ABC Photosigns

Results up with hybrid storage real estate at ABC Photosigns

By transforming its critical infrastructure, ABC Photosigns has a fast, scalable, resilient foundation from which to run its current business and to springboard into a new online operation.  

ABC Photosigns is a one stop shop for all aspects of real estate marketing and advertising – from signage to photography, web design, car wraps and digital printing. Established in 1992, ABC has expanded from Melbourne to now have 180 employees and offices in all Australian capital cities, plus Wellington New Zealand.

The Challenge

In rationalising its IT estate, the key criteria became; vastly improved performance, reduced costs and ease of management. ABC Photosigns was also looking to lift staff productivity by cutting the downtime and frustrations resulting from end of life technologies.

The Solution

ABC Photosigns worked with CompNow to tick all the boxes with the implementation of a platform, including HPE Nimble Storage and HPE ProLiant servers, that currently hosts 32 applications and 64 TB of data for 150 users.

The Benefits
  • Reliability and simplicity reducing risk, management burden 
  • Predictive analysis solving issues before they arise – Help Desk tickets reduced by 80%
  • Virtualisation dramatically reducing energy consumption
  • Scaling for the future 
  • Staff productivity gains 

To stay ahead of our competitors we needed to be saving us and our clients time, keeping costs down & fostering growth. ABC’s future expansion relies on us being able to segue into an online business structure.

Gavin Peattie IT Officer,
ABC Photosigns

The Challenge

ABC Photosigns is an IT-dependent operation. Much of the value in its offering lies in the large datasets it holds – as ABC provides clients with campaign concept, layout design and development, hi-resolution images and associated software and system integration. It was struggling with an out of warranty, unreliable physical server and storage infrastructure that was putting the business at risk.

Gavin Peattie, IT Officer at ABC Photosigns says: “Our existing storage was a mess. The disaster recovery replication hadn’t been configured correctly, so it didn’t work – made worse as we’d sacrificed performance and support by choosing a low-cost vendor, and were relying on the limited English of a Thai help desk. We clearly needed a fresh approach.”

A new SAN environment was to deliver high performance and peace of mind.

The Solution

The initial conversations between ABC and CompNow quickly turned to the HPE offering with its streamlined data management and a game changing, AI driven toolset. 

CompNow’s fit for purpose HPE solution struck an immediate chord. “It was exactly in line with what we wanted. And CompNow was able to get some pretty sharp pricing because of its relationship with HP,” Gavin says. “They were also really helpful and flexible with how we needed to go about the project and work with other vendors.”

The approach was to deliver flash-enhanced storage architecture, combined with HPE InfoSight for predictive analytics. It is hybrid for mixed, primary workloads that also serve for backup and disaster recovery. Aruba switches were deployed as part of the modernisation program. With resulting fast, reliable access to data and 99.99% guaranteed availability.

“In a seamless process we migrated 64TB of data in one week, using compression to free up an additional 10TB,” Gavin says. “By archiving 40TB of older data, we made it much quicker to access popular files and it’ll save me a lot of work in the future.”

The revamped server infrastructure saw ABC’s 30 physical servers replaced by three HPE ProLiant DL360 Gen10 servers, virtualised on Hyper-V. Thirty two customised apps now run on virtual machines, along with the full suite of Adobe design products. 

“We rationalised our IT estate and made it much more efficient in just three weeks,” Gavin says. 

Through this exercise CompNow has become a trusted resource: “Getting the right advice is what IT and great outcomes are all about. I can call any time and they point me in the right direction,” he says.


The Benefits

ABC Photosigns’ transformation of its server and storage infrastructure has ticked all the boxes: a massive boost in performance, simplified management, reliable availability and lower energy consumption.

Previously, ABC had multiple people managing the hardware infrastructure. “Now we need just one because our new environment just gets on with the job. The instant notifications and predictive analysis identify issues before we even know about them. And we’ve got actionable visibility, all the reporting and statistics we need from a single dashboard,” he says.

ABC is also seeing a significant reduction in energy consumption – by reducing the number of servers, it is expecting to see $100,000 in savings each year. 

Help desk tickets have reduced from around 40 per week to under 10. So the IT team has “a more strategic focus, adding value to the business, rather than firefighting technical issues,” Gavin says.

Users are also more productive with fast access to all the information they need and no longer dealing with the frustrations of downtime.

“By refreshing our storage array and virtualising our servers, we’ve created a lean, agile environment that is simple to manage while delivering vastly improved performance. This project has transformed how we operate,” Gavin says.

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