Blog

Blog

Creative Concern case study

Creative Concern is a full-service media agency located in the heart of Manchester, and it believes that creative, compelling and compassionate communications can make the world a better place. With around 30 staff and associates it’s a busy office with a design studio of around 10 people, a digital team and several account managers. It’s primarily a Mac house using Adobe Cloud applications for creative work, and Linux servers for shared filestore and for hosting client websites.

Creative Concern moved office in May and we helped them upgrade internet connectivity and to build a new office network providing faster response times, greater resilience and improved redundancy.

The problem(s)

  • The disaster recovery plan needed to be made more robust - there was a significant power outage in the old office building when the basement flooded seriously damaging the mains power into the building - the Creative Concern office was shut for 5 days. The disaster recovery plan worked reasonably well but having some servers running in the office was a weak point. It was decided to move all production servers off-site onto our VPS servers in datacentres.
  • Real-time replication back-up of the email server from a physical office server to an off-site VPS server was causing some problems with mail getting stuck in a queue on the office server, so overnight backup was implemented - this worked well although it meant that out of hours access to mail was often slow.
  • The main server for design work, account management files, finance and admin worked well and was robust, but access to the client account files was slow, particularly for accessing large design files.
  • The film and video team were storing multiple local backups and archived film on multiple external hard drives, and film editing was done on local machines, meaning that workflows were increasingly inefficient.

The solution

Faelix upgraded the connectivity from wireless leased line 100Mbit/sec to a 1Gbit circuit. Faelix is a registered supplier on the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme supported by Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). The scheme provided Creative Concern with financial support which covered the full cost of installing the 1GB connectivity.

With the enhanced connectivity we were able to:

  • move replicating servers to a datacentre in another city
  • we moved the IP phone system off-site to a local datacentre
  • we moved mail servers off-site to local datacentre, replicated to a second datacentre
  • Creative Concern used to own local servers - now VPS hosting servers are provided by Faelix which means that they no longer have to refresh/buy upgraded hardware
  • Time Machine is used to back up all staff computers - the internal network was upgraded to a 10Gbit fibre spine to local PoE switches with 1GB fibre to three Time Machine file stores (still local in the office in a small network cabinet)

We have a much improved reliable, fast and resilient system that is future proof for a modest increase in costs. The move into our new premises was flawless in terms of systems move and the business impact on lost staff time was minimal. Faelix is a superb supplier and we’d recommend them to anyone.

"Creative Concern network with showing 10Gbit fibre spine

Results

Creative Concern has a fast reliable system for the access and management of all it’s data. It’s robust, meets stringent conditions for disaster recovery planning and has improved staff workflows:

The new system has resulted in significant improvements to the workflow in the film department, in terms of efficiency, costs and data safety. The fast connection now allows our editors to work directly from the server, eliminating the need to edit from localised drives, and sharing film editing projects between editors is faster and more efficient. We’re saving from 2-10 hours in data copying and back-up time per project which was tying up staff and machines.“

Claire Bend, Film Producer and Editor