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Case Study

Churchill Optimizes Data Management, Reducing IT Costs with CTERA

  • Leverages modern cloud-based storage infrastructure to reduce TCO and support rapid data growth
  • Eases IT burden by simplifying file storage management and backup
  • Enables seamless move to WFH file access during COVID-19 pandemic
  • Maximize business continuity and productivity with automatic cloud failover

“COVID-19 has made remote workforce enablement a critical priority within IT strategy. Through our work with CTERA, we’re able to enable seamless file access and collaboration for WFH users, making them as productive as if they were in the office.”

Alistair Henderson, Head of IT at Churchill

Company Background

As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality ceramic tableware, UK-based Churchill has a 220-year history of bringing the highest quality products to the hospitality industry. Churchill products are sold in over 70 countries worldwide through a 508-strong global distributor network.

The Challenge

As the scope of Churchill’s design-oriented business continues to expand, its data storage requirements have also escalated. With annual commercial growth of 15% and an increasing focus on digital design, Churchill’s IT team found itself spending an increasing amount of time and money in maintaining, backing up and scaling its legacy file storage solution across distributed sites and users.

With its file storage requirements rising by 10 to 15 percent every six months and expectations for even higher growth as it moved into digital and video presentations, Churchill sought a cloud-based solution that would lower the cost and complexity of managing file storage services going forward. The new solution also needed to ease the challenges of remote access and multi-site file collaboration.

In line with these business goals, Churchill’s new solution had to meet the following requirements:

  • Offer elastic storage for large design and media files that would eliminate the need to purchase and install new servers every year
  • Maintain the high performance needed at the edge for large file editing and production
  • Anytime, anywhere access for remote users
  • Minimize IT administration efforts with an automated, easy-to-manage solution

The CTERA Solution

Churchill found CTERA’s Enterprise File Services Platform to be an excellent fit for its edge-to-cloud file services requirements.

The CTERA Enterprise File Services Platform harnesses the power of cloud to replace legacy file storage systems without compromising security or performance. CTERA’s edge filers and endpoint clients provide a hybrid connection for Churchill’s remote sites and users to the CTERA global file system. Churchill engaged CTERA through an existing relationship with HPE, which sells CTERA products via the HPE Complete program.

A CTERA Edge Filer is installed at Churchill’s main site and serves as the primary NAS. Users see the CTERA filer as a network file server, while all data is synced and stored automatically to AWS and Azure-based virtual private clouds (in-firewall). CTERA filers’ built-in caching enables infinite storage capacity without adding hardware. Frequently used files are cached locally for fast access, while “cold” files are tiered to low-cost cloud object storage.

The initial CTERA Edge Filer was up and running in a matter of weeks, including installation, testing and data migration from Churchill’s legacy NAS solution. Once up and running, Churchill also licensed the CTERA Drive software application for its mobile sales force. CTERA Drive allows Churchill’s mobile and remote users to securely access, share and collaborate on cloud-based files from any device (e.g., laptop, tablet, smartphone). CTERA Drive provides secure anytime, anywhere access and allows users to create shared workspaces for team collaboration.

Churchill has also derived unexpected benefits from the CTERA Global File System as the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic intensified and workers stayed home.

“COVID-19 has made remote workforce enablement a critical priority within IT strategy,” said Alistair Henderson, Head of IT at Churchill. “Everything we do now as an organization is focused through the lens of supporting remote and WFH users.

“Through our work with CTERA, we’ve migrated several legacy file applications from on-premises to the cloud. And now, we’re able to enable seamless file access and collaboration for WFH users through the CTERA Global File System, which makes them as productive as if they were in the office.”

While users benefit from CTERA’s file collaboration and sharing capabilities, Henderson believes that the key value of CTERA’s global file system is the peace of mind it grants to his IT team. “Our goal is business as usual without worrying about storage capacity and associated support tasks,” he said. “CTERA helps us get there.”

To maximize business continuity and system uptime, Churchill has also deployed CTERA’s zero-minute disaster recovery feature that enables users to continue working even in the event of a filer outage. As soon as an outage is detected, CTERA securely redirects users to the cloud without interruption. This obviates the need for redundant hardware and time-consuming recovery procedures.

Bottom Line: Infinite Storage Capacity, Lower TCO, Effortless Management

By replacing its legacy file storage infrastructure with the CTERA Global File System, Churchill has found an effortless and efficient way to support its rapid data growth without sacrificing performance or security. With CTERA, Churchill has gained new levels of multi-site productivity, cost reductions, and streamlined IT.

Says Henderson: “CTERA enables our department to concentrate on value-added tasks that support the company’s core business initiatives, rather than spending time and money on file management and backups.”

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