Oliver & Co Solicitors are an outstanding North West legal firm, offering comprehensive legal advice and support to individuals, their families and businesses alike. They serve a nationwide client base from their office in Chester.
After discussing their setup and goals further, and gaining a deeper understanding about what they expected from their initial move to the Cloud, we were able to start scoping a new solution for them. Being in a highly regulated industry meant security and compliance was a top priority. They also wanted a solution that was flexible; it needed to grow with them and change to suit their needs in the future. Additionally, it needed to be compatible with their line of business application, and, of course, affordable. With all this in mind, our Azure Managed Service became the clear solution.
We began by taking a full backup of their infrastructure, which was necessary to ensure complete security. The next stage was to replicate their current setup in Azure. We needed to provision a domain controller, a file server, and a server for their ESET antivirus solution. The domain controller replicated their permissions into the Cloud, meaning there was no password or permission changes for the end users – essentially, we did the hard work for them at an admin level. Once these were built, the final stage was moving their line of business application. This required an app server and some RDSs as well.
Azure Costing Models
Azure is charged by the second on a ‘pay as you go’ basis. However, if your infrastructure is long-term and stays relatively stable, you can ‘reserve’ your Virtual Machines for 12 or 36 months giving you huge discounts of up to 60%. This is essentially committing to pay for that server for the specified length of time and is called a ‘Reserved Instance’.
What Risc typically do is show a customer what the ‘pay as you go’ costs will be for an initial period of one or two weeks. Following that, we have a proof of concept period where the allocated resources will be measured to ensure adequate performance and suitability. At the stage where everything is running perfectly and all parties are happy, we then commit to 12 or 36 months to apply discounts. For us, this is the right way to approach Azure.
All of this was performed over a weekend: the users logged out at 4pm on Friday, and by 8am Monday everything was complete with an immediately noticeable improvement in performance.
The beauty of true Cloud computing, like Azure, is the facility to scale up and down and flex requirements to suit changing needs rather than being limited by physical servers. Being in Azure meant we were able to do just that. After a few weeks of measuring their performance, we decided that it could be enhanced even more by increasing their RAM and this would only be a small change in cost. This upgrade simply wouldn’t have been possible on an on-premise server, or on their old ‘Cloud’ infrastructure.