An airtight DRaaS and VMware Cloud solution

With 39% of UK businesses identifying a cyber-attack in the last 12 months and around one in five (21%) of these reporting a sophisticated attack such as a denial of service, malware, or ransomware¹, most of us know just how essential Disaster Recovery (DR) is.

Being proactive in protecting digital data and customer assets is no luxury when you also consider these cybercrime risks in the context of increased remote working and assets that are dispersed across locations.

Cloud-based DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) is a cost-effective, fast and airtight route to this protection.

We are now VMware Cloud and DRaaS verified

QuoStar has VMware Cloud and DRaaS verification across our next generation private cloud platforms. This can help you to safeguard valuable assets quickly and effectively against the disasters that carry a real risk to your applications and infrastructure.

Tailored to your VMware environment

By designing a DRaaS solution specifically for your VMware environment, we can give you peace of mind that your data is protected, without the need for capital investment or upskilling within your IT team.

This fast, efficient and secure disaster recovery solution, which can be from on-premises to cloud as well as cloud to cloud, gives you the benefit of:

  • Automated recovery and fallback
  • An RPO (recovery point objective) as low as five minutes
  • Reduced operating costs
  • In-house IT team freed up to focus on high-value projects

Fast, non-disruptive DR testing

Backups and disaster recovery need regular validation to ensure they will work when needed. Our cloud-based DRaaS solution reduces this risk with fast, clean simulated DR testing in minutes. This regularly scheduled testing, which is required for proper DR planning and validation, does not impact on your ongoing DR activity or IT team.

Protect collection of VMs (vApps)

The enhanced grouping and protection workflows within our service help to preserve recovery priorities and network configurations for virtual apps (vApps), eliminating the need for manual scripting and shortening RTOs.

Bandwidth monitoring

Our DRaaS solution gives you visibility into what DR is adding to bandwidth, which helps to troubleshoot latency issues. It also offers capacity reporting, identifying what DR is consuming in storage on the target environment.

Remove complexity and overhead

Working in partnership with QuoStar on a DRaaS and VMware Cloud solution gives you peace of mind that core DR operational work is managed and continually updated in line with regulatory and compliance mandates. It removes complexity and overhead from your organisation.

Neil Clark, Director of Cloud Services at QuoStar: “QuoStar obtaining both VMware Certifications (Cloud and DRaaS Verified) rubber stamps our commitment to building the best-in-class Private Cloud Platforms.

“QuoStar understands that cutting corners at this level can be catastrophic and, a lot of the time, holds businesses back from moving to the right cloud solution. By using an industry leading solution like VMware, we can provide the most reliable, highly performance and cost-effective solution to our customers.

“QuoStar’s private cloud is just one part of QuoStar’s multi-cloud solution, allowing our customers to benefit from the advantages of each cloud platform.”

Contact one of our Cloud specialists to find out more about QuoStar’s DRaaS and VMware solution.

_
Statistics: ¹ Cyber Security Breaches Survey 2022

Why you need an Azure Landing Zone

If your business uses Microsoft Azure, you also need a well-designed and structured Landing Zone. A Landing Zone is a key component of the Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework, helping organisations to better manage and scale their public cloud environments.

What makes up a Landing Zone?

In terms of Microsoft Azure, a landing zone is a combination of multiple subscriptions within an Azure Environment. These subscriptions are already set up for all areas of the platform that may be required to support the environment, whether that’s Infrastructure as a service or Platform as a service.

You could view a Landing Zone as foundations, built on solid practice and design considerations, which you can build on, expand and scale as required. The design of these foundations will differ, and the basics can be laid out differently from one Landing Zone to the other, as there is not one single design for all types of infrastructure.

While Landing Zones can vary due to their modular design and business requirements, they usually cover certain design areas, as below:

alz-design-areas

Landing Zone Design Areas

No matter what type of deployment you are designing, be it enterprise, hybrid-cloud, or a simple, small POC (proof of concept) environment, each design area listed should be considered within a Landing Zone.

  • Enterprise enrolment – have we set up a tenant that will support growth and scale? How will we license it?? CSP, EA etc?
  • Identity – How are we going to control identity and access? Serious consideration should be given to how this is managed.
  • Network topology and connectivity – What will our network look like now and how will this scale and grow? What design considerations, such as segregation, do we need to consider?
  • Resource organization – How will we organise our resources to allow for growth without red tape? What are our needs around business areas, different teams, subscriptions? And how we implement this within management groups?
  • Governance disciplines – How do we stay compliant? How do we enforce security requirements? How do we ensure our data sovereignty?
  • Operations baseline – How will we manage, monitor and optimise our environment? How will we maintain visibility within our environment and ensure it operates as required?
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) – How will we plan and design for continuity and protect our data? Have we considered the need to replicate data or provide a method of restoration? Do our proposed methods meet the RPO and RTO objectives of our organization?
  • Deployment options – How will we deploy our Landing Zone and resources moving forward? Will this be a manual process? Will we consider Infrastructure as Code? What methodologies for deployment could we use? 

We’ve helped several customers get their landing zone to good by deploying QuoStar’s best practise landing zone framework, which implements current governance best practises, cost management protection and parameter security. This has helped them to get to a position where they have the correct foundations build upon, future proof expansion and allow adoption and implementation of a continuously evolving best practise frameworks.

As a leading Microsoft partner, contact one of our Cloud specialists today to find out more about our services.

Cloud adoption: Understanding and avoiding the challenges

Cloud adoption

 

QuoStar’s Rob Rutherford shares a few helpful hints and tips.

Certain issues can arise around cloud adoption. However the risks can be mitigated when you know what to look out for.

 

The increasing popularity of cloud services and software.

There’s been a huge move onto the cloud recently, particularly around providers such as Microsoft’s Azure and the Modern Workplace stack. Microsoft Azure has, for example, reported growth of 51% in Q4 of 2021. This is a huge leap as businesses look to the cloud to improve their hybrid working environments and security.

Many organisations already on the cloud have been transitioning into a public-private hybrid model, or between two public providers to get the right workloads onto the platform to balance performance, security, and cost.

Inter-cloud high-availability and Disaster Recovery environments are areas where we’ve also seen a lot of interest, in order to protect cloud platforms from the failure of one provider or environment. In the longer term – considering state-sponsored attacks and skirmishes will likely become more prevalent in the future – we can expect to see businesses relying more and more on those types of inter-related environments to ensure a greater level of protection.

 

Cloud adoption: the challenges and barriers.

IT used to be solely seen as a supporting element of the business. One of the main challenges to cloud adoption now lies in the fact that many organisations have built up a technical debt over the last five years. They are trying to transform their businesses rapidly to catch up with the digitalisation of their sector.

Without a true grasp on how to deliver transformation strategies, many businesses have not been undertaking business focused requirements, analysis or mapping projects into a clear roadmap. Instead, they’ve tried working things out themselves. Often this can hold organisations back as they struggle with interoperability and performance issues.

A significant challenge in the actual process of migrating to the cloud is finding a reputable and experienced partner to assist in the cloud transition journey. Unfortunately, on the one side, a lot of cloud providers simply focus on getting the deal signed, and not necessarily on delivery. On the other side, many buyers are too focused on flat costs. Buyers may end up choosing those providers who appear to be the cheapest on paper. As a consultancy, we’re then often brought in to unpick a situation that has been created by rushing through deals.

 

Balance between cost efficiency and performance.

Preparation is key to any migration. It’s essential that an organisation doesn’t simply take the word of a salesperson on how long a migration is going to take, how much it’s going to cost in the first instance, and then on an ongoing basis.

All too often migration projects need to be pulled back on track. Performance issues might need to be addressed in an environment (ideally without a price increase from a customer’s point of view). Which can be hard – if not impossible. Quite frequently the ROI stated in a cloud provider’s proposal falls away as the realities of a complex workload bloom. This is where an organisation has signed an order and gone through significant (and often horrendous) migration, only to be left with a screaming user base and/or customers. The pain they’ve incurred often means they make drastic decisions. Such as wiping out ROIs, increasing the security risk profile or getting into further contractual obligations.

Most cloud providers will give an organisation some form of free trial on a workload. The larger the workload the more complex this gets; however commercial deals can be made.

It’s critical that organisations do their due diligence and build in contractual obligations. This will help to ensure the supplier delivers the desired outcome they expect. It may even be advisable to bring in external consultants, and/or lawyers to take some accountability for the project delivery. Especially when looking at large scale migrations.

 

Avoiding performance issues during cloud migration.

It’s always a good idea to over-resource when undertaking initial migrations. A large percentage of environments take up more resource, especially in the early stages of a heavy migration.

One of the biggest areas people typically under-resource is disk speed, in terms of IOPS (Input/Output operations Per Second). Too many organisations throw memory (RAM) and processor power at an underperforming environment. While it’s the disk speed that is the bottle neck. This isn’t a new cloud-related issue. However, too many IT teams spend time chasing their tales when the speed issues are in fact related to disk IO. Often many cloud provider support teams don’t seem to understand this in the lower support tiers, so be aware.

It’s worth being careful if you are paying for disk IO and/or network ingress or egress traffic. This is often where cloud costs start to spiral away from the original quotes first agreed upon. The public cloud often appears cheaper than private platforms when you go light on these costs. It’s worth checking these beforehand. It’s important testing your environment under load or having the cloud supplier make some guarantees around costs.

 

If you’d like some advice on cloud adoption get in touch with our experts today.

Optimising manufacturing operations with the right IT Solutions

Optimising Manufacturing operations with IT solutions

 

Optimising manufacturing operations isn’t always easy, but it can be achieved with the right IT Solutions.

Manufacturing businesses are typically the best at seeking out efficiency and productivity in their operations, particularly on the shop-floor.  However, many still do not apply the same LEAN principles to the rest of their operations, and that can mean the optimisation of processes is more challenging because of a lack of consistency throughout the business.

Systems and process analysis, and automation can be used throughout an organisation to drive down inefficiencies. IT is certainly an enabler of an efficient and well-performing optimisation.

As QuoStar’s Robert Rutherford was recently quoted in the Manufacturer: “Finance operations, for example, are often very bloated, but IT can facilitate outsourcing or offshoring, not only reducing costs but also allowing the process to become quickly automated to a good extent.”

 

What types of IT solutions and services can help with Optimising manufacturing operations?

Historically, manufacturers were always at the forefront of technology. This has in many ways meant that they experienced the falls and disappointments that come with testing cutting edge solutions. However, technology systems have also been driving results for manufacturers in some areas – such as IoT, cloud services and CRM.

 

Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) has certainly given advantage to manufacturers both on the shop-floor and within their products on customer sites – by helping in support and maintenance, but also in querying big data for insights and value. It’s driving decisions around productivity, wastage and research & development to deliver wins across the board.

Cloud Services

Cloud services are also still extremely valuable to manufacturers. Although many still keep heavy processing in a private cloud, the public cloud (particularly AWS and Azure) allows operations and development to flex, trial and scale-up (and scale-out) without the traditional costs and complexities of big kit in the server room. The pandemic has heavily accelerated change. Customers have demanded faster innovation, more data and information, greater integration, and increased security.

CRMs

CRM systems have moved on significantly and its greatly improving the service manufacturers are able to deliver to customers, whether it is on managing expectations, delivering value or collecting relevant information. They can also drive an increase in sales in terms of new business wins, cross-sales and real-engagement with marketing automation.

Big CRM projects were historically associated with large capex costs. However, now they virtually all come in a cloud-based delivery model on a price per user basis.

 

Digital Transformation Road Mapping & IT Consultancy

QuoStar specialise in IT solutions. We can help with Digital Transformation Road mapping, as well as offering IT Consultancy services. Don’t with QuoStar you also have access to a CIO Service too!

 

If you’d like help optimising your manufacturing operations, please get in touch with our team today.