Enabling a leading insurance company to become more agile whilst providing a disaster recovery solution using VDI technology

"BT Engage IT completed a detailed review of our existing infrastructure and desktop environment, basing their proposal for a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure from VMware on the findings. Their consultancy gave me real confidence to build the case for offshore support."

Glynn Edwards, Infrastructure Development Manager, esure 


Business challenge

  • esure wanted to increase productivity and reducelatency for its offshore developers 
  • Facilitate centralised support 
  • Ensure fail-safe disaster recovery


  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, scaleable to 60people 
  • HP StorageWorks 1000 Modular Smart Array 
  • 3 x HP ProLiant DL380 servers 
  • 1 x VMware ESX 3.0.2 sp1 for advanced management


  • esure has reduced latency for its offshore developers 
  • Intellectual property can now be accessed at any time by authorised personnel 
  • Disaster recovery ensures business continuity 
  • esure has decreased its environmental impact byreducing power consumption


Key relationship features

  • BT Engage IT provided a consultative and solutions-based approach 
  • BT Engage IT assisted esure in building a total understanding of its business issues and a picture of how latest technologies could resolve them 
  • BT Engage IT provided a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure precisely tailored to esure's business objectives
BT Engage IT provided Virtual Desktop Infrastructure for esure, a telephone and internet insurance company. Even before its fifth birthday the company gained one million customers, and it has since become one of the leading private motor insurance companies in Britain. To stay competitive it is always seeking new ways to improve customer service, and the delivery of this lies in the back office support.
With technology being so important to a business' development, a pilot project was identified to assess the value of a wholly centralised system. "I was specifically keen to reduce local support issues for esure's offshore developers," says Glynn Edwards, the Infrastructure Development Manager for esure. 

Latency an Issue

A group of 35 web developers and system testers were uploading their work overnight onto the esure servers. Due to issues with the technology the team could not make any amends until the uploading process was complete. Latency was a concern because it introduced a high cost of sale - UK employees could not readily access the intellectual property, meaning that valuable customer information was not immediately available.
esure set up a competitive tender to find the best solution and service offering.

"It was obvious to me that the BT Engage IT team could deliver. They completed a detailed review of our existing infrastructure and desktop environment and followed up with a workshop for our engineers to make sure the solution was workable," says Edwards. 


Geared for Disaster Recovery

Chosen for its ability to run on less hardware than other systems, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure from VMware delivers measurable power and cost savings. esure's solution incorporates a full model HP MSA and is initially scalable to 60 users, although it can easily be expanded using additional servers, disk-space or licenses. The slimline server configuration (3 x HP ProLiant DL380 servers and VMware ESX 3.0.2 sp1) provides advanced management features and is continuously monitored by VMware Distributed Resource Scheduler, a product that intelligently aligns the system to suit esure's business needs.This connects to an HA enabled cluster, ensuring automatic system and application recovery ispossible in the event of system failure. 
When a server failed during the early stages of the project, this was put to the test. "Thanks to the VirtualDesktop Infrastructure another server kicked inimmediately so we suffered no downtime and it was a case of 'business as usual', says Edwards. "We've now got a slim-line scaleable solution that's not only built for disaster recovery but hits our key objective of allowing UK employees to access the web designers' intellectual property from a central data centre at anytime. BT Engage IT provided excellent consultancy and delivered even better results; it may just be that this pilot could turn into a company wide project in future," concludes Edwards.

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