BDO have been providing accountancy and consultation services globally for more than five decades. The Australian operation was formed in 1975 by combining independent operators under a single banner. The company offers a broad range of financial services to business with a strong focus on auditing, taxation and consultation.
BDO are highly regarded for their social conscience and their long-term support for Variety, the Endeavour Foundation and a plethora of important community groups. BDO are the recipients of numerous local and international awards that recognise their skills and company achievements within the financial services sector. They also contribute to the community through their sponsorship of individual and collective achievements including the Premier’s export awards and the ARA’s retail awards.
Building a Disaster Recovery (DR) site is a sensible upgrade that drives business continuity goals and mitigates the risk posed by an unplanned outage. Unfortunately it is also costly and adds more complexity to IT management and overall system architecture.
The traditional DR design typically provides a functionally identical solution that could meet a minimum workload specification and enable business operations to continue – albeit at a reduced capacity. The investment in a DR site required a specialised technology stack that duplicated the organisation’s production system functions. In practice this meant an investment in hosting duplicate hardware, software, and meeting ongoing management and support costs.
Long term technology partner MOQdigital were asked to offer a solution that would provide a disaster recovery solution that was flexible, reduced ownership costs and was easy for a small team to manage.
The project has been an outstanding success and met all goals set by the BDO’s risk and governance executives. By choosing to build a virtual DR platform in Microsoft’s Azure Cloud, immediate cost savings of $60,000 per annum were realised when compared with replicating the needed functionality in a terrestrial data centre.
BDO IT professionals saw no value investing in the one-time skills needed to build their Azure DR facility but instead honed their Hyper-V capabilities to quickly migrate and optimise their new virtual environment.
BDO attributed much of the project’s success to the exacting planning work undertaken by the MOQdigital engineering team in tight collaboration with BDO’s system administrators.
BDO identified three key business deliverables and evaluated these against a “needs and wants” matrix. A nationwide Disaster Recovery (DR) strategy was justified because their recent investment in a DR facility had averted a catastrophe caused by flooding throughout the Brisbane CBD. Greater economies of scale could be realised through better use of their Microsoft global software licence agreements. The cost of infrastructure could also be slashed by replacing their technology with a more resilient cloud framework to improve business continuity goals. The company redefined IT staff responsibilities from being “operational” to a project focused, more “strategic” role that contributed to delivering better business outcomes. BDO collaborated with MOQdigital’s professional services team to develop, implement and deploy replacement services in Microsoft’s Azure cloud. One important differentiator was that MOQdigital’s experienced staff helped to simplify the task of migrating data from BDO hardware to the Azure cloud. By using Microsoft’s StorSimple storage hardware it also eased the complexity of data migration while a clearer understanding of how employees used company data was gleaned.
Designing a mission critical infrastructure demanded an in-depth understanding of BDO’s existing technology framework and how it could be transitioned to an Azure environment without interruption to the business operations. The IT staff could choose how much data would be retained in local storage and which should be migrated into the Azure Cloud based on the data usage metrics provided by StorSimple. BDO tracked user data usage and discovered that the 80/20 rule applied – only 20% of data files were in active use at any given time. Using this knowledge all dormant and archival data was migrated to Azure cloud storage.