the risk of data loss and/or corruption.
Imagine the peace of mind knowing that you had a more efficient approach to back up.
How did Tonkin & Taylor save time?
With the fact that backup is now happening throughout the day and has been centralized to the main data centre, the team no longer have to spend all their time doing tape backups at each centre.
Where did they see the biggest saving?
I think the biggest savings would be in both people, I think Catherine was saying it was in the whereabouts of 100 hrs per month by way of savings from each site and then dollars which equates to about $120K per year across the project and that doesn’t take into account what you would have to pay for full replication of documents instead of increments
What feedback have you had from IT staff at Tonkin & Taylor?
Well, I think Catherine has been one of a great many advocates to date with regards to the capability that WS08 provides to businesses. I haven’t even mentioned the efficiencies available through WSUS and the automated updates which removes another manual task for the IT administrator.
However, I think specifically with regards to Tonkin & Taylor, the DFSR improvements have been enough to provide tangible value up front for this Server deployment and especially with stories like the one I share before about the photos and the engineer.
If I can just say, that Tonkin & Taylor, like any organisation – should and does care about Security and the smooth running of the business through IT. Windows Server 2008 allows the IT team that extra bit of freedom to move away from doing the manual, reactive tasks (which are often unseen by the business) and work on the business delivery pieces (which drives the business forward and in turn helps the organisation to see the importance of IT).
Other related posts:
Windows Server 2008 podcast #2: key features in Windows Server 2008 for New Zealand market