Oncore IT News - 06 August 2013

Aviation insurance and reinsurance broker takes off into the Cloud with Oncore IT

New Hitachi Data Systems storage platform utilised to provide a high end enterprise-class data solution. Outsourcing to specialist managed service provider saves 50% on IT costs.

Oncore IT today announced that Boston Marks Insurance Brokers, an aviation industry specialist, has renewed a three year fully managed services contract and moved its IT to the Cloud.

The agreement will see Oncore IT provide virtual server and application hosting, desktop support, online backup and disaster recovery, 24/7 monitoring, along with SSL VPN remote access technology and 100 Mb leased line connectivity.

Boston Marks Insurance Brokers (BMIB) is a privately owned independent wholesale insurance and reinsurance broker and the London business of the Boston Marks Group based in New Zealand. A Lloyds broker, BMIB provides a vast range of insurance to the aviation sector covering airlines, executive jets, airports, contractors, ground handling companies, products and completed operations, rotorwing, general aviation, military and other coverage applicable to aviation risk.

The group purchased broker Norman Butcher & Jones in 2011 to form BMIB and establish itself in London as it expands internationally to service customers effectively. The London business employs 34 staff.

The broker has been a long term Oncore IT customer with a relationship dating back to 2005. Tony Orpwood, Boston Marks Insurance Broker’s operations manager, says, “The decision to outsource at that time was driven by the need to upgrade our unreliable legacy systems which went down regularly and appoint specialists to manage it. At the time, we had three IT staff in-house and by outsourcing we recognised that substantial annual costs savings could be realised which have been about 50%.”

Further to a tender involving two other firms, Oncore IT was chosen because of its IT experience and knowledge, physical security of its London datacentre and offshore back up capability. In addition, location played a key part in the selection as Oncore IT’s network operations centre and systems engineers were close by so onsite server support could be provided quickly.

As part of the new contract, BMIB will now adopt a fully Cloud-based solution and move its key servers to Oncore IT’s data centre with the entire infrastructure managed on a virtualised enterprise-class platform. These virtualised servers will run BMIB’s key business applications which include Microsoft Office, Sun Accounts, Ceridian payroll software, and an insurance broker system from GPM Development without which the business could not function.

Ralph Bull, Boston Marks Insurance Broker’s chief operating officer, says, “Totally shifting to the Cloud is the new component of our agreement moving forward. It solves a number of onsite server load balancing management issues we were having and we anticipate performance will increase with downtime guaranteed to be 1% or less.”

BMIB was particularly impressed with Oncore IT’s recent investment in Hitachi Data Systems’ (HDS) unified storage and content platforms, along with blade infrastructure. Ralph Bull says, “The investment means they have some of the best storage technology available, and our data is managed on it. It’s a very proactive move for Oncore IT to be involved with HDS with all the knock on benefits for us as a customer in terms of reliability and availability.”

All BMIB data will be stored on this new HDS platform in Oncore IT’s London data centre and replicated to its Amsterdam facility to guarantee resilience, leveraging 600 Mbps of dedicated bandwidth.

Paul Cook, Oncore IT’s sales & marketing director, says, “We’ve invested significantly in building our environment working with world class partners such as Asigra [data backup], Brocade [data centre switches and Ethernet Fabric technology] and now the final component – HDS – as our key storage platform provider and the heart of our new storage brand, On Data.”

When Boston Marks Group acquired Norman Butler & Jones and BMIB was created absolutely everything in the business was reviewed from phones to photocopiers to outsourced technology supplier.

Tony Orpwood concludes, “We didn’t want to change our IT partner as we have been satisfied with what Oncore IT has been doing and their capabilities. It’s just not cost effective for us to look after IT ourselves so we’re pleased they’re on board. It’s a comfort factor that the people with the right expertise and experience are managing our systems providing us with the assurance we need to ensure our IT will work properly day in day out.”

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