Helping Halo Post to scale up its operations with server virtualisation and licensing consultation

Background to the Project

Over the past two to three years Halo Post, a media postproduction company based in central London, has seen rapid expansion, growing from one to three physical sites and trebling the number of Edit Suites from 20 to more than 60. Like all media business, they are also facing the challenges associated with larger file types as the industry moves to 4K and 8K video formats. The media side of the business alone is dealing with a storage footfall of around 4-5 petabytes of data. They needed the infrastructure to support this expansion.

Halo Post was frustrated with the limitations of housing everything in on-premise physical machines, including limited scalability, high power usage, bulky server rooms and slow processing times. At the same time, they needed to deal with upcoming redundancy issues.

Maitland Buchanan, Chief Engineer at Halo Post, explains: “One of the key problems we had was that we had old servers on old hardware all piling up in huge server rooms. These were all running on Server 2008, which we knew would be out of support by end of the year. We wanted to consolidate to a virtual environment to allow us to scale out and future-proof.”

The goal was to get the right infrastructure in place to enable future transformation, utilising cloud and automation. Halo Post also wanted to improve its compliancy in line with the latest industry regulations.

The Solution

A dedicated Trustmarque Account Manager worked with Halo Post to deliver a detailed consultation to find the right blend of high performing infrastructure as well as the licensing and configuration support they needed. The outputs of this included:

  • DellEMC servers and storage infrastructure
  • VMware vSphere6 Essentials Plus
  • Microsoft Windows Server licensing via CSP
  • Trustmarque Professional Services to build, install, configure and test

Feedback from Halo Post

Halo Post was extremely happy with the process, revealing that Trustmarque acted as the consultative partner and “sounding board” they needed. They commended the way Trustmarque was able to meet their strict budget requirements and the flex to meet unexpected challenges, without impacting the overall budget. “There was never pressure to spend more than we had”, confirms Maitland.

“It was great having a sounding board, which is more like a conversation between peers. That’s what I like about working with Trustmarque.” Maitland Buchanan, Chief Engineer at Halopost

The Trustmarque team also played a vital role in helping Halo Post to navigate the complex world of Microsoft licensing, saving Halo Post both time and money.

Maitland commented: “We had so many questions related to the new licensing model for Microsoft Server 2019, which I found to be the most complicated and confusing part of the process. I think without Trustmarque’s support there is a real probability that we would have hugely overspent on Microsoft licensing. Having someone who knew the licensing world inside out and could help us manage budget across software and hardware was a real asset. It was a whole solution”

Luke Larsen, IT Networks & Systems Administrator at Halo Post agrees: “The team at Trustmarque was very helpful. From getting the proposal together to providing end-to-end support on the complex vSphere set-up. Every question I had was answered and everything went very smoothly. The extra testing reassured that everything was working the way it should and I’ve literally not had any issues since it has been deployed. It’s been great.”

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About Halo Post

Halo Post is a leading independent broadcast and film post-production company based in central London. Halo Post supply award-winning post-production services to all the major UK broadcasters as well as high-profile international media companies including Netflix, Amazon and Disney. Recent projects include: The Planets with Professor Brian Cox, Channel 4’s adaptation of The Tiger Who Came To Tea and the movie Cats. Halo Post employs around 75 members of staff across its three offices and Edit Suites.

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Why Trustmarque was Selected as a Partner

Trustmarque is well versed in the challenges facing organisations as they look to virtualise their onpremise environments. We have helped many organisations to modernise their datacentres and leverage new technologies like cloud and process automation. Having previously worked with our colleagues at Halo Post, they were confident in our ability to layer deep technical knowledge of server infrastructure with software and licensing expertise to provide an end-to-end solution that would liberate the value from their investment.

Outcomes and Benefits

The team at Halo Post has been impressed with how quickly they have been able to hit their objectives and transition to the VMware environment. Luke confirms:

“Within the first week I was able to virtualise a dozen servers. We now have 18 to 20 servers on there and we are running down the old hardware and consolidating into that cluster. We also have a successful remote desktop solution in place, so everything we needed has been done.”

Halo Post said the main business benefit is that everything is more efficient. The solution has also enabled them to do R&D testing more easily. Maitland added that he is particularly happy with the improvements and impact on redundancy and business continuity. He summarises: “I can sleep easier at night”.

With scalability and security at the heart of the design, Halo Post is now able to meet the demands of constantly increasing file types, while remaining compliant.

Next Steps

“In the next 12 months we have a number of studio accreditations to work towards and this infrastructure virtualisation was a big part in making sure we are compliant. We’re working with big brands like Disney and Netflix so there are very tight regulations and very high standards,” explains Maitland.

“We wanted to lay the foundations and build a solid infrastructure – and now we can start looking more at automation and utilising cloud technology.”

He said that Halo Post will be looking to leverage the relationship with Trustmarque as they define the next phase in their transformation journey.

Key Benefits

Seamless transition

Scalability and security enabled

Supports R&D testing

Clearly defined budget

Time and cost reduction with Microsoft licensing support

Consultative approach

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