Synergy Housing Group

When Synergy Housing’s 40 servers were coming to the end of their natural life, Mark Bonelle, IT Operations Manager, saw the opportunity to considerably reduce costs, space, time and resources in a rapid migration to VMware and a virtual server environment.

Synergy Housing Group

In addition to savings, Mark also says that working with APSU to provide a VMware solution running on IBM Blade Centre has significantly increased the efficiency of deploying new servers within the organisation.


Synergy Housing currently manages a portfolio of 9,000 homes with their tenants based across Dorset and Hampshire. The Group is growing rapidly and the need to deploy servers to deal with that growth is now straightforward and much cheaper than in the past. Mark says, “What used to take weeks, now takes less than an hour. The cost saving in time alone more than justifies the move to a virtual server environment. But the benefits are wider ranging, not least because of the revolutionary nature of the technology”.

Synergy had been watching the development of VMware and virtual server environments with interest for some years. When the need for server replacement became more pressing, and server consolidation became a real option, Synergy’s Board quickly recognised the appeal of the now mature, highly stable and well proven technology.


“Our business is about building thriving neighbourhoods and to achieve that, we need to provide the best possible service to our tenants. IT is a vital component in providing a first class service to tenants as well as offering value for money. APSU helped us achieve all that through their expert consultancy and seamless implementation of VMware and IBM Blade Centre.”

As with all service centric businesses dependent on IT, Synergy’s customers are internal as well as external. Any migration to a new way of working needed to enhance the experience for both groups, so choosing a reliable technology partner to make that happen was crucial. “We had been working with APSU on a number of projects over the past few years, and know them to be a trusted partner. APSU were aware of the bigger picture and worked with us to understand the needs of our business in order to deliver the best possible solution,” Mark explained.


With a large and growing population of users, server loading was a key determinant for Synergy. APSU ran an audit of Synergy’s load bearing needs using the industry standard PlateSpin software. This gave Mark the final reassurance he needed to recycle the costly and now outdated servers and, with some relief, was also delighted to have more space available in the data centre and to cut energy and air conditioning costs.

Conception to switch over took only a few months. Because the Blade technology is now in such high demand, once board approval had been secured, the slowest piece of the jigsaw was obtaining the equipment to deploy in the Blade Centre. In the meantime, APSU worked hard with Synergy to get ready for implementation and migration. From the PlateSpin audit to handover, the work took only eight weeks, and from the first stability tests, the system went live very quickly. Mission critical systems, such as email, were fully tested to make sure they were stable and then “we just ran with it.”

As for the magic ROI? “Thanks to APSU, we have more than recouped our investment.
Mark Bonelle, IT Operations Manager

“It really was an overnight revolution,” says Mark. “Users didn’t even know it had happened, and it’s all credit to APSU that we had no down time at all.”

Synergy has been enjoying its virtual server environment since 2008, and has seen significant benefits to the business:


  • In-situ upgrades now show benefi ts back to the business immediately
  • New servers up and running in less than an hour, not weeks
  • Hardware refreshes and upgrades cost less
  • Environmental impact
  • Lower electricity costs; for example, less air conditioning
  • Lower carbon footprint
  • Simplified and significantly enhanced Disaster Recovery Plan


In conclusion, Mark says; “This is the most successful project I have ever managed. The amounts of time saved means IT staff are free to work on tasks other than managing the old physical servers. As for the magic ROI? “Thanks to APSU, we have more than recouped our investment”.


APSU is a provider of integrated IT systems and services to business. Through our understanding of business and technology, we help our customers meet their business challenges with innovative, comprehensively supported technical solutions.

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Working with us will ensure that your IT systems are effective in helping you create and maintain a competitive edge.