ICT convergence means that network, application and infrastructure are no longer separate entities. They are strung together like a pulley system - pull on one strand and the others move and distort. The challenge is finding the balancing point where the three entities work optimally together to support current business requirements, while simultaneously maintaining the ability to support future business needs. SAS was one of the UK’s first Service Providers to anticipate and address these interdependencies and their collective influence over end-user experience.
SAS’s Managed Infrastructure Services are built around the fundamental principle that each application will have its own set of interdependencies. These need to be evaluated and understood so that the enabling technology environment can be shaped to support the application path. In simple terms it means that aspects such as interoperability and interconnectivity between legacy software, hardware, and operating systems must be predicted and overcome; that disaster recovery environments take into account both data and application backup; and that the benefits of new technologies do not increase security risks etc.
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Virtualization is the single most effective way to reduce IT expenses while boosting efficiency, agility and business continuity planning - not just for large enterprises, but for small and midsize businesses too. The benefits of virtualization are nothing short of dramatic: up to 80% greater utilisation of every server; reductions in hardware requirements by a ratio of 10:1 and capital and operational expenses reduced by 50%.
SAS’s virtualization services cover 3 core solutions: (1) migration from traditional physical infrastructure to virtualized infrastructure (2) development of locally resilient virtualized infrastructure (3) development of geographically resilient virtualized infrastructure. SAS uses VMware vSphere & Microsoft Hyper-V for its virtualization solutions. Both are world leaders, cited by Gartner, and have a proven track record for reliability among FTSE and Fortune 100 companies.
Cloud computing has proven to be one of the great disruptive technologies of our time. The impact of its increasing adoption (and maturing) will continue to ripple over the next few years. We are experiencing the democratisation of enterprise technology. Mirroring what has happened in consumer technology, enterprise technology users will increasingly look for services to be delivered on demand, to a time and place of their choosing and in a way that they want.
When it comes to the Cloud, one size does not fit all. SAS provides a menu of Cloud services from Microsoft and Colt to enable Cloud solutions to be tailored to meet customers’ exact requirements. SAS’s portfolio of Cloud services has been shaped around the need for flexibility and uses some of the best products available. These include Microsoft Windows Azure and Microsoft Office 365.
The ability to recover from a disaster or unexpected event has never been more acute. Natural disaster, human error, virus infection, hardware, software and power failures are all risks. SAS designs, deploys and supports best-in-class disaster recovery and business continuity infrastructure and processes. This includes virtual and physical server environments; on-premise and Cloud-based infrastructure; locally resilient and geographically separated infrastructure environments.
We take the view that all data is not created equal. We will work with you to identify and build a recovery plan (see graphic) that prioritises your mission critical data. We also look beyond the data centre and address the recovery of important data held on laptops and mobile devices. Our solutions engage the industry’s leading brands including BT, Colt and Level 3 for network; HP, VMware, Digital Realty and Cisco for infrastructure; and Microsoft and Symantec for the application element.
Although backups represent a simple form of disaster recovery and should be part of a disaster recovery plan, backups alone should not be considered disaster recovery. Data backups are designed for the rapid recovery of operational data, while data archiving stores data that is no longer in day-to-day use but must still be retained. Backups have two distinct purposes: (1) to recover data after its loss (2) to recover data from an earlier time, according to a user-defined data retention policy.
SAS’s backup and archiving solutions are designed to ‘backup from anything, to anything’ and facilitate easy restoration. Our solutions, all from leading vendors, enable backups to be made from both physical and virtual devices and enable us to tailor solutions to fit the exact requirements of our customers. Our backup and archiving partners include Microsoft Azure and Symantec.
Active Directory domain controllers authenticate and authorise users. They also list all objects within the Windows enterprise environments including users, workstations, laptops, files and printers. They support the centralised management, configuration and control of security protocols applied to each device across the network.
Vital though AD controllers are, over time they proliferate across multi-site estates and become unwieldy and more difficult to manage. This inflates the maintenance, licencing and support overheads. SAS provides an audit service aimed at reducing the number of AD controllers and has achieved savings of up to 85%.
Email remains the predominant form of communication with over 140 billion emails being sent and received daily. SAS has a well-established capability supporting Microsoft Exchange that extends from its first iteration - Microsoft Mail, first launched in 1988. Customers have included small businesses through to some of the UK’s best known brands - including The Body Shop and BC Partners, a world leader in private equity with an investment portfolio valued at over £69 billion.
We design, install & configure enterprise class email services (including calendar, task & presence functionality) to provide resilient and secure single-site and multi-site solutions. The service is 24/7 monitored via our Network Operations Centre and we provide ongoing support and administration for aspects such as new user creation, security groups and archival systems. We also provide migration services, infrequently from legacy or other email solutions, but more often from on-premise to the Cloud.
Microsoft System Center is a suite of server products designed to help IT administrators manage a network of Windows Server and client desktop systems. They capture and aggregate knowledge about your infrastructure, policies, processes and best practices so that you can optimise your IT structure to reduce costs, improve application availability and enhance service delivery. SAS’s particular area of expertise is with the setting-up of Configuration Manager – one of the core components of the product set.
Configuration Manager is designed to enable administrators to manage the deployment and security of devices and applications across a multi-site enterprise (aspects of which are featured in the table shown) and include features specifically designed to support the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend - including the remote wipe of corporate data. Configuration Manager also manages application deployments (and updates) on a device or group basis, allowing for automated patching and policy enforcement.
Alongside our server virtualization services, we also manage the procurement, installation and configuration of physical servers and their operating systems for some of the UK’s leading organisations. We also provide server maintenance and upgrades (both remotely and onsite) plus 24/7 monitoring. The remote maintenance aspects include patching, anti-virus updates, defrags and ticket-based fault resolution while onsite we can help with everything from component replacement to a full server health check.
When advising on server infrastructure, we evaluate the intended role for the equipment. Is it (for example) a file server, a VMWare server, or a domain controller? We’ll consider performance standards and capacity across Disk, CPU and RAM. We’ll factor in the number of users, the type of applications being run, and the operating criteria in test and production environments. During server configuration we’ll update firmware, configure disks and connectivity and we’ll put it through a soak test.
Data storage requirements are growing exponentially. SAS has almost 25 years’ experience designing, installing, configuring and supporting both on-premise and Cloud-based storage solutions. We also have an in-house application development capability and this uniquely enables us to offer a joined-up service comprising flexible storage options plus the ability to drill into that data and pull back useful business intelligence. We’ve some great examples we can talk you through.
Our on-premise solutions are Storage Area Network based - offering the benefits of fast access speeds, high availability, easier maintenance and the automation of routine tasks (such as data backup) for operational data. Our Cloud storage solutions are tailored to support secure, affordable, volume archiving of dormant or less critical data, where access and recovery times are perhaps less important. In both cases, we can provide a range of disaster recovery solutions.
As mentioned earlier, SAS has an in-house application development capability with over 15 years’ experience supporting some of the UK’s best known brands - including G4S, Debt Line and Sir Robert McAlpine.
We hold Microsoft Gold status for application development and have developed some impressive custom applications (and Business Intelligence tools) which take raw data from disparate sources, process it, and then enable insightful business reports to be generated.
The desktop computing market is in a state of flux presenting companies with an opportunity to rethink everything. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables businesses to transform the way that desktop software is accessed by staff, and managed by IT administrators.
SAS designs, deploys and supports on-premise and Cloud-based virtual desktop & virtual application solutions from Microsoft and Colt. Our Cloud-based solutions include MS Azure and Colt vCloud. Our on-premise solution is from Microsoft Remote Desktop Services via Windows Server 2012 R2. The solutions are 24/7 monitored and fully supported by SAS.
We support two versions of VDI: Virtual Desktop and Virtual Applications. In the Virtual Desktop environment, the On-premise (or Cloud) server supplies both the Operating System and the Apps to the desktop. The desktop runs a thin client.
In the Virtual Applications environment, the On-premise (or Cloud) server supplies only the Applications to the desktop - such as Microsoft Office or CRM. In this case the desktop still runs the OS.