Pilot Group Limited

Our Client

Pilot Group Services are a large conglomerate whose breadth of services span multiple industries. With an annual turnover of £7M the company provides everything from scanning equipment for the NHS, LED flashlights for speed limit signs, bespoke heating and cooling technology for Arriva and Stagecoach as well as owning a host of property companies.

The solution

Multiple location Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)

The decision was to make significant changes to the hosting environment in order to improve the WMS performance; a project which ran for 18-24 months involving multiple levels of sign off and ROI scoping. Pilot Group initially chose public cloud provider Azure, but it soon became clear that the network latency and overall performance negatively impacted their system. That’s when M247 stepped in.

The M247 private cloud, built on industry leading hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) technology, including VMware vSphere, coupled with VMware vSAN. Fast SSD and NVMe storage was combined with vSAN to provide a resilient and high performing environment to run critical business applications.

“No one even noticed that we’d switched over. The fact that the business was unaware and didn’t know what was happening speaks volumes – no impact, no downtime, it just happened.”

Keith Bond, Service Operations Manager Pilot Group

The challenge

Minimal latency and enhanced performance

Following a period of significant growth, including the acquisition of new entities there was an increased need for robust and resilient data centers (DCs). Ageing technological infrastructure built upon legacy systems had resulted in performance degradation, meaning an overhaul of the software-based Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) was needed.

In addition, their telephony system had recently been migrated to VoIP, placing more emphasis on the network than ever before. Both their infrastructure and WMS needed replacing to ensure minimal latency between data center and offices, increasing resilience and enhancing performance.


Triangulated MPLS network increased resiliency and efficiencies

M247’s private cloud solution enabled Pilot Group to triangulate the MPLS network to allow everything, including the VoIP telephony, to benefit from a resilient network. The level of redundancy was far greater than anything that could be achieved elsewhere, either internally or externally.

This meant the overall platform performance was significantly enhanced when compared against the previous on-site solution and Azure public cloud service, reducing time to run VM backups and boosting critical business applications running on the platform. The private cloud environment from M247 reduced Pilot Groups outgoing costs compared to the Azure public cloud service initially trialled too.


Multiple levels of sign off and ROI scoping

Pilot Group took a considered and phased approach to the roll-out of its private cloud. Significant testing was undertaken initially to ensure there would be no impact to business, with small changes made along the way to make it simpler and easier when the full switch over occurred.

Managing Director, Chris Pearson put it perfectly: We didn’t even have to waste our evenings and weekends moving virtual machines, everything could be done during the day using VMware’s vMotion functionality.

The result

Cost and time savings, improved efficiency

Following the implementation, Pilot Group have resolved their hardware issues and improved team efficiency with significantly less time spent on hosting issues. The private cloud has delivered a huge improvement to performance with data backup speeds increasing from 10-14 Mbps to 140-240 Mbps.

Pilot Group has also benefited from an unexpected cost saving, since it’s existing network contract, which still had a year to run, was renegotiated as part of the upgrade and extended For three years with scope to reduce costs.

Managing Director, Chris Pearson, commented further saying, “It’s like the changes have been made invisibly from start to finish, and that’s simply amazing to see no impact at all!”

Key points

  • Fuss-free migration of systems, resulting in no business impact or downtime
  • 1700% increase in bandwidth from 14 Mbps to 240 Mbps
  • Failover solution to M247’s cloud provides reassurance and peace of mind that anytime access to data is guaranteed
  • Increased resilience and enhanced performance of two business critical areas
  • Triangulation of MPLS network to ensure the best performance and network resilience

About M247

Your global technology partner for growth

Supporting over 10,000 customers across 110 countries worldwide we help accelerate growth through smarter cloud technology thinking, faster connectivity and stronger infrastructure solutions.

Our aim is ensuring technological innovation remains at the forefront of everything we do. And our agile approach enables customers to make the best choice available designed to suit their needs and budget. Our service is also backed by the reassurance of stronger faster connections delivered through one of the most extensive internet exchange footprints in the world.

Whether you’re dealing with the complexity of multiple sites and a growing network or the technology demands of growing workloads and offering increasingly flexible workspace, our promise is that we’ll keep the complex simple and always be honest and transparent with you.

“I know I have a solution that is flexible enough to accommodate growth and this can be done quickly with no downtime or business impact to support future business expansion.”

Keith Bond, Service Operations Manager, Pilot Group Limited