Linton Fuel Oils Case Study

February 12, 2014

Making sure the delivery business runs smoothly Linton Fuel Oils built an outstanding reputation for quality based on a thorough knowledge of the products and services that they sell and the sectors in which they work. They operate an efficient fleet of road tankers dedicated to their customer’s needs.

One key factor in their success has been their effective use of IT to deliver highly efficient operational benefits and efficient back office processing. To ensure that they were using the very best in computing they engaged IT Architechture Ltd to help and guide them.

Over a number of years IT Architechture Ltd has provided Linton Fuel Oils with products and services that has maintained and enhanced Linton’s business operations through low personnel overheads.

A crucial requirement in Linton Fuel Oil’s effective operation is the need for continuous IT systems availability. If they ever lost the service or data, their whole business might be at risk. Nilesh Patel, IT Manager at Linton Fuel Oils, said – “As part of our drive to new levels of quality management, we realised that we needed a solid business continuity plan. When we considered the impact of losing our Windows based business servers, we knew that we had to protect them in a much more reliable fashion”. Nilesh turned to IT Architechture Ltd and asked them to make some suggestions as to how Linton could better enhance their IT infrastructure.

The challenge was to provide a high level of uptime of business applications and to build in fault tolerances into the backend systems without the need to stretch the IT budget.

After a series of consultation meetings with IT Architecture, a number of solutions were put forward.
Amongst them was Cloud, Virtualisation and physical servers based on SAN network. The Cloud solution was discounted because it relied on ADSL connections which do not have Service Level Agreements (SLA), and to ensure connectivity with a guaranteed SLA, Linton would need to move to a leased line based connection. This would be rather an expensive option.  Virtualisation was only effective if a full hyper V or VM solutions was implemented which meant you can backup full virtual HDD’s. However this solution was geared and priced for larger enterprises.

The solution which best suited Linton’s business model was HP starter SAN solution configured with an Active/Passive SQL server backend, with built in redundancy of two uninterrupted power supply units in the event of a power failure.

The SAN solution has many attractions: firstly the disk array could be expanded to allow for extra storage without the need of rebuilding the whole data array. Secondly, The Fail Over solution for SQL servers meant that the down time was kept to a minimum; in fact it was a matter of seconds. Furthermore, having servers in-house allowed Linton to have maximum control over their data and servers.

A further benefit with the added storage is that it allowed Linton to reduce the dependancy on  the expensive ADSL based offsite backup. By using Veritas Backup Exec, Linton now backups to disk which then get copied onto tape for offsite storage. The solution provided Linton with more control on their media sets by having monthly backups which span over 12 months and archive backups to WORM tapes which can be kept indefinitely.