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Moving into Custodian…

Moat Q&A

Moat Homes are a leading housing association based in the South East. They own and manage more than 20,000 homes spread across London, Kent, Essex and Sussex. For more than 50 years they have sought to help people in housing need to have somewhere they can call home by providing a range of different housing options to suit the diverse needs of their customers.

In 2018, they made the move to Custodian Data Centres, entrusting us to house their critical IT infrastructure and network services. We sat down with their Infrastructure Manager, who looks after team of specialists that run all of the day-to-day IT services for Moat. As well as managing the front facing help-desk team, they have developed and enhanced their back-end technologies to fuel their digital transformation project, to which Custodian have become an integral part of.

What were your initial reasons for moving into a data centre?

“We had a long-term relationship with a single provider for our MPLS WAN and colocation, which was running on old technology and low bandwidth circuits. We decided to really embrace modern technology and completely rethink how we connected our offices together for a more flexible, faster and cost-effective solution. This also gave us the opportunity to think about our colocation service and how our business continuity, disaster recovery and offsite storage could be best provisioned.”

How long had you been looking for a new solution?

“We initially looked at our overall solution several years ago from a technology and connectivity perspective. It was then about defining how to progress and what colocation services we ultimately would require.”

How did you hear about Custodian and what set them apart?

“Custodian came up as a recommended option from a WAN perspective, with a diverse choice of ISPs already available. Location was a big factor, we are based in Kent and had our colocation in Slough for a number of years. Although the DC was well built and established, we found gaining accessing and getting help could be a real challenge and how we operated was very much dictated and impersonal. With the M25 to traverse it could also be a nightmare journey for simple jobs, often taking half a working day for what was realistically a 10-minute task. In contrast, from the first conversation everyone at Custodian was welcoming, knowledgeable and understood what we wanted to achieve. The facility tour was great and gave us the chance to really get a feel for how things were done, what was available and how we would be treated as a customer. The location and services fitted exactly with what we wanted and avoided either being too local or needing to travel into London or around the M25, giving our engineers important time back.”

How many people were involved in the move?

“Thanks to how well Custodian prepared and their ability to tailor services to our needs, we didn’t need to throw a lot of resource at the actual move. Connectivity was already in place and tested thoroughly, giving us confidence, the move would be successful. Two of us met a recommended specialist IT moving team at our old colocation and handed the kit over to them for the drive to Maidstone, where we had two people waiting to rack and connect. With assistance from Custodian, the kit was unloaded onto trolleys and sitting next to our new rack in a matter of minutes, compared to several hours of frustration in the old DC. We had other kit delivered and held for us and there was always someone available for jobs like installing new PDUs or tweaking configuration.”

What do you hope to achieve alongside Custodian?

“We wanted a highly resilient and performing data centre to ensure our primary, DC and DR IT functions run efficiently and effectively. As an essential building block in Moat’s connectivity strategy, this has been a great success. Everything we wanted to achieve, we have. Our Account Manager has continued to provide the same level of service as he did before we became a customer. We didn’t know how our topology would look when we first started speaking to Custodian, but the technical expertise has been there for all of our challenges to ensure we can shape the service into exactly how we want it.”