“The Frontline hosting solution has reduced our hosting costs significantly; we have achieved 50% savings. Performance is excellent and downtime minimal." Ian Bilsland, Information Technology Manager, Ionix Systems Ltd.
Ionix Systems Limited specialises in the design, manufacture and service support of high performance wiring systems for aerospace, defence and commercial applications. Customers include BAE, Rolls Royce and a key project has been the manufacture of engine harnesses for the Airbus A380. Ionix is headquartered in Lancashire and employs 530 people across the UK and Europe.
Cross-continent IT issues and system complexity
Early on in Ionix’s company formation, they engaged in a 12 month agreement with a 3rd party for its hosting requirements to use BPCS software running on an IBM iSeries system, situated in the USA.
Due to lack of support, high ongoing costs and logistical complications, it quickly become apparent that Ionix needed an alternative option that aligned with their business needs. Under the previous supplier, a hardware problem would have meant Ionix waiting until midday before the issue was addressed due to the time difference.
Ionix needed a new solution in place, without delay. The company was faced with two options: either they could source a system and host in-house or find someone else with the required expertise to host for them. The Ionix board was keen to invest in business growth rather than IT hardware so the decision was made to select a technology partner for their hosting requirement.
From recommendation to trusted partner
A number of hosting companies were originally approached but none provided a solution that fitted or inspired the IT team at Ionix with the confidence that they could look after Ionix’s mission critical functions. Frontline was recommended to Ionix’s IT Manager, Ian Bilsland, and he was keen to engage with Frontline due to their extensive iSeries experience.
Trusted solution with built-in resiliency
The new solution has enabled Ionix to put in place a Disaster Recovery plan. The ‘warm standby’ version of their IT system ensures everything can be up and running in 24-48hrs after a period of downtime whereas previously this would have taken a week.
“Frontline’s operators monitor the system 24hrs a day, if any system is down then it is addressed immediately. We have never had any instances where we have come to the site and the systems are not fully operational,” adds Ian.
Ian commented, “I found the Frontline team to be very friendly and extremely professional people. We visited their datacentre and were very impressed. We spoke to a couple of existing Frontline customers who gave glowing references. Frontline were very competitive in terms of what they could offer.”
There was an initial project meeting where the scope was defined and a schedule for project delivery was set. This was all set out in accordance with Frontline’s Connected Delivery service methodology; a combination of industry standard ITIL frameworks and Frontline’s own in-house expertise.
Frontline implemented the network infrastructure and set up a test environment very quickly, with any issues encountered along the way being handled by Frontline’s knowledgeable technical team.
As well as the managed hosting solution put in place by Frontline, Ionix found it reassuring to talk to Frontline staff who were knowledgeable about iSeries technology. Also, as Ionix runs a fairly lean IT department, it relied on the Frontline team to ensure the migration went smoothly. Ian summarised the partnership with Ionix, “Frontline has provided us with a secure, reliable hosting solution which has delivered a 50% cost saving on our hosting spend. I found the Frontline staff knowledgeable, professional and friendly people and recommend them highly.”
Information Technology Manager, Ionix Systems Ltd.
Ian was particularly impressed with Frontline’s staff for going ‘the extra mile’ for their business. He explains that the smooth implementation was down to the problem free transition of data from the USA to the UK. Ionix had to retrieve their data from the USA and so their data was brought on a commercial flight to Manchester airport. Frontline staff were prepared to do whatever was required over the ‘go live’ weekend to get things up and running; including collecting the tapes from Manchester Airport.