Charting a path to modern digital infrastructure

March 10, 2021

4 min read

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About AMS Group

AMS Group is an Australian engineering, project delivery and maintenance company.

It supports government and industry in the design, integration and maintenance of both traditional Aids to Navigation, as well as port information management systems, and vessel tracking and surveillance systems.

AMS Group has five sites in Australia and manages assets across the country, including in remote offshore locations.

Challenge: optimising IT and building resiliency

AMS Group has a comprehensive cloud strategy to support its mobile, dispersed workforce, improve resilience, and improve its management of assets.

“We have been running cloud apps for a while, but we reached the stage where the size of data kept on-premises was causing us a problem,” Matt Lyons, IT Manager at AMS said.

“Applications like email were hosted on small, on-premise servers across our sites. They were becoming harder to manage. The physical infrastructure was also costly for us. Because we employ a lot of contractors, some of our sites are unoccupied for a large portion of the year,” Matt said.

“We have a goal to move most of our on-premise data to the cloud in the next three to five years. Email was the first priority.” Matt said.

AMS Group also wanted to enhance its data recovery systems to make the business more resilient.

“Our existing data recovery practices involved physically bringing in tapes from an offsite location, and as the amount of data increased it became harder to create backups in a timely manner,” Matt said.

Combining cloud and connectivity for modern infrastructure

AMS Group first engaged Telstra to provide an Office 365 solution with Exchange Online to solve the email data problem. Then the collaboration shifted to focus on AMS Group’s data recovery improvements.

“Telstra and Telstra Purple helped us to explore and understand the best options for our backup needs,” Matt said.

The cloud deployment in AWS via Cloud Gateway has enabled AMS Group to dramatically improve its data recovery process.

“Direct connect to AWS through Cloud Gateway is like having an extension of our network right to AWS.”

Matt Lyons, IT Manager at AMS Group

“If our head office went down for some reason, the direct connectivity Telstra provides helps us to get it back up and running in a matter of hours. We can provision on the spot and simply direct clients and staff to look at the new servers.”

“It has worked really well for us on a commercial basis too. Lots of other data recovery solutions require you to pay for reserved capacity, which is not an ideal model for us.”

Extending the benefits of cloud

With data recovery and email functions supported from the cloud, AMS Group began to explore further improvements to staff productivity.

“We are running a lot of new apps. One platform is a web app we designed in-house to help us monitor navigation assets. For example, some devices monitor power of lights in lighthouses,” Matt said. 

“Depending on the location, they can be connected by satellite only, or a hybrid satellite and mobile connection provided by Telstra. The data comes back to IoT Hub in Azure, is analysed by Stream Analytics and stored in Azure Storage. Our web app links into that.”

“Because we want to empower our staff to spend as much time on-site as possible, rather than in the office, we created a new file server in Azure to serve the data to our branch sites and remote workers. It has given us a continuously synced file server running in the cloud and on site in Brisbane. Our staff can access our data wherever they are. We can perform Azure back-ups quickly and easily, separating them out from the full overnight on-premise to AWS back-ups,” Matt explained.

High-performance digital foundations

AMS Group’s connectivity and cloud solutions have helped Matt and his team to transform the company’s digital foundations.

“Having all our connectivity, cloud and virtual storage with Telstra makes it simple for us to manage, and the big advantage for us is that Cloud Gateway integrates it all in the corporate Telstra network. Managed firewall enables us to make sure everything is secure,” Matt said.

“Telstra’s cloud expertise has helped us create a modern IT infrastructure. It has liberated our teams to work more productively across the country, and it has made us a more resilient business.”

Matt Lyons, IT Manager at AMS Group