Subtracting the Struggle with Scale | ET Works
Case Study

Subtracting the Struggle with Scale

Maths charity MEI Finds the Perfect Equation for IT Efficiency

“The offering from Scale Computing seemed almost too good to be true.” Mansel Kersey – IT Manager

Finding the perfect cloud solution, at the right cost

Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI), a charity committed to improving lives through advances in maths education, needed to find a way to cap increasing costs as demands for their service grew. With a small team and tight budgets, running an on-premise infrastructure was considered out of reach.

ET Works delivered a solution from Scale Computing that allowed MEI to create its own in-house cloud on a flexible, easy-to-manage platform, with cost savings of around 75%.

Searching for a small, scalable, in-house cloud

MEI had a small number of VMs that were deployed directly into the cloud, but increasing egress fees, inflexible cloud t-shirt sizes, and rising management costs meant that the public cloud solution was no longer cost-effective. Increasing costs also impacted their ability to build and test improvements in a separate dev environment, limiting their ability to adapt as organisational requirements changed.
On-premise infrastructure had been considered in the past, but dismissed because it was thought to be expensive, resource-intensive to manage, and inflexible. MEI was looking for a small, scalable, in-house cloud.

Unexpected events demonstrated versatility

After an analysis of workloads and requirements, ET Works suggested Scale computing nodes, a hybrid storage profile (SSD and HDD), and a standalone Edge unit to replicate the data offsite when needed, e.g. in the event of a disaster. This was complemented with QNAP switches, the Acronis Cyber Cloud Backup Suite, and Scale Computing’s Fleet Manager to give VPN-less remote access and monitoring.
A proof-of-concept (POC) solution was in place at MEI for two weeks to ensure that the platform delivered against their criteria. During installation, an unexpected twist meant the building management system needed to be migrated, live, from a standalone PC into the Scale environment using Acronis – demonstrating the POC environment’s versatility and flexibility. Finally, once the live workload was up and running on the POC, this was also migrated using cluster replication.

A fit-for-purpose, future-ready, solution

With the new solution in place, MEI benefits from:

  • Increased Flexibility – Quick to scale up and down with no additional costs, and maintenance tasks can be carried out during business hours with no downtime.
  • Reduced Costs – Saving around 75% in deployment and running costs compared with the pure cloud model, the solution will pay for itself in less than 6 months.
  • Accelerated Dev/Ops – Self Service, cloning and replication with API integration allows the Dev team to make use of a larger compute resource pool which is more responsive, easier to manage, and keeps them on budget.
  • Future-Readiness – Lots of headroom (5x) for increased demand, as and when MEI needs it.
  • Better Performance – The organisation is already reporting that applications are more responsive than they were on the old platforms.

“Our cloud operations were initially fit-for-purpose but became increasingly expensive and complex to manage, pushing the limits of our budget and in-house expertise. We doubted our ability to afford or skilfully manage a private cloud or on-site infrastructure. However, by partnering with Scale Computing, with guidance from ET Works, we now have a manageable solution akin to the cloud’s simplicity, enhanced flexibility, and improved data protection, all while significantly reducing our cost base.

The offering from Scale Computing seemed almost too good to be true, given its competitive pricing. The proof of concept went smoothly, surpassing expectations by successfully migrating a BMS machine — a task our previous support company had deemed impossible. Upon delivery, the setup was completed within two hours.

ET Works has been exemplary from the beginning. Their professional demeanour, comprehensive guidance, and timely deployment of the solution were flawless. I have yet to find a single issue with their service.” Mansel Kersey – IT Manager

“As a customer, when your sole concern was whether it would fit in the rack, you could relax. Jon & ET Works team knew what they were doing, and the Scale Computing kit worked seamlessly, exactly as promised. Learning how to use Scale was made effortless by the breadth of knowledge Jon and the team provided.” Ché Weston – Application Support Specialist

Further Links:

Mathematics in Education and Industry (MEI) Website

ET Works and Scale Computing

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