Digital Transformation Company of the Year
Scholar was established in 2014 as an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider. In 2017, following a surge in client demand for managed services we rolled out our three-tiered Managed Service Plans to existing and new clients. We designed our Managed Service Plans to cater for a variety of different size businesses. Having recently come out of the start-up phase of our business, we understood the need to be able to offer affordable, high quality cloud managed service to smaller businesses, as well as the ability to scale the managed service to meet the demands of larger organisations.
When we looked at our key competitors in the market, SME’s were being delivered a diluted and limited cloud managed service, due to fixed monthly supports caps or simply getting lost in the sea of other higher paying larger businesses. We wanted our managed services to be commercially sound, but also give each client the same level of technical support they required to have their cloud infrastructure support their business needs now and as they grew.
Key to this success was being able to deliver an infrastructure planning services, as part of the initial onboarding and consultation phase. Many new clients that came to us for a Managed Cloud Service with existing cloud environments, which weren’t working for them; either from a commercial standpoint or from a resilience and security prospective. With key clients we work with their senior management teams; both on the technical and commercial ends of the business, to understand their requirements at a business and technical level, as well as their frustrations and concerns with their current cloud hosting set-up.
Many of our clients run uptime critical systems, so security and resilience is key. Our consultative and business focused approach allowed us to gain access and insight at a senior management level of the business, which in turned resulted in greater business value and buy-in from key stakeholders, that extended beyond just providing an out of the box cloud managed service solution.
One example of providing an innovative managed service was with a key client who had a large AWS cloud infrastructure environment, who we migrated to a multi-site hybrid cloud infrastructure model, saving them over approximately £20,000 per annum on their cloud infrastructure spend. Due to an NDA the client cannot be named, but we can provide a testimonial and details on the project.
Scholar was recommended to the company from an existing client, to conduct a technical review of their existing AWS Cloud Hosting environment. The company required a technical and commercial assessment of their current cloud infrastructure set-up, to explore where they could improve resilience, as well as areas which could be consolidated to save on their monthly cloud infrastructure billing.
Our team worked closely with the client’s internal development and management team, to get a detailed understanding of the services hosted in the AWS environment. Due to the concurrent high-uptime nature of the company’s services, the hosted software had extremely high IOPS activity and disk space usage. Due to the Instance sizing restrictions on AWS, this meant the company had to regularly upgrade their Instance sizes, to accommodate extra compute resource requirements. This led to an ever increasing infrastructure spend and an inflated cost model, which would continue to grow.
After delivering the technical and cost assessment report it was clear that the company would benefit from migrating to a hybrid infrastructure model, to better suit their infrastructure requirements. After consultation with the company’s management team, we were ask to propose a hybrid model, with a migration plan for moving the clients cloud infrastructure onto the Scholar Network and VMware Cloud platform:
• We proposed physical dedicated servers for their high intensity database workloads, which would allow for them to utilise dedicated hardware to process and manage the scaling and IOPS intensive element of their systems.
• For their other less IOPS intensive workloads we proposed utilising cloud virtualisation, with tailored VM’s to fit their specific requirements. The fixed instance model on AWS was not the most cost or resource efficient solution, so it was decided that the company would migrate their services to our VMware Cloud platform to allow for them to have customised VM’s, with the ability to add in single compute resource (vCPU, RAM, Disk space) when required to allow for a more predictable cost model.
• The Backup Strategy also needed to be strengthened to allow for the company to restore from backup in the event of an incident. We proposed an offsite backup to two diverse locations. We used Veeam Enterprise Snapshot Backups and Agent Based Scholar Cloud Backup, which were backed-up to a secondary location, away from the main workloads.
• The services were extremely uptime critical, so we integrated a number of safe guards into their hosting topology which included: load balanced and highly available configurations of the VMs, the ability to live migrate VM’s to avoid downtime, as well as 24/7 emergency response for production services.
After extensive testing and UAT a migration plan was agreed with the client, with the migration taking place throughout the night and completing at 7am in the morning. The end result for the client was a successful migration onto a hybrid infrastructure model, coupled with a 30% monthly cost saving on their overall infrastructure spend. Commercially this was estimated to save the client £20,000 per annum.
As we own and manage our own ISP network, cloud platform and in-house senior technical managed service team, we provide clients with a one-stop-shop for their business infrastructure requirements. Where many of our competitors would either outsource, or charge huge sums of money to bolt on professional services for consultation with the client, we approach it differently. We believe that by working with a client to plan out their cloud infrastructure architecture, we have the opportunity to really understand their business. By understanding their core objectives and services we’re then in a stronger position to be able to effectively design and manage a resilient hosted environment for them.
We currently offer managed service on our VMware Cloud platform, as well as being able to offer Managed Cloud Services on AWS. By being able to offer Managed Cloud Services on both our own Scholar VMware Cloud and AWS, we’re able to work with a large range of clients. It’s also allows for us to offer, where appropriate, suggestions and alternatives for implementing a different hosted set-up – like in the case study above.
Cloud is fantastic for many businesses, but it should not be the only option for businesses. Some businesses require a mix of technologies and set-ups to optimise their performance. This is what we can give them as we’re not tied to just offering cloud service or reselling other third party software.
We have an expansive tool box of cloud services and solutions which allow our clients to have the choice of whether to co-locate on premise equipment and have it managed, migrate fully to cloud or have a hybrid set-up for their different workloads. This offers clients huge benefits and we have been pleased to have grown Scholar organically and predominately via referrals. All our key accounts have come from referrals from industry contacts or existing clients. This speaks volumes for how we have grown our reputation and the strength of staying true to your original mission.
We set out to provide senior level infrastructure and managed service to clients running high-uptime, critical workloads. We now work with international cyber security companies, telecoms, ecommerce, software development and communication companies, who entrust Scholar to build, manage and monitor their critical business workloads.
Please see below some recent client testimonials:
CEO, Telecoms client:
“We were referred to Scholar to help with our AWS management costs. It was becoming evident that our spend on AWS was growing month-on-month, so we approached Scholar to do a health check and provide us with recommendations. What we walked away with was a solution which introduced cost savings, coupled with a more resilient infrastructure set-up. It is rare to work with a partner that provides such a high standard of service from day one. Scholar’s Technical Director challenged our way of thinking and put forward solid and well thought through suggestions, on how to strengthen our infrastructure set-up. We look forward to working with Scholar for many more years to come.”
“From the start I was impressed with Scholar’s genuine interest to understand my business, before recommending any of their Managed Services or cloud hosting solutions. They had been highly recommended to me from another business, to help me streamline my hosting and remove my own personal stress for managing the server-side aspect of the business. The whole team is easy and friendly to deal with, which made the whole process enjoyable. I know Scholar is managing my hosted Linux infrastructure 24/7, which enables me to focus on the other parts of my business which helps drive it forward. I would have no hesitation in recommending Scholar to other businesses.”
“Scholar has a solid team of engineers who maintain our cloud infrastructure environment. It was a seamless transition with Scholar taking over our AWS environment and they brought a senior skill-set to our technical resources. They are a friendly team to deal with; both at an account management and technical level, which makes working with easy and fluid. We look forward to working with Scholar for many more years to come.”
Links to case studies: https://www.scholarwebservices.com/case-studies/
Link to our Managed Service Plans: https://www.scholarwebservices.com/managed-services/