As the first step on its journey to becoming a new kind of IT, Aston Martin implemented Microsoft Office 365, which offers hosted cloud versions of Microsoft Exchange Server and SharePoint Server, giving employees cloud-based communication and collaboration tools and remote access to email. Inspired by that technology's easy deployment and adoption, Aston Martin decided to take another step into the cloud, moving the corporate website, www.astonmartin.com, to the Microsoft Azure platform. By moving to Azure, the company can easily scale the site up or down in response to increased site traffic.
Another piece of the puzzle was Windows Intune, a Microsoft cloud-based PC management service. Windows Intune connects with System Center Configuration Manager 2012 R2, to provide a single console for managing devices whether they are connected to the network or not. Aston Martin IT staff intends to use Windows Intune to track and manage almost 700 devices used by remote employees, including a mix of Windows Phone 8 devices and employee-provided 'bring your own devices' (BYODs). "It's proven a challenge from day one, and it's only now with Windows Intune that we can actually properly manage these devices," states Steve O'Connor, the Desktop Support Team Leader for Aston Martin.
Device security, too, will be easier managed with System Center and Windows Intune. "What System Center has allowed us to do, in conjunction with Windows Intune, is to be able to provide the security and governance that we need to feel confident that our intellectual property is safe and secure, and it's not going to fall into the wrong hands," says Roach-Rooke.
Using its comprehensive new Microsoft IT infrastructure, Aston Martin IT employees are now enabling the business to develop. "With System Center 2012 R2, it's a lot less work managing, updating, and deploying software out to our estate, so we can focus on strategic IT projects," says Roach-Rooke. More than ever before, IT is proactive rather than reactive. O'Connor says, "My favorite thing at the moment is the ability to look forward and make plans, rather than having to react to issues and get bogged down in problems that are easily solved now."
Most recently, the company started to address its needs for an automated backup and recovery solution by exploring the latest business resiliency capabilities within Windows Server 2012 R2 and the latest version of Hyper-V Replica, which replicates virtual machines over IP-based networks to a remote site. The IT team chose Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, and System Center 2012 R2 workloads to test a live disaster-recovery scenario.