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Grant MacDonald (Silversmiths) Ltd

A Migration to SSD Server and PC Technology with enhanced security and back up protocols

Who are Grant MacDonald (Silversmiths) Ltd

Since the 1960s Grant Macdonald has taken great pride in both its contribution to the design world and the quality of its pieces, many of which can be found in embassies, parliaments, museums and palaces the world over. That legacy of fine craftsmanship is intrinsically bound to the team’s philosophy of service. Bespoke commissions, no matter how complex, can be completed in as little as six weeks, and the workshops regularly welcome visitors who wish to collaborate with the design team to tailor every aspect of their masterwork to precise requirements. Grant Macdonald’s ongoing commitment to outstanding service builds lifetime-long client relationships with every bespoke masterwork produced and ensure they remain one of the most respected fine silversmiths in operation today.

The challenge

Grant MacDonald had worked with Qi for several years regarding Sage Accounts 50 and Sage Manufacturing support.

As part of its on-going commitment to provide the most holistic service possible Qi contacted Grant MacDonald to explore how it could better support Grant MacDonald by also supporting their hardware and network requirements.
Grant MacDonald are as forward thinking regarding their wider IT strategy as they are regarding their workshops and wanted to understand how Qi would work with them to identify, scope and agree a roadmap for their hardware and network infrastructure. Whilst supporting the status quo was important, their hardware and networks support provider needed to be able to demonstrate their understanding of Grant MacDonald’s requirements moving forward and their commitment to never leaving their IT infrastructure vulnerable to failure.
Their current PC network had over time become a mix of inconsistent Windows platforms and it was important to introduce uniformity across Grant MacDonald.
With a multitude of invaluable CAD design files to store – Grant MacDonald needed assurance that back up protocols and security were well specified and robust.
The server area is specific in size and thus any replacement would need to fit into the existing rack.

The solution
A Migration to SSD Server and PC Technology with enhanced security and back up protocols

SSD Server & Client PC’s with Unified Threat Management Firewall and Automated Back Up

Following a rigorous pre-selection process and with Qi appointed as their official support provider in a position of trust in that role, Grant MacDonald felt comfortable sharing with Qi their budgetary capabilities regarding their server and PC replacement strategy. Equipment selection was weighted, considering their realistic budget and their current and future needs alongside their current use of Sage Accounts and Sage Manufacturing.
One of the first steps was to put automated cloud based back up protocols in place. This ensured that drawings, accounting and manufacturing data were backed up and stored safely as part of Grant MacDonald’s disaster recovery strategy.
Part of the larger project was to replace the network switch. A switch with more ports enables larger amounts of data to be up and downloaded from the server without impacting on the network speeds for other concurrent users.
This coupled with an on-site high speed SSD enabled server was recommended as this would improve performance times across the network. The specification of the server and the network had to be compatible and were specified to return the best investment overall.
PC’s were sourced for best performance with the same SSD technology to ensure the best network performance possible against the project.
Unified Threat Management (UTM) Firewall was scoped and agreed upon.
Ultimately – the success of this project was supported greatly by the underlying great business sense of Grant MacDonald who opt to proactively review, relevantly replace and ultimately protect their infrastructure by not protracting decisions regarding the hardware and software it relies upon every day.

The outcome

Zero hours processing downtime on a new server installation project!

Qi completed the majority of configuration and thorough testing of the server off site to ensure minimum disruption to the working day at Grant MacDonald.
A day on site saw the new server installed into its rack with the high security UTM (Unified Threat Management) firewall installed. It was during the UTM installation that the only down time of one hour on broadband, occurred and this was planned, explained and accommodated.
Achieving Zero hours downtime was achieved thus: whilst still using the old server files were being synched to the new server. An out of hours switch over was managed by Qi thus when the Grant MacDonald team arrived for business the next day – they were working on their new server. The only difference they noticed was the responsiveness of the network!

We are happy that we could effectively streamline our suppliers and work with Qi across our hardware network as well as with our Sage 50 applications. Will gave us sound advice and guidance as to what this hardware project should consist of taking into account our current needs and plans for the future. The server upgrade process went really smoothly and we look forward to continuing our partnership with Qi in other areas

David Clarke