Support Guys

Case Studies / Previous Work

Some examples of previous work we have done with a range of clients with very different needs. Every business's needs are unique. We are here to work with you; to solve problems that you have, so you can get on with running your business.

Packaging Producer

Client: Industrial-scale design and print, highly downtime sensitive.

The customer had undertaken the replacement of their old VPN connecting their two sites, as the central database was running slowly for the remote users. They had installed a short haul data service (SHDS), which had been left as raw SFP sockets, with the supplier telling them "it's all working; over to you!" They engaged us to take it from there.

We configured the connection for their needs, but the performance was not what was hoped for. A continuing niggle was their database server, which was running slowly on client machines - lots of end users reporting massive delays on changing layouts and general use, which the database designer could not fathom as everything was optimised on the server. Since this had been the driving force behind fitting the SHDS, the client was understandably eager to resolve the issue.

A full site inspection revealed that hubs and switches were scattered throughout the factory. Structured cabling was in place, but a lack of understanding of topography meant it was not used. Bottlenecks were all over the place as all the servers were connected to a single 1G connection to the main switch.

Replacing the switches with larger, managed switches meant that each Mac could have its own connection. It also allowed the use of Link Aggregation (LAG) to increase the bandwidth to the servers and dramatically improve the end user experience.

Replacing the routers with modern ones improved the remote site experience too, similar to the local one.

Demand for reliable WiFi was made and implemented using Ubiquiti Access Points, making the WiFi reliable and able to cope with increased demand.

During our time on site other problem areas became apparent. Several Macs were running very very slowly, as their hard drives were failing. A couple of mission critical Macs (which were running Parallels for specific software which is only available in Windows) were woefully under specified in RAM and also had failing hard drives. These were upgraded; suitably sized SSDs, and enough RAM to run a virtualised OS and the required software, were installed. Data was migrated onto the new drives with minimal downtime.

This has been a year long iteration to uncover and counter several deep rooted bottlenecks. The client now has a managed network, Macs which are running smoothly, and a database which gives them the benefits they need to deliver to their customers.

Air Conditioning Specialists

Client: Small, specialised, technical services.

Initially the customer called as their PC server had suffered a ransomware attack, the networked PCs had all been infected, and the backup hard drive had suffered catastrophic hardware failure. A company specialising in data recovery had managed to get most of their data from the backup drive, but the customer needed to get back up and running as soon as possible, and was at a loss at how to do so.

Their previous support company (which they were paying a substantial amount per month) now wanted a large amount of labour to replace the hardware and set up again, whilst claiming to be unaware of the years of problems the client had reported to them before the failure. Once recovery was complete, it was apparent that the backup had not been working correctly for some time. Large amounts of time, effort and expense were required to get all their data back, resulting in downtime, lost income and upset on all parts.

We were able to supply and install a number of Macs, with upgraded hard drives and max RAM; to run their massive spreadsheets, detailed technical documents, and invoicing system. Replacing their PC fileserver with a Mac running macOS Server gave them visibility of their backups and data use, and allowed cloud backups. We set up active monitoring tools, and remote access to assist when problems occurred. We were able to provide peace of mind with regular checks on the state of their backups and the locations of their data, and agreed alerts and actions if the age of the backups breached specific conditions.

We have also set up and implemented a VPN for work from home staff, and have provided continuing support over several years for issues as small as setting up new printers, to working with them to create a complete strategy for a recent computer upgrade cycle; to minimise downtime, and work around holidays, staff illness and remote locations.

Education - Music Production Labs

Client: Large secondary school Music department, with limited hardware support.

A customer called about a single project, upgrading or repairing more than 20 iMacs (older, slim style). Their IT support staff were unable to deal with the hardware, but had suggested that the Macs were failing somehow or just not up to the task. As a school with budget pressures, replacing the entire suite of machines was not something they were in a position to pursue.

The iMacs were used for entry level lessons in Logic, GarageBand and Motion. The students were very beginner-level, and the Macs should have been adequate for running the software for the tasks they required. However boot up times were extremely slow, frustrating students. The Macs were imaged each term as the classes moved around, and this was taking longer and longer, frustrating staff. The Macs were seeing less and less use, and the school wanted to solve the issue.

The customer called us to discuss the situation, and we provided remote support. It was confirmed that the hard drives were running very slowly and having a significant impact on the overall performance. We provided a fixed cost quote to come out on-site and replace the hard drives with Solid State Drives (SSDs), and we were able to go ahead with the short lead time required to fit around term dates.

The upgrades were completed in 3 days on-site. The resulting performance improvement reduced their boot times to 10 seconds, allowed the applications they were using to startup nearly instantly, and returning the machines to being excellent tools for the students needs.

Conclusion

Whether it be a one off single project, or the beginning of a long lasting support contract, we at Support Guys are here for you. Our aim is to make your IT work for you so you can concentrate on what you do best. Please get in touch to see how we can help.