Cobalt Ground Solutions (Cobalt GS) provides ground handling solutions and services for airlines at London Heathrow Airport. The company was formed as part of a merger between Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), during which the ground service subsidiaries of each were combined. With about 800 staff and a responsibility for managing aircraft, passenger and baggage handling at Terminal 3 and Terminal 4, it is essential that Cobalt GS’s IT is streamlined and robust enough to keep up with the high demands of its operations. ESP has upheld a strong relationship with Cobalt GS since its inception, and was well placed to deliver this latest IT project.
Our client’s challenge
Cobalt GS’s IT infrastructure was outdated and inefficient, and did not have the capabilities that the company required. Multiple physical servers were being used – all of which had to be managed – and these were causing application errors. ESP was asked to help Cobalt GS replace its infrastructure and simplify its IT systems.
ESP’s bespoke IT solution
We implemented a new storage area network (SAN) for Cobalt GS, configured using high-performance fibre channel technology. This network of storage devices was linked with two HP ProLiant servers, which provided the necessary processing power and memory requirements. The physical 2008 servers were replaced with virtual 2012 servers, and on-premises Exchange 2007 was upgraded to on-premises Exchange 2013. We kept Active Directory (AD) in place. The infrastructure was initially built in the staging area at ESP HQ, and was installed on-site once it had been updated. We carried out the migration in stages (over several weeks), as the majority of the work needed to be completed outside of the airport’s hours of operation. During the migration, the old and new infrastructures were kept online at the same time, while Cobalt GS’s users moved to the 2012 platform.
Another great outcome
The project was a complete success and caused minimal disruption to the operational environment of the airport. Cobalt GS was very pleased with the result, and our long-standing relationship with the company continues. An individual at Cobalt GS said: "ESP has been a trusted partner for Cobalt since our inception. Their technical knowledge and understanding of working in a high-pressure environment such as an airport helped make the migration a complete success."
Cobalt GS’s IT is now powered by virtual servers, enhancing its efficiency.