City Holdings Australia is a 100% dedicated facilities management provider to Coles stores nationally, and is owned subsidiary of City Refrigeration Holdings (UK) Ltd, a global leader in the provision of facilities management services. City Holdings Australia (City) has three divisions operating in Australia:
• City Facilities Management
• City Cleaning Services
• City Building Engineering Services
The City Group has grown to become one of the largest privately owned facilities management companies in Europe, Asia and Australia.
City Holdings is a dedicated service partner to the Coles Group, comprising of Coles Supermarkets, Coles Express, Target, Kmart and Liquorland Hotels. City Holdings provides the Coles Group with a variety of technical, operational and administrative services, including a 24x7x365 technical help desk service to support 200,000 team members in more than 2000 retail stores across Australia.
City Holdings wanted to significantly reduce its data centre footprint, increase availability, address scalability, and respond to user demands by migrating its mission critical workloads from an on-premises based infrastructure to a public cloud provider. As a growing company that was quickly running out of space to host their datacentre on-premises, City Holdings wanted to provide a better service for their customers, ensuring that frontline staff (both in the office and on the ground) could access key systems anywhere, anytime, from any device to improve efficiencies and connectivity across the organisation.
City Holdings took advantage of Kloud’s Azure Accelerate offer, which is a repeatable, customisable solution that helps organisations to identify key workloads to migrate from their on-site data centre and into the highly scalable cloud platform provided by Microsoft Azure.
City Holdings commenced migration to Azure in a big way. They are taking advantage of major features of Azure encompassing Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS); which included:
- SaaS: Sharepoint Online and Exchange Online
- PaaS: .NET Websites and Mobile applications development
- IaaS: Data Warehouse, Reporting Services, Single Sign On infrastructure
City Holdings plans to migrate over 75 servers, consisting of both virtual and physical machines.
Kloud collaborated with City Holdings developers, system administrators and managers to set the foundational building blocks for migrating existing and developing new applications on the Azure cloud platform.
The first step was to commence work with City Holdings’ development team to provide best practices for leveraging Azure SQL, Azure Websites and Azure Access and Identity services. The engagement provided a framework and method for developers going forward when building web and mobile applications using claims-based identity services in Azure.
City Holdings and Kloud also completed setup of Exchange hybrid configuration. Kloud defined a process and strategy to migrate mailboxes from on-premises to Exchange online. The strategy enables City Holdings IT staff to migrate more than 500 individual mailboxes to fully reside in Exchange Online.
The next initiative saw Kloud providing guidance on key infrastructure to migrate to the Azure IaaS platform. Throughout this process, Kloud also assisted City Holdings with the migration of Azure workloads from Singapore to Melbourne- which involved switching core network connectivity and server environments to the new region.
City Holdings continued to engage Kloud to help architect and build a hybrid Single Sign On (SSO) infrastructure based on Active Directory Federation Services as the main identity federation provider for the organisation’s internal applications which included Office 365. The project successfully implemented a highly-available SSO infrastructure in Azure which coexists with the on-premises infrastructure for both external and internal authentication services.
The migration of City Holdings resulted in the following before and after scenarios:
- Exchange and SharePoint migration to Office 365 provides users with single sign on backed by Azure Active Directory, enabling users to authenticate themselves just once to access information on several systems, improving efficiencies.
- Migration of their public-facing website to Azure results in faster response times and lower latency when loads are balanced across multiple global regions, this includes the ability to automatically scale resources to meet traffic demands, enabling easy deployment with great support for continuous deployment integration.
- Migration of Application (SQL) data warehouse to Azure provides access to a consumption based-model with no upfront infrastructure costs and provides elasticity, agility and flexibility through creating new application environments quickly and easily, e.g. for dev/test or experimenting with new features, without the need to provision new software.