Case Studies

Castles & Coasts Housing Association - IT Infrastructure Review


CCHA’s existing ICT Infrastructure was more than five-years-old and needed to be replaced.

The current computer room was experiencing regular power issues and due to the location of the head office (being in the historic centre of Carlisle), a solution to these problems was not straightforward.

The network had single points of failure and everything was routed into the head ffice.

The system was circa 98% availability and full DR recovery could not be achieved without significant reconfiguration of the network and downtime to the end users.

A review of the future IT and business change requirements identified a need across the business for a more agile, scalable ICT Infrastructure which could enable staff to perform their role from any location and using any device.


Shaw Consulting carried out a detailed, technical assessment of their current ICT environment which resulted in a document describing the technical specifications of each physical and virtual server in use, an understanding of the applications being used, their interdependencies, and database requirements.

To assess the different ways a replacement solution could be delivered the following options were assessed against an ‘As is’ style replacement:

  • Option 1: Primary Onsite and Co-located Equipment.
  • Option 2: Primary Onsite and Rented Computer & Owned storage offsite. Option 3: Fully Hosted Primary and Rented Computer & own storage offsite.
  • Option 3: Fully Hosted Primary and Rented Computer & own storage offsite.
  • Option 4: Microsoft Azure Cloud.

For each option we detailed the costs, benefits, negatives and what was required to implement the solution and then support it.

We also examined in detailed what could be moved to both SaaS (Office 365) and PaaS (SQL as a Service) solutions.


The report we produced provided:

  • Executive Summary
  • Detailed the Current environment
  • Detailed each of the Options Appraised
  • Provided Conclusions and Recommendations
  • Appendices which included:
    • Current Virtual and Physical server specifications
    • Detailed breakdowns of costs
    • Each Cloud Platforms Virtual Servers specifications and costs
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