Oncore IT has announced that London & Capital has completed its transition to outsource its onsite legacy tape-based1 data backup function to a cloud-based solution managed by its specialist team of technical experts and dedicated account managers.
To meet Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] policies and recommendations, Oncore IT has provided a cost effective and scalable public cloud-based solution — using Asigra technology — to maximise the level of data security, improve resilience and enhance London & Capital’s backup processes and procedures. Today, all London & Capital enterprise data is backed up to the cloud in what has been a very successful migration project meeting all projects goals, completed ahead of time, and in budget.
Established in 1986, London & Capital is an independently owned wealth management firm with a global team of 90 staff who have around $3.7 billion2 of discretionary assets under management. Its advisers and asset managers provide a bespoke and tailored service looking after clients who comprise private individuals, institutional investors, intermediaries and charities from around the world.
The project has centred around risk migration given London & Capital is highly regulated and data is crucial to the functioning of the business. A phased approach has been taken with low risk test data first backed up, and then based on the performance of the Asigra solution, the company is shifting to using it as a total enterprise solution. During this switch over, parallel backup runs were done with both tape and online to ensure a safety net in case of any issues.
Paul Cook, Oncore IT’s sales and marketing director, says, “Absolutely no problems were experienced and London & Capital has concluded this ‘belt and braces’ parallel backup process. Since December 2013, all of its business data is now stored online using the Asigra solution.”
Initially 3 TB of online backup was initially taken as part of the Oncore IT delivered service, but this has trebled growing to 9TB within a year, driven by the demands of the FCA to backup and use offsite storage. If London & Capital had not implemented the project, it would have had to treble its internal backup infrastructure which is what it wanted to mitigate against.
Cook says, “The main benefit our clients get from working with us is access to enterprise class Cloud services on-demand. We offer secure services in an OPEX fashion, with commercial contracts that our clients can take advantage of and easily understand.”
London & Capital is using its Asigra-based Cloud backup service to store information covering three main areas:
- Transactional data from its portfolio and order management systems [trade order management information];
- Data from core business applications like its CRM system [where all client records are contained];
- All Microsoft Office data including Exchange [email] and standard Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.
A secure ‘vault’ has been created on Oncore IT’s Hitachi Data Systems storage platform with data held in its London datacentre and replicated to its offshore facility in Amsterdam for resilience.
To establish the data updates, just one Asigra monitoring client – a DS Agent – was installed in London & Capital’s environment to collect data from its servers. This simplifies rollout and contrasts with other competitive solutions which require agents on each and every server. Asigra’s agentless approach was important as London & Capital didn’t want to add to or complicate its IT footprint at its London headquarters.
Significant and tangible return on investment benefits have been realised, summarised below:
- Access to enterprise-class services on-demand hitherto not available to the SMB marketplace [based on Asigra, and Hitachi Data Systems’ blade, compute, and storage]
- 50% price per gigabit cost savings working with Oncore IT compared to other suppliers
- £45K per annum salary cost savings achieved by not having to employ a member of staff to manage the whole backup process. The work overhead has been easily absorbed into London & Capital IT team’s general work
- £35K per annum saved on physical hardware [servers, additional storage and tapes]
- 25% time reduction in daily and weekly backup windows
- Fast and trouble free deployment. In total, just 12 man-days were spent on the whole project. London & Capital staff spent five days on research, due diligence and supplier selection, two days supporting Oncore IT on the actual implementation, who only required five days themselves to rollout the project. The solution therefore did not have a high time commitment for either side
- Excellent automated scheduling in Asigra means that back office [backup] processes do not over run into the working day and impact London & Capital’s production IT systems or staff [in contrast to the previous tape-based solution]
- No increase in backup times even as the amount of data has trebled increasing from 3 to 9 TB in the past year or so. This is the raison d’etre of the Asigra solution as BLI [block-level incremental] processing is used whereby only new and changed blocks of data need to be transmitted. Asigra also utilises compression and global de-duplication to further reduce network traffic and the backup storage capacity actually required
- Management reporting exceeded expectations with detailed meta data showing London & Capital what information has been backed up and the history of it
- A shift from CAPEX to OPEX in terms of investment in data recovery and backup solutions
- Allows London & Capital to ‘stick to the knitting’ and focus its effort on core business activities – providing excellent financial services – rather than concerning itself with backup processes and having to grow its IT function. Outsourcing to a specialist provider like Oncore IT who has the right skills sets and expertise has achieved this.
Many companies, especially those in financial services industry, are unsure about the cloud environment and whether they should move infrastructure and applications to it. With so many different responsibilities and challenges especially around data protection and regulatory compliance – for some – it is a difficult choice to change so they stay put rather than challenge the status quo.
London & Capital’s chief information officer, Glenn Murphy comments, “In my opinion, to not challenge the status quo is wrong. Our project shows that you can mitigate a three-fold increase in backup data without a three-fold increase in costs. It is all about leveraging the benefits of cloud-based backup, working with the right managed service provider and choosing the right technology solution which in our case was Asigra. That’s what we’ve done and we have achieved great results financially and commercially for the business. A lot of people in other wealth management and banking organisations can leverage this and capitalise on our experience. The challenge for them is just to say ‘yes’.”
To view a brief film of Glenn Murphy talking about the project, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml6akBngqmg.
1. Based on DLT and LTO technology
2. As of Sept 31, 2013