Newport City Homes chooses JetNEXUS in favour of ‘poorly performing’ Microsoft load balancing tool.
Newport City Homes (NCH), a housing organisation, was launched in South Wales in 2009. Since then the company has been expanding its operations and providing services to over 10,000 residents, leaseholders and shared owners.
NCH said it had been using a hosting company to provide its web services before it started undergoing an expansion in operations and experiencing increased interfacing requirements.
NCH’s head of IT services Owen Barrett needed a network refresh to better serve his client’s needs.
"The website had been in existence for three years. So we needed a change in terms of graphics etc… it just needed a bit of a refresh and the interfacing needs became more tricky," he explains to CBR.
NCH decided to bring the website on premise, carrying out recommendations from Microsoft’s Creative Sharepoint to use its own load balancer, Windows NLB.
"We did that and during the testing phase it was okay. We weren’t experiencing any performance issues. But once we started doing the cloud testing environment in early May 2013, there were some issues around speed and connectivity," explains Barrett.
"It took about 18 seconds to download webpages."
Barrett started exploring other options in the load balancing market before settling with load balancing and traffic management solutions provider JetNEXUS.
"The others didn’t offer us a trial and JetNEXUS did… [it gave us] better performance and the support we had was excellent."
The value for money also persuaded him.
"It’s not free but the cost is not considerable. I pay for it through an enterprise agreement and server licensing," he says.
"We were very impressed with JetNEXUS from the outset. Their Accelerating Load Balancer Extreme (ALB-X) appliance represented excellent value for money, whilst fitting in with our current platform and virtual environment," said Barrett.
Barrett implemented the solution himself, which took about an hour.
"A case of downloading the software, putting it up on the virtual environment, and giving it some IP addresses. Literally no problems at all and immediate impact as well," he explains.
As a result, NCH has experienced considerable benefits since going live with JetNEXUS.
"We saw an immediate improvement when we deployed the ALB-X appliances including an 18 second reduction in load times, which in turn enables us to provide a faster and more user friendly experience," he says.
"And in terms of providing services to our residents, it’s faster. And that is important. And we’ve got also business continuity in terms of failure device"
The installation has also saved administration time for the IT team, which consists of 11 people.
"There is really no complexity in managing the environment. It’s so easy to manage and we very rarely need to look at the alerts. We just get Exception Reports. If there are any errors, but we haven’t even had any," explains Barrett.
Do they think they’ll save any costs as a result of implementing the system?
"It cost neutral and it’s not about that. It’s about the performance of the systems and the Jet Nexus wins over the other ones really. I’m not going to make a cost comparison with Microsoft NLB because it was effectively free."
Barrett says he expects to use the JetNEXUS load balancers for its Microsoft Lync2010 and Exchange 2010 services within the next three to four months.
"It would help us in terms of performance in terms of what users see on the front end. So downloading things a little bit faster, but really the main thing is business continuity."