ECM Australia

Building a successful future for ECM in the cloud.

ECM is a leading construction and maintenance company servicing the energy, oil, gas, infrastructure, and mining industries. Based in Western Australia, ECM is considered one of Australia’s premier Electrical and Instrumentation (E&I) contractors and has diversified into Structural, Mechanical and Piping (SMP), Telecommunications and even the green energy space.

As the mining and construction industries have boomed in Western Australia, so has business for ECM. Over the past seven years, they have grown from a $70M company to a $300M company.

Prior to entering into the cloud space, ECM chose to move to a hosted data centre. Over the following few years, with a significant investment in their data centre, ECM’s IT department believed the existing solution reached its expected capacity. Throughout their time leveraging their on-premises and hosted data centre, their team realised that using virtualised machines in a hosted data centre was not sustainable to support the company’s growth.

ECM was faced with a choice to either expand their existing technical estate, or look for another solution. As cloud services in Australia matured, the Capital Expenditure vs. Operational Expenditure benefits became clearer with a move to the cloud. ECM decided it was time to leverage cloud based services and computing.

Challenges

With the promise of a scalable solution at lower prices, ECM decided to migrate all applications and services to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and needed a partner to help them.

With ECM being based in Western Australia, DSG was not their initial preference. However, after their local vendor failed to deliver the recommended AWS design and implementation, ECM leveraged AWS’ partner network and contacted DSG for assistance in migrating to AWS.

Given the tight deadlines and expiring contract at ECM’s hosted data centre, DSG was under delivery pressure from the onset. ECM had one million files to shift, and a deadline that was imperative to meet. Craig Roberts, ECM’s ICT manager explains, “The main challenge DSG had was getting up to speed. They only had 45 days to assess the environment, design the environment and deliver the environment.”

“If we didn’t reach those dates we would have had to renew our contract with the data centre. Every month we delayed was going to cost us.

We removed the contractor on the Wednesday, we spoke to DSG on the same day and they were out here on Friday morning. They hit the ground running and they just did not stop.”

Bullets:

  • Designed and deployed a new AWS Foundation
  • Migrate productionised servers to the cloud with minimum outage windows
  • Delivered a Citrix environment hosted in AWS
  • Maintained mobility of field staff during the migration

The process

Roberts explains, “The first thing DSG identified was that the network foundations the previous contractors had designed were old school. They had been designed around the (rigid) data centre mentality, not the (flexible) cloud mentality.”

As an Amazon Web Services (AWS) Managed Services Partner, DSG immediately made a set of recommendations based on AWS best practice, and provided the business case to get key stakeholders across these changes. Getting straight to work, DSG’s team quickly scrapped the existing AWS Foundation, and deployed a Foundation reflective of AWS best practices and the cloud’s flexibility.

“By the next morning we had a new foundation in place and a new network was built. And then we started to work on the servers we had and to plan the staged migration of business critical systems.”

Given the tight timeframes, DSG developed a flexible plan that allowed them to migrate and do user acceptance testing on the fly.

“Without that staged, Agile approach, we wouldn’t have been able to hit our end date.”

With ECM staff spread across Australia, a solution was also required to ensure everyone could access applications in real time, with no speed or drop out issues. “DSG delivered, a Citrix solution. They solutioned it, they designed it and they delivered it. This now enables us to deliver applications (via Citrix) to all branches without any latency issues.”

The results

It was critical that DSG hit the delivery dates, because, as Roberts explains, “We forecast that every month we delayed would have cost us $70,000 in data centre costs.”

By using an Agile approach, DSG was able to deliver the project in time.

In moving to the cloud, ECM expected improvements to their flexibility and IT costs, and they weren’t disappointed.

“There is a whole lot of flexibility from the DSG and AWS solution that we just didn’t have in on-premises,” explains Roberts.

Now they have the ability to use their IT resources more efficiently. “Depending on requirements we can boost stuff up, turn stuff off and schedule and allocate the resources as we need to based on demand. “

The overall result has been a 36% saving on their overall IT costs.

“We even surpassed the savings forecast by Amazon thanks to DSG’s help.”

Final thoughts?

On his experiences with DSG, Roberts says, “I can’t recommend them enough.

Their dedication to the project, to getting the right solutions was excellent. They worked with us to get us the best possible solution. They’re not just working for themselves to make money.

There was constant communication. Any queries, problems or risks the guys would raise it straight away. And when they raised a risk, they weren’t just coming to us with problems, they were coming to us with thought-out solutions which helped save time.

The easiest way to describe it is; DSG are just easy to work with.”

  • Services Delivered

  • Cloud Migration
  • Cloud Strategy
  • Managed Cloud