Smart, smooth and safe: Crondall Energy migrates to Microsoft Azure backup

In a challenging industry environment, Crondall Energy, the oil and gas consultants, wanted to increase efficiencies in their existing IT environment while preparing for a pick-up in the market.

Azure backup from Cloud Direct, a Microsoft direct gold partner, helped Crondall achieve business resilience from the cloud. In a move they describe as ‘easy and quick’, Cloud Direct has taken them to a position of 100 percent successful data/system restores.

Key points

  • Safe, smooth migration to Azure backup
  • Effective use of existing IT, while preparing to scale when the market picks up
  • Trust in data sovereignty: data stored in Azure’s two UK datacentres
  • Backup data is secure, resilient and available
  • Professional people at Cloud Direct

Background: the cusp of great transformation in the energy industry

Crondall Energy is a leading independent consultancy that provides strategic, commercial and technical services for offshore oil and gas projects worldwide that use floating production and subsea technology.

The oil industry is experiencing one of the most transformative periods in its history. Professional services network PWC believes the industry is on the cusp of a major redefinition, and must tackle cost and investment concerns in the short-term while preparing to respond to the future impact of inevitable external environmental pressures.

Crondall Energy had already been working to make the most of their existing IT, while readying the business to scale when the market picks up. They had just finished IT consolidation exercises and were ready for the next steps.

The challenge

Before Crondall Energy decided to buy Microsoft Azure Backup from Cloud Direct, the business was looking for three key things:

  1. Strong and resilient IT infrastructure
  2. Data sovereignty – data had to be UK-based
  3. A safe, professional IT partner

Stephen Court, Crondall’s IT supervisor, said: “With the oil and gas market as it is, you strive to make the most effective use of your existing IT. At the same time, you need to be able to scale when the market picks up – this is really important.”

Consolidation exercises complete, Court started reviewing the business IT infrastructure. He said, “When you’re reviewing infrastructure, one area that leaps out as an obvious consideration is backup and data resilience. So, in addition to our in-house safety measures, we also started looking at cloud.”

The question of data resilience is a big one for Crondall. Court said, “A lot of our data is highly confidential and secure. The worst thing that could possibly happen would be for us to lose all our data in one hit.”

The solution

Crondall chose Microsoft’s Azure Backup from Cloud Direct for its simplicity and resilience.

They were assured by Cloud Direct’s direct, gold partner relationship with Microsoft, which meant they had the privilege of Microsoft third line support. Similarly, Azure backup data is hosted in two new Microsoft data centres in the UK – data sovereignty was a big issue for Crondall, so finding the right partner from this perspective was key.

Court said: “We certainly didn’t want to be in the position where, if your partner closes, you lose all access to your data. It’s good to have a safe, secure partner to deal with and Cloud Direct ticks that box for us.

“They were very professional in their presentation to us. They looked at our business, what we were after, and adjusted the package to suit our specific requirements. I’ve been in the industry for a long time and I really got the feeling that Cloud Direct knew what they were talking about – they understood the products and how they related to our business.”

Overcoming technical adversity

Court said, “We did experience a technical challenge in that we had some data protection issues – some files were restricted. This was resolved very easily and quickly. One of Cloud Direct’s technical people talked us through it all and then logged on remotely to check it through. Done.”

Results and future plans

With Azure backup, Crondall has been able to reduce costs. Court said, “Azure is cheaper than our incumbent backup – we’ve made considerable savings using an easy migration path.

“With offices all over the world – in the UK, Netherlands, USA, Singapore and Australia – our data can now be restored to any server, anywhere in the world.

To date, Crondall has conducted brief restores, at a 100 per cent success rate. Next step is to conduct a full restore as an ongoing disaster recovery test. Court said: “Backup is only as good as its last restore test.”

They’re also considering moving their infrastructure to Azure. Court said, “It’s all about making sure we’re ready for the future.”

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