Supporting the Hughes Group

Hosting, Consultancy | Automotive

Eloquent Technologies support the Hughes Group as they go through a major hardware and server infrastructure upgrade

 


The challenge

The Hughes Group is a multi-franchise, automotive environment where individual manufacturers all have their own separate systems and pre-requisites. In terms of IT infrastructure, their legacy server created a complex and unique set of challenges and compatibility problems.

The solution

  • New on-premised VMWare platform

  • Virtualisation of legacy Windows 2003 infrastructure

  • New Microsoft RDS platform to replace the old Citrix services

  • IT support for new environment

  • IT consultancy, engineering for system build and migration

The benefits

  • The new server provides a better user experience and backup is much faster and more reliable

  • The VMWare platform performs reliably and efficiently with limited downtime and secured data including system image backups

  • Compatible with the latest version of Internet Explorer

  • Improved security and support


Background

The Hughes Group represents six brands across the Buckinghamshire area and are proud to employ over 250 staff across the region.

Beaconsfield is home to Mercedes-Benz, smart and Jeep facilities; Aylesbury offers Mercedes-Benz cars and light commercial vehicles together with a ŠKODA sales and after sales department; and the White Hill, High Wycombe Peugeot showroom provides both sales and after sales services. In addition to all the franchises, they have body shop facilities at the Beaconsfield location.

Steering wheel of car

Planning a complex migration

The Hughes Group had a legacy Citrix platform which had seen very few changes since its implementation in 2008, it was beyond upgrading.

Having sweated the asset as far as possible, they knew it was time to make some changes. They drafted in help from Eloquent Technologies, an IT provider with vast experience and expertise in the automotive industry, who initially supported the legacy Citrix platform while they considered an appropriate migration solution. Eloquent took over the third line support, dealing with technical, server-specific queries.

 

Meticulous deployment

Eloquent first had to stabilise the legacy platform, making initial changes such as structure testing, in the latter half of 2016. They also carried out rigorous testing on the applications for each branch of the business, setting up any special parameters as required.

There were some challenges with the old server over the Christmas period, so the plan to deploy the new server in a phased migration was accelerated and the new server environment was installed within an impressive eight weeks.

Eloquent deployed new hardware and onsite server infrastructure (VMWare platform), as well as providing consultancy and support to virtualise and migrate. There was no noticeable downtime and no data was lost.

Eloquent implemented solid hardware infrastructure, then they virtualised all the servers and software to run off the upgraded hardware. This meant that all data was now easy and simple to back up and restore, giving them the peace of mind and reassurance that they wouldn’t inadvertently turn something off and lose it forever! Once the hardware was stable, Eloquent were able to move the machines around, comfortable in the knowledge that everything would be backed up.

The final step of the process was winding down the Citrix platform, leaving the Hughes Group with a more reliable and secure modern computing environment.

 


"Excellent support"

- James Roberts, Senior IT System Administrator at The Hughes Group


 

“Eloquent's specialist engineers are very professional and were always on hand for any queries. David Ford also makes a point of letting us know that he can be called upon personally at any time of the day or night. This level of customer service is hard to find these days and has been a refreshing change.

"It was a challenging project for Eloquent, supporting such out-of-date equipment, but they have successfully provided us with a fit-for-purpose server environment, in an efficient and proactive manner.”

 

Robust support

David Ford, Director at Eloquent Technologies, added; “The Hughes Group had a complex legacy IT setup. The fundamental issue was that the old Citrix platform was too unreliable, costly and time-consuming to maintain any longer.

Having installed new hardware and a VMWare platform, we were able to provide them with a reliable and effective IT infrastructure, which will take them into the future.”

 


"We are always on hand to offer our expert knowledge"

- David Ford, Director at Eloquent Technologies


 

Future plans

The Hughes Group are now looking to implement a faster inter-site network in the near future, now that the server modernisation project is wrapping up. Newer products can increase performance at a nominal cost, and will improve connectivity speed, increase resilience and offer a better customer experience.