U-Drive Case Study
Requirement: Hosted Services, Cloud Services and Virtualisation
GCI were selected by U-Drive to provide a state-of-the-art infrastructure and hosted backup solution across the business.
U-Drive is a privately-owned company, headquartered in Poole, Dorset. It has multiple rental sites throughout the South of England and is actively looking for new sites to increase the footprint of the company further afield. The company specialises in car and van rental, as well as car sales and leasing.
U-Drive had long outgrown its Microsoft SBS 2003 and Citrix Fundamentals infrastructure and recognised the need to change it. Additionally, the company had an ageing desktop infrastructure that needed to be replaced and standardised across all branches. These current solutions were costly in terms of maintenance and did not enable remote access for all users. There was also a need to modernise data backup and Disaster Recovery, which was being carried out via a legacy tape solution.
To address these issues, GCI created new dedicated virtual servers for U-Drive within their Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform. Secured in GCI’s Tier 2 datacentre, this platform represents a major investment in virtualised infrastructure and offers U-Drive a state-of-the-art solution, without a six-figure capital outlay of upgrading its hardware and the related costs of locating it in-house. Following this, a new BT 100MB uncontended fibre link was installed from U-Drive’s Headquarters direct to the datacentre, with the company’s remote site links also reappointed to the datacentre. This not only improved internet resilience and speed, but it also gave U-Drive lower cost internet access for all branches to connect into than its previous site-to-site links. A Citrix Access Gateway was also implemented to introduce a more granular access process for the company’s users when both in and outside of the office, providing enhanced protection of its data and systems. Old, cumbersome PCs were replaced by thin client terminals, which significantly reduced administration costs and time spent on end-user support. Every user in the company was also upgraded to the latest version of Microsoft Office. The Microsoft licensing is provided on a rental “pay-as-you-go” basis through a program called Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), which is a flexible and cost-effective means of accessing the very latest applications as and when they are upgraded.
GCI also streamlined U-Drive’s backup procedure through its Cloud-based offering, SecureVault. With data secured in encrypted storage across two locations - GCI’s Bournemouth datacentre and at its Poole Headquarters - backup happens seamlessly and invisibly online, and removes the need for the costly method of storing data on tapes. Again, a simple “pay-as-you-go” pricing model is applied, which means monthly costs are scalable as and when U-Drive expand.
Success and Company Benefits
U-Drive are now enjoying the key benefits of GCI’s Corporate Cloud offering, which includes state-of-the-art security, faster, cheaper and more resilient internet, and a significant decrease in operating costs. User access is now delivered via new multiple hosted Citrix XenApp servers which ensures a rich user experience for everyone, irrelevant of their location or device.
Richard Sutton, IT Manager at U-Drive, said: “GCI’s delivery of the new infrastructure has provided a more stable and richer user experience company-wide, which was an impossible task with our traditional on-site IT solution. It has also provided quick and easy deployment of technology updates and maintenance when needed for new sites - not to mention the huge cost savings we have experienced through renting hardware and only paying for the applications and services we actually use. Completed on time and within budget, we are delighted to have a flexible, cost-effective and robust system that can be scaled up or down as our business evolves.”