Case study: CGA Strategy
Optimising existing Azure infrastructure for cost, performance and resilience
Collating data and delivering insight to the pubs, bars and restaurants industry through the cloud
CGA specialise in market measurement, consumer research and location planning for the out-of-home food and drinks market. They gather supply, demand and consumer data and then combine this together to provide an accurate picture of the market which can then be used by drinks manufacturers, consumer brand owners, food suppliers and wholesalers as well as pub, bar and restaurant retailers and government entities.
They offer a range of services to customers to help them plan, measure and deliver new opportunities through a range of cloud applications including Rise, their sales planning and outlet prospecting tool, and Brand Track which allows users to understand the relationship between consumers and brands.
CGA has built their applications in the Microsoft Azure cloud which allows customers to access tools and information from anywhere as well as give them flexibility to upgrade the infrastructure when required.
As CGA’s business has grown the number of users of their applications and the amount of information stored has increased. This meant that they were continually adding resources to their Azure infrastructure and encountered a number of problems including:
- Increased costs - By adding more and more resources costs kept increasing
- Performance - Resources were not being used efficiently and effectively so there were a number of infrastructure failures which resulted in applications not being available to users
- Infrastructure management - The CGA IT team managed their own infrastructure and when there was a problem this took them away from their day to day jobs developing and delivering CGA applications which was both expensive and time consuming
CGA were also being supported by a Microsoft Cloud Solution Partner who provided additional Azure support and expertise for new applications development but they were not proactive and took too long to resolve infrastructure problems.
When igroup were first called in by CGA they carried out a thorough review and audit of the existing infrastructure. This included looking at a number of key areas including:
- The number of users accessing applications at one time
- The existing setup and configuration of the infrastructure
- When resources were needed the most
- How often business critical issues were occurring
- How resources were being managed and allocated within the infrastructure
- The time and resources taken to fix issues
igroup consultants ran a series of workshops with the CGA IT team to understand their cloud requirements and future needs to support the business as it grows.
Following the initial audit and workshops, igroup carried out a number of remedial actions on the infrastructure including:
- Reallocation of underused resources to improve overall application performance
- Implemented scheduling to reduce costs when resources were not required
- Upgrades and patching to the virtual machines to reduce failures
- Implementing a backup and disaster recovery processes to reduce downtime in the event of a failure
- Shutting down unused resources to reduce costs
igroup also recommended installing CloudOps Active Management Solution (CAMS) onto the existing Azure infrastructure. CAMS delivers performance and cost management tools, support processes and general administration functions in a single portal to manage the CGA cloud more efficiently so they benefit from:
- Always on support, fault find and fix
- Management and reporting dashboards
- Ongoing infrastructure optimisation to ensure performance and cost management
- Automated backup and security
- On call Azure experts to support the in-house team as required
Working with igroup CGA saw significant results which met their initial cost management and performance requirements as well as helping them achieve their longer term business objectives. These included:
- An immediate reduction in cloud costs as well as ongoing monitoring and management that gave recommended actions to keep costs down
- Less time needed by the CGA team to manage their Azure infrastructure as this was being proactively monitored and managed by CAMS
- Improvements in overall performance and less application downtime
CGA and igroup are currently looking at how CAMS can be utilised across their whole organisation as well as supporting application delivery. This includes reviewing the performance of the existing cloud infrastructure, outlining any recommended upgrades and helping CGA migrate their data and users seamlessly.
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- Rapidly increasing cloud costs
- Poor infrastructure performance affecting application availability
- No proactive support and maintenance from their existing support partner
- Remedial infrastructure upgrades to improve performance and reduce costs
- Implementing igroup's CloudOps Active Management Solution for ongoing cost management and performance improvements
- Freeing up in-house resources
- Reduced cloud costs
- Improved cloud performance
- Proactive management and support of the infrastructure