Success Story: Grant Thornton

Storage and Scalability Delivers Grant Thornton Immediate Results

Grant Thornton is one of the world’s leading organisations in independent assurance, tax and business advisory. The firm helps medium to large, privately owned, publicly listed, and public sector companies unlock their growth potential by using experience, insights and instinct to understand complex issues and help them find solutions. Their industry expertise and insight allows them to offer organisations a broad commercial perspective with a ‘client-first’ mindset.

Grant Thornton has been growing consistently and has acquired BDO in order to increase their finance and IT structures nationally. The additional resources from the acquisition has increased Grant Thornton’s number of offices and staffing resources, enabling them to deliver consistent high quality outcomes on a national scale. The company employs more than 1,200 staff and has offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

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The Challenge

Grant Thornton recognised an immediate and pressing need to upgrade their storage platforms due to their exponentially increasing volumes of data. The current storage arrays had reached alarming thresholds and excess capacity was being stored on 2 EMC loan discs in Melbourne and Sydney.

Due to the increasing storage needs, the reliability and speed of the existing infrastructure decreased with major issues surrounding Disaster Recovery and overall stability. Salvatore Trimboli, Infrastructure Manager at Grant Thornton, researched solutions and compiled a Request for Proposal for the most cost-effective and timely solution to fit their needs. Cloud Solutions Group (CSG) was awarded the contract.

The Solution

Cloud Solution Group (CSG) was selected by Grant Thornton to provide a solution that centralised and consolidated 4 arrays into 2 for Grant Thornton’s Melbourne and Sydney offices. CSG’s focus was to provide a storage solution with a high level of performance for Grant Thornton’s applications, which was easy to manage and cost effective. The Nimble Storage solution was selected due to its high performance, scalable storage architecture and reliability.

Trimboli said he was impressed by how the project was presented and articulated by CSG, “The technology was cutting-edge, but it was the transparency and honesty in their overall approach that made the decision for us. They were prepared to go that extra step and provide a holistic, long-term view of our IT infrastructure.”

CSG was integral to the design and build, which included consolidation of 4 existing NetApp and two EMC arrays into two Nimble Storage arrays. Each storage array contained 126TB of capacity as well as offering speed and reliability that are integral to Grant Thornton’s operations. CSG also leveraged the snapshot capabilities of the Nimble Storage arrays to increase point in time data recoverability and DR.

CSG completed the upgrade well within Grant Thornton’s timelines, partly due to working after hours to ensure there were no disruptions to the business.

CSG placed a high priority on the project with the product shipping from America to Grant Thornton’s site within 10 days. CSG was able to get the Nimble Storage arrays on-line within hours of the product coming out-of-the-box in Melbourne and Sydney. The implementation was seamless and the transition smooth. I don’t have anything negative to say about the process, as it was fast and efficient,’ said Trimboli.

The added benefits of the Nimble Storage array has been integral to Grant Thornton’s disbursed business units, providing reliability and a better user experience. In addition to this, the upgrade to VMware ESX 5.1 has enabled the company to utilise fewer resources while running more virtual servers and the disaster recovery solution has provided additional availability and security capabilities.

Through the work of CSG, Trimboli said he has seen an increase in overall performance and system stability, “Staff have been able to access their drives and file shares a lot faster. Now we have the ability to add additional data quickly without bringing the storage down. It has provided improved functionality and increased performance.”
The increase in available storage and growth capabilities far exceed the previous infrastructure platform and now support Grant Thornton overall business objectives and revenue growth.

The Future

Grant Thornton has been able to differentiate itself in the marketplace by providing a low cost solution with both high capacity and high performance, simply by upgrading to the CSG solution.

“We’ve got a really strong partnership with Cloud Solutions Group. They are very quick and effective in responding to any requests we have and have definitely improved our business overall. We will continue to use Cloud Solutions Group to add more value to our business,” Trimboli stated.

Grant Thornton’s long-term IT strategy consists of a continued relationship with CSG to increase computer power to cater to future demands, which will be vital to their on-going growth and future success.

Key Benefits

  • Increased storage
  • Increased performance and reliability
  • Increased efficiency
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved user experience

Technology Used

  • Nimble CS460G-X2 10GbE arrays
  • vSphere 5.1
  • Mware Site Recovery Manager 5.1
  • Nimble Snapshots and Replication

Solution Areas

  • Storage
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Disaster Recovery Automation
  • Snapshot
  • Server Virtualisation