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Q&A Series – Infrastructure in a nutshell: Issues, solutions & trends – Aden Axen

Aden has been an integral part of the Somerville technical services team since 2015. As a hard-working, innovative and driven Infrastructure Manager, Aden helps define, implement and maintain scalable and flexible infrastructure solutions for organisations in a wide range of sectors. Aden goes above and beyond for his customers, doing whatever it takes to get the job done successfully. He is the specialist you can rely on for highly technical projects or in a crisis situation where keeping calm and navigating solutions for highly complex problems are critical. Aden has a wealth of experience in all areas of IaaS, data centre management and cloud/hybrid IT solutions and holds technical certifications with the major global IT vendors such as Veeam, HPE, VMware and Sophos.

Q: Aden, can you start by giving us a brief overview of your professional background and what you do at Somerville?

Aden: Prior to joining Somerville, I spent many years working in the automotive industry with a focus on back-end stock control and software management. Today, I’m part of the core infrastructure team at Somerville that manages the infrastructure underpinning our customers. That includes everything from day-to-day firmware updates and application upgrades to cloud hosting services, data centre management and delivery of the Somerville Gateway. As part of a market-leading team that encapsulates the full suite of IT services under one roof, no two days are exactly the same!

Q: In terms of infrastructure, what are the major issues and trends for customers you work with?

Aden: Many customers are grappling with whether to rely solely on the cloud, maintain in-house infrastructure or a mix of the two (hybrid). The answer is that really depends on the structure and size of the organisation. For example, a hybrid approach typically doesn’t work in small environments, or when there’s a consideration around security compliance, such as in the hospital or defence sectors.

As the need for innovation becomes ever more important, we’re also seeing more customers handing over their day-to-day tasks – think data management, backup and so on – to external partners who can take care of the “mundane”, leaving the business to focus on growth.

Additionally, in line with the shift towards collaborative, digitally-led work environments, many organisations are moving away from on-premise mail and communication platforms and migrating to cloud-based solutions like Office 365 with in-built collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams and SharePoint Online.

At Somerville, we partner with organisations to implement an infrastructure solution that’s tailored to their specific needs, whether that be a hybrid model, cloud, housing infrastructure in Somerville’s data centre or an entirely different approach. By building out a tailored solution we ensure that what we’re providing is genuinely fit for purpose.

Q: Can you give us an example of what a tailored infrastructure solution looks like?

Aden: We recently worked with a dealership of around 200 people who had been transacting on different servers in different states with users bouncing from site to site. As you can imagine, that raised a number of concerns around operational efficiency and security. What we did in that instance was streamline all critical data in a centralised data centre and added a top-layer governance platform on top of the server that can be accessed by all users regardless of their location.

We also often work with organisations that have been running their infrastructure on-premise and want to move some of it off-premises with the rest in the data centre. If that’s the case, we look at clustering the connection between the two services to keep latency levels low to deliver a better user experience. Ultimately though, the solution depends on the customer’s requirements.

Q: How can IT managers and CIOs build a business case for moving to an IaaS model?

Aden: One of the biggest concerns for decision-makers at any organisation is expense. What’s great about the infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) approach is that it moves away from the traditional CapEx model to an OpEx model. This  allows organisations to maintain predictable, consistent costs, for example a monthly fee, rather than having to make a major upfront investment in infrastructure that may not be adequate in just a couple of years’ time. In other words, making the shift to IaaS doesn’t just mean having a more resilient, secure infrastructure solution that supports better business practices; it’s also more flexible and cost-effective in the long run.

Q: What infrastructure trends do you see growing in the next 12-24 months?

Aden: Aside from a more widespread adoption of IaaS, we’re going to see the use of data centres, both public and private, grow immensely. We have a division of experts at Somerville dedicated to centralising critical data in the Somerville data centre, and we’re rolling out resilient and secure infrastructure solutions to a growing number of organisations.

Talk to Aden about your infrastructure challenges and special projects. For more information on our professional services, please click here.

At Somerville, we partner with organisations to implement an infrastructure solution that’s tailored to their specific needs, whether that be a hybrid model, cloud, housing infrastructure in Somerville’s data centre or an entirely different approach. By building out a tailored solution we ensure that what we’re providing is genuinely fit for purpose.

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