Over 40 server workloads updated and migrated to a new on-premise hypervisor, a migration to Office 365 , an RDS migration, a new Azure hybrid cloud environment and a new automated Windows 10 and Intune deployment.
A4S Cloud Solutions have had the privilege of supporting our client Trent and Dove Housing to deliver their new business transformation initiative through the use of the repairs solution integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.
Trent and Dove Housing have recently completed the phase 1 go live of their new solution led brilliantly by Donna Powell who has been supported fantastically by her team.
Donna and her team have achieved possibly the smoothest phase 1 go lives we've ever experienced and this must be down to factors such as professionalism, hard work, diligence, choosing the right solutions and partners, and properly engaging with their own internal and external customers. The smooth go live was proudly announced here and received plenty of positive feedback and support from the Linkedin community. We're also planning a social event in the very near future to discuss this topic here.
Like any brilliant new home; the necessary foundations must be put in place to enable the project, and this is where the partnership between A4S and Trent and Dove Housing begins.
A4S have been brought in to provide the foundations to enable TDH to grow and to deliver incredible new capabilities without causing further pressure to their existing on-premise IT by seamlessly integrating Microsoft Azure public cloud services, the cloud services include: Infrastructure as a Service VM hosting, local and wide area networking, Azure Web Services, Azure DevOps, Dynamics 365, Azure AD Connect, Azure Front Door Services and Azure File Services.
Firstly A4S delivered our hybrid cloud solution using Microsoft only technologies, by extending the client's on-premise infrastructure we've enabled almost unlimited growth, flexibility and access to new services. Carefully working through a requirements capture and design process A4S understood and played back the clients requirements which included hosting their interface engine and Repairs solution in Azure with the appropriate connectivity back to on-premise. Azure VMs are being used to host the clients new hub integration engine.
Working with the repairs solution provider has been an interesting process, rather than take the traditional route of running the service on-premise A4S worked closely with Trend & Dove IT and the application vendor to host their solution securely within Azure where it is fully domain joined, integrated with Azure SQL and delivered to mobile clients via secure web services protected by Azure Front Door Services that automatically handles SSL offload and certificate renewal (how many of us have been caught out here!?). The repairs solution is also securely integrated into Dynamics 365. The Application vendor was unaware of how to utilise Azure SQL instances hence the A4S team led the way to fill that knowledge gap.
Azure Front Door
Azure Front Door Services was selected for its benefits such as security with Web Application Firewall and Denial of Service attack protection, and also for its management benefits including the automatic handling of certificate renewal.
Remote Desktop Services
In order to access the traditional repairs application on-premise with the necessary seamless single sign on login, performance and integration into the existing EUC environment the power of Microsoft Remote Desktop Services was harnessed allowing the client to apply fine grain management through modifying RDP settings and also the RDS related GPOs that many IT admins are familiar with. RDS resilience is achieved through clustering and load balancing where needed to ensure maximum up time. At the time of design and build Windows Virtual Desktop was not available in general release however this will no doubt become a clear option when scaling in the near future. To learn more about our end user compute services then please visit here: https://a4scloud.solutions/end-user-compute/
It was also decided where possible to take the 'serverless' route and Azure file storage was used to host various file repositories for the repairs solution and general interfacing to minimise cost, increase resilience and reduce complexity, see link here for more explanation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/storage/files/storage-files-introduction
Production and Non-Production
Two non-production environments for the repairs solution are built within Azure DevTest Labs with shut down and startup scripting in place to minimise costs, if you want to find out more then check out this link: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/services/devtest-lab/ and here: https://a4scloud.solutions/azure-dev-test-uat/
The clients Dynamics 365 environment is setup to include various non-production environments that are aligned to the repairs solution non-production instances in Azure, this is essential to ensuring a safe DevOps process and avoiding the risk of negatively effecting production environments. We do not specialise in Dynamics 365 currently and we worked closely with Donna's team to provide the necessary infrastructure, connectivity and integration with Azure AD and dynamic licensing assignment using groups replicated using the latest version of AADC, see link here for more information: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/hybrid/whatis-hybrid-identity
Licensing & Azure Consumption
A4S provide highly competitive Azure consumption and Microsoft licensing using our tier 1 partner Bytes Software Services and our able account manager Jon Legg, A4S partner with Bytes Software Services due to their capability to provide the best prices and also technical support where needed.
To ensure the infrastructure lights at Trent & Dove stay on; A4S provide ongoing technical support through our 4th line Service Operations as a Service solution announced here, we augment the clients on-premise support teams with a hybrid cloud focused support package and undertake activities such as proactive support and upskilling of the clients staff!
Service Design & Transition
For delivering new solutions and services' our Service Design and Transition Teams provide the necessary experience, diligence, skills and professionalism to deliver the right solutions at the right time, this means right sizing and leveraging the power of the clients on-premise infrastructure augmented with Azure cloud services to provide a powerful, flexible and secure hybrid-cloud solution.
Our deliveries are undertaken with total transparency and the highest levels of professionalism, to find out more about our Service Design and Transition Team please read here.
Working closely with an amazing client team already under their own pressures, creating new relationships, sharing the pressure, jointly learning, and sometimes making mistakes that we learn and recover from is a growing experience and one we highly appreciate so thank you to the Trent and Dove team!
In summary; we believe that a hybrid cloud delivery has enabled our clients journey to deliver business transformation and we greatly look forward to building on this relationship to help our client more in the future.
Would you like to know more about our hybrid cloud approach and this delivery?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or meet up to grab a coffee ☕.