The National Museum of the Royal Navy Case Study

Requirement: Core Infrastructure Reformation

A number of areas within The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s core IT infrastructure needed refreshing and configuring to reach a “best practice” standard, plus a support provider for the escalation of incidents by the IT team was required.

The Client

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (The NMRN) was created in early 2009 to act as a single non-departmental public body for the four service museums of the Royal Navy. The organisation has multiple sites around the UK including Portsmouth and Belfast, with famous attractions including HMS Victory, HMS Trincomalee and WW2 submarine HMS Alliance.

NMRN required an external partner for an initial project to centralise some of the core infrastructure onto a single platform in Portsmouth to ensure key business-critical services were housed on a “best practice” infrastructure, as well as to provide ongoing escalation support to its IT team and circa 300 IT users. The organisation had specific requirements to ensure that its needs were correctly understood and addressed, of which GCI were able to fulfil; the NMRN wanted a partner with experience within the entertainment and attraction sector and who could use this experience with similar clients to assist with the overall NMRN IT strategy in the coming years. As a partner of with Merlin Entertainments for over a decade, GCI were well-placed to meet this requirement. Having previously attended a training course at GCI, NMRM’s IT Manager was familiar with GCI’s work and offered an invitation to tender for the initial project and ongoing support.

A number of factors led to the selection of GCI as NMRN’s IT partner, including true 24/7 support and honest advice on the best solutions for the organisation. With capabilities far exceeding those of its current supplier, as well as the added bonus of GCI’s Poole office being ideally located between its two core sites, it was clear that GCI would be able to meet and exceed all original prerequisites.

Technical Solution

Having been awarded the opportunity to become the NMRN’s IT partner, GCI took the time to carefully consult with the organisation to assess their exacting needs and design solutions that would allow for future scalability and growth across the business. GCI utilised the existing HP servers already in place and rebuilt them into a 3 host VMware cluster. An EMC SAN with 14TB of useable storage was then installed with HA fibre switching to provide a resilient storage target for all business-critical data. This in turn allowed NMRN to centralise its entire IT infrastructure at the Portsmouth location. Finally, reusing another existing server and NAS, Veeam Standard Edition was introduced to provide both disk-to-disk backup and replication for the new environment.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy also now has 24/7 access to GCI’s Service Desk on a Flexible Managed Services contract, utilising a customised version of the award winning ServiceNow platform which allows its in-house IT team to escalate issues to GCI which they cannot readily resolve. Additionally, a 3 year hardware Break-Fix support contract is now in place to ensure peace of mind for the NMRN.

Success and Company Benefits

The results of the improvements made by GCI included a new fast and reliable core IT infrastructure for business applications to run on, as well as an increase in The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s available storage on Tier 1, business-grade hardware. The solutions provided not only reduce risk to the organisation through enhanced IT continuity and resilience but, due to the scalable nature of its storage, growth across the business can be easily accommodated.

Phil George, IT Manager at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “We chose GCI to deploy a variety of intricate IT solutions due to their many years of experience in successfully completing large-scale infrastructure projects. As a non-profit organisation we cannot afford to have projects overrun, and I am delighted that GCI completed this complex assignment on-budget and within the timeframe required.”

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