Expert Azure Advice: AGG SMART

AGG SMART Case Study

This case study explains how Compete366 worked with AGG SMART, a cloud software solution developer for the concrete and aggregate sector, to build a resilient and secure infrastructure using Microsoft Azure.

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AGG SMART is an integrated cloud-based shipping & customer management system developed specifically for the concrete and aggregate sectors. It delivers a complete end-to-end solution managing everything from handling customer details, quotes, job planning, delivery tracking, invoicing and reporting.

Initially developed in in conjunction with two large UK aggregate and concrete suppliers, AGG SMART has grown over the last 5 years and is now in use with around 100 aggregate and concrete suppliers, managing over 800 concrete and aggregate delivery trucks out on the road every day.

The system was designed to be cloud-based from the outset, and it was also essential that the system was simple, user friendly and able to be used wherever staff are – either in the depot or out on deliveries.

The Business Challenge

Initially AGG SMART set up its cloud-based service with its own dedicated server in a datacentre. However, as the number of customers grew, it became apparent that a more resilient infrastructure was required.

As Jamie Ellwood, MD of AGG SMART explains “As we are providing a cloud-based service that is used every second, people notice as soon as it’s down. We needed to provide a high-availability, resilient service, so it made sense to move our infrastructure to Microsoft Azure.

AGG SMART Objectives for the project:

  • Resilience
  • Scalability
  • Performance optimisation
  • Cost optimisation

The Solution

The challenge for AGG SMART was that in moving from a rented server model with a set monthly price, they weren’t sure how to go about configuring the Azure cloud-based infrastructure and predicting the associated costs.

AGG SMART decided that they needed someone to guide them through the process.  And after reaching out to Microsoft, AGG SMART chose to work with their recommended Microsoft Gold Partner, Compete366.

As Jamie explains “We needed someone who could hand-hold us through the process, and we wanted to work with an organisation that was used to working with a small business like ours, and could give us the support we required.

Compete366 worked with AGG SMART to advise and guide them to on their requirements.  They set up Azure Virtual machines, the Azure Database for MySQL DB, and reserve Instances for backup and resilience using Azure Site recovery.  One of the most valuable aspects of the project was that Compete366 recommended separating out the database from the servers which instantly ensured redundancy support in the infrastructure.

The Outcome

The new infrastructure has given AGG SMART the resilience they require.  As Jamie adds “When running our business we are always trying to balance cost against service delivery, and using Compete366’s expertise I feel like we’ve got the balance right.  We have found that we have much happier customers, as our service is always available.  And by having the built in resilience of two servers, if we do ever have an issue, we are able to quickly swap over to other server and get things back up and running within minutes.”

Working with Compete366

The team at Compete366 provided exactly the right support we needed in the early days, when we needed that level of expertise to make sure we had everything set up right.  Now when my monthly call comes with their Azure technical expert, I usually have nothing to report as things are running really smoothly.

Next Steps

AGG SMART has recently won 2 new customers in the USA.  So, as the opportunity for AGG SMART expands then they may need to consider if they require US servers to provide the rapid response expected by clients.  Of course using Microsoft’s Azure infrastructure means that they can easily expand wherever their customers are across the world.

Plans are also afoot to move from virtual machines to redevelop the technology to use app services.  At this point, the Azure PaaS services –  a deployment and development environment within the cloud that delivers simple cloud-based apps to complex, cloud-enabled applications, will come in very useful.

This would allow AGG SMART to host their applications without the need to worry about the maintenance of servers and operating systems.

If you’d like to find out how our Azure experts can help you set up your IT infrastructure in the most effective way then do get in touch. We’ll be pleased to help.



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