AAM Group is a geospatial information company with offices across the globe. They provide a full suite of geospatial services, including technology and training, to public and private sector organisations and asset owners.
The company employs almost 300 geospatial professionals who operate out of national and international offices, and in the field, to serve their global client base.
Ready to overhaul legacy IT systems and reap the benefits of a cloud-first approach, AAM engaged Harbour IT to manage the transition to their own best of breed cloud infrastructure with ongoing managed cloud services.
Outdated infrastructure was inefficient and difficult to scale, and failure rates were high
With a 60 year history, AAM has had a long-standing commitment to evolving their systems in line with the latest technologies.
After recognising that their IT hardware was becoming obsolete, AAM’s IT division began to investigate a transition to cloud computing.
The company had experienced significant growth in recent years and on-premise servers were making it difficult to scale. They were also restrictive for AAM’s large cohort of staff who often need to travel to regional or remote sites to conduct surveys.
For the IT division, managing upgrades and patches and customer connectivity was taking a significant amount of time, while hampering efforts to focus on higher level activities.
Other key drivers for change included:
- Gaining a solution that would provide more resilience and control of the IT environment.
- Ensuring all data remains onshore.
- Partnering with a collaborative and responsive vendor who understands the AAM Group business.
“Prior to our engagement with Harbour IT, our server infrastructure was a challenge,” says AAM’s IT manager. “Managing an old and archaic hardware fleet was time consuming, expensive and stressful. One of the biggest challenges we faced was physical access to servers in distant, remote locations. This lead to frustrated techs and staff, high travel or outsource costs, and long turnaround times for resolutions of simple support issues.
“Managing fixed spec servers with ever changing software requirements also meant that flexibility and scalability in our environment was essentially non-existent.”
Harbour IT migrates AAM’s IT infrastructure to Cloud Metro
Harbour IT was recommended to AAM by another vendor, so AAM requested a proposal for the scope of the project.
“Harbour IT had the best level of maturity, knowledge and capability when working through the infrastructure.”
Harbour IT then consulted with AAM’s IT division to understand their challenges, goals and current infrastructure before developing a transition plan.
With fortnightly client meetings and regular phone catch ups, Harbour IT collaborated with AAM’s internal team to transition their on-premise hardware and Telstra Cloud to Harbour IT’s own Cloud Metro infrastructure.
The process included:
- Risk and issues analysis
- Detailed design and technical analysis
- Build a new environment in Cloud Metro
- Set up the network
- Migrate servers and data
- Testing and confirmation
AAM chose Cloud Metro because it could be rolled out quickly and deliver an instant performance improvement, while removing the risk and hassle of self-managed IT infrastructure by employing Harbour IT’s managed cloud services. There is also future potential to integrate Cloud Metro with Microsoft Azure.
“Harbour IT had the whole package: price, great knowledge, and an understanding of our needs. We felt comfortable after every meeting.”
AAM’s IT manager says, “Working with Harbour was a positive experience from the outset. Our early engagements with the team showed they were comprehensive, knowledgeable and proficient. We were particularly impressed with the way the Harbour team highlighted issues within our own environment that we were not even aware of.
“As we progressed through the process of migrating our on premise infrastructure to the Harbour cloud, the team completely took ownership of the process and left us with much less to do than we had anticipated.”
AAM reaps the benefits of a stable and secure cloud-first environment
The entire transition project was complete within 12 weeks – ahead of schedule and 20% under budget.
“Even when we threw some curveballs at them and changed our plans last minute, nothing was too hard and they managed to finish the migration ahead of schedule and under budget.”
AAM report they have seen a vast range of positive benefits, such as:
- Great service, above and beyond expectations
- More stable employee applications
- Secure environment
- Excellent backups, with response within a few hours
- Team don’t have to worry about aspects Harbour IT manage
- IT staff have more time to focus on higher level tasks, including UX
- Greater ability to work remotely
- Lower risk and stress with cloud managed services
- Annual governance presentation is easier with Harbour’s processes and evidence support
Moving forward, AAM is working with Harbour IT to evaluate the benefits of a hybrid approach that incorporates Microsoft Azure.
“Our new hosted infrastructure environment means we can finally sleep at night!” says AAM’s IT manager. “We have found the service to be reliable, consistent and so much easier to manage. Being virtualized, this also means we no longer need remote hands in hard-to-get to locations – which is even better with COVID-19 making travel so difficult these days.
“Support tickets are dealt with quickly and effectively, and ultimately it has significantly reduced the amount of hours a week we need to spend managing our infrastructure.
“Looking to the future, we’re planning to consolidate our infrastructure with Harbour even further. The next phase of our migration plan will look to leverage their Azure Stack services, and start the process of discovering how we can implement VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) to move our workloads into the cloud as well as our hosted infrastructure.”