Sunseeker Case Study

Requirement: IT Infrastructure Refresh and Fully-Managed Network Service

Over the course of more than a decade, GCI have not only supported Sunseeker International by providing an extension to the company’s in-house IT department, but have undertaken two refreshes of its entire IT Infrastructure, as well as providing a Fully-Managed Service for Sunseeker’s network.

The Client 

Established in 1969 in Poole, Dorset by brothers Robert and John Braithwaite, Sunseeker International is a global manufacturer of hand-built, hand-finished luxury motoryachts. Employing more than 2000 highly-skilled designers, engineers and master craftsmen, the company is supported worldwide by a network of over 80 retail and service locations, and export approximately 140 yachts yearly. Never settling for second best, its spirit of excellence has driven Sunseeker to its pre-eminent position in the marine market today.

GCI became the first company in the UK to virtualise SAP on Sunseeker’s behalf and the initial virtualised IT infrastructure implemented had worked very well, providing an excellent Return on Investment. However, as Sunseeker continued to flourish and was experiencing a significant data growth year-on-year, the company felt it was time to rethink its IT strategy. At the time of the second refresh, Sunseeker’s core infrastructure was seven years old and required substantial investment; it posed a genuine risk to business as hardware continued to age and core devices became less fit for purpose. Sunseeker offered the project out to tender in a bid to determine the full scope of IT service and support options available but after evaluating its options in the competitive marketplace, Sunseeker selected to continue the successful partnership with GCI after receiving a proposal which provided a forward-thinking, end-to-end solution that embraced new technologies, whilst also incorporating project design, implementation and 24/7 support, 365 days a year.

Sunseeker had the confidence to instruct GCI with a major infrastructure refresh to replace this hardware with new Enterprise technology. This would involve the replacement of ageing and over-utilised SAN infrastructure and server hardware, and the creation of a new offsite Disaster Recovery environment with backup. The company also required a solution to a gap in its technical network knowledge, after an experienced member of staff left the company; an issue for any company that requires an employee with such a niche skillset. Having explored different options, Sunseeker decided to deploy GCI’s Fully-Managed Service instead of replacing the former staff member, safe in the knowledge that not only would all its requirements be met, but that the company would be covered on a truly 24/7 basis. Proactive Watchpoints would also be in place with this service, meaning that any issues would be searched for, identified and fixed before ever causing problems to Sunseeker’s infrastructure.

Technical Solution

GCI implemented a £0.5 million Enterprise solution, comprising technologies from VMware, HP, Citrix, EMC, and Veeam. This latest, best-of-breed technology gave Sunseeker better performance, additional functionality, enhanced resilience and room for future expansion in line with its business growth strategy. Additionally, GCI implemented Sunseeker’s Disaster Recovery (DR) and Backup solution via their datacentre facilities. Choosing to move this away from its site into the datacentre affords Sunseeker the core benefits of Colocation, such as lower operating costs, diesel-generated backup power and enhanced security, alongside fast connectivity for key Sunseeker sites in any DR situation. GCI were also required to provide continued support and maintenance via their 24/7 Service Desk; crucial for a global company needing to operate across multiple time zones.

GCI also solved the problem of Sunseeker having to recruit a new technical manager with highly-specific network skills by providing a Fully-Managed Service, key components of which included GCI’s 24/7 Service Desk and SolarWinds’ Orion Network Performance Monitor (NPM) for Proactive Network Monitoring. The aforementioned Watchpoints provided a vital service for Sunseeker, as the company was assured that any problems would be fixed without causing disruption to business-critical services. This solution proved to not only be more cost-effective than recruiting and training a new member of staff with such exact knowledge, it also afforded Sunseeker access to GCI’s talent pool of over 140 experts around-the-clock; something which a single staff member could never achieve.

Success and Company Benefits 

With both projects being completed on time and within budget, GCI delivered flexible and secure systems that can be scaled up or down as the business evolves. With a robust DR solution, assistance available round-the-clock and proactive Watchpoints to monitor and fix any potential IT issues before they occur, Sunseeker can operate without the worry of IT failure causing disruption to the business.

Chris Attwood, IT Infrastructure Manager at Sunseeker, said: “The infrastructure refresh projects and associated investments were a significant decision for the business. Important factors in our decision-making process included GCI’s professional technical assessment and solution design, combined with the long-term partnership and flexible support framework received over more than a decade. I am pleased we selected GCI, who not only design strong and cost-effective technical solutions but manage implementations from start to finish, ensuring minimal impact to the business despite the overall complexities. We are also confident that our network is in safe hands, thanks to GCI’s Fully-Managed Service.”

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