Cloud Computing Transforming the Manufacturing Sector – TM Blinds’ Journey to the IBM Cloud

IBM powers move away from five-year hardware refresh cycle

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27 June 2019 | 0

TM Blinds Limited is a member of the multinational Hunter Douglas group of companies since 1999. TM Blinds are the market leader in Ireland in the supply of window blinds to the retail industry.

The company employs 120 people at its manufacturing site in Newcastle, Co Dublin. The company manufactures to the highest quality standard and daily. They operate a Just in Time (JIT) supply chain and work to a very efficient 48 hour turn around target for inbound orders.

DNA IT Solutions have been working with TM Blinds as their IT managed services provider since 2007.

Initially the IT environment was a traditional environment comprised of all physical servers hosted on-premise. The primary technology comprised of Novell Netware, Exchange 5.5 and Microsoft SMB server 2003, with the group ERP platform being Microsoft AXAPTA.

As the business grew more and the demands around IT became more complex, with ever more importance of no downtime and greater security threats, DNA and TM Blinds recognised the need to evolve and utilise more enterprise-class technology.

Utilising best in class technology for the time, DNA designed and implemented a new highly resilient IT infrastructure using VMware for server virtualisation. The new environment also consisted of a SAN with 10 TB of storage and a multi-node virtual machine environment with 20 virtual servers and Active Directory replacing SMB server.

This new infrastructure was hosted on-premise and was designed, implemented and managed by DNA. It was fully operational by 2012 and worked very well since being rolled out.

By 2017, the IT infrastructure was coming to end of life and again, DNA sat down with the management team of TM Blinds and began planning for what the next iteration of the IT environment would look like.

Due to the scale and growing importance of IT in the business, both TM Blinds and DNA felt that cloud technologies needed to be looked at as part of the future IT strategy.

DNA presented two strategies to TM Blinds – one that continues with the existing model for IT and refreshed the infrastructure every five years or so. The second strategy looked at the cloud option and considered all the major vendors in this space.

The financial realities of operating in the cloud were considered very carefully as this often proves to be a problem with cloud deployments. Sometimes the costs of operating from cloud environment are more expensive than in-house. As with most organisations, ensuring the financial impact of migrating to the cloud would also be a positive one, was a critical point of consideration for TM Blinds.

The outcome of the solution development workshop was that of all the Cloud platforms, the business case for the IBM Cloud was the best option – both technically and commercially. The IBM Cloud provides world class data centre facilities and enterprise levels of resilience and security.

The entire migration process was completed in under five months and went live in January 2019.

The IT infrastructure is now operated on a purely ‘on-demand’ model, in which the IT compute power scales to whatever is required by the business, with no hardware refresh cycles and the capability to expand rapidly, without having to buy new hardware etc.

Philip Casey, financial controller of TM Blinds said: “Moving to the IBM Cloud gave TM Blinds more options in every sense regarding IT and made things far more efficient in the long term. Our entire IT infrastructure is now run on an OPeX basis, so there is no waste and we are only paying for what we use, which is ideal for us.”

This case study was supplied by DNA IT Solutions

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