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Gadens recently migrated its application hosting from a managed data centre provider to Microsoft Azure, leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) cloud computing services to achieve increased agility and substantial cost-savings benefits. At the project helm was Tom Shirley, Development Lead, who worked closely with Xello’s cloud experts to seamlessly move the firm’s business-critical apps while adhering to operational requirements.

As part of a long-term partnership with Xello, Gadens now has its core applications hosted in Azure IaaS. They now have faster and more responsive apps, flexible and scalable infrastructure and enhanced operational efficiency that helps them stay competitive and prepared for tomorrow’s challenges.




Law firm


Azure Migration

Significant cost-savings with Azure IaaS

Enhanced task efficiency and less risk

Faster access and better performance with core applications

The Challenge

Gadens has a national environment which comprises several business-critical applications that service all the firm’s offices across Australia. Before engaging Xello, Gadens outsourced its cloud infrastructure to a managed data centre provider to run its applications and associated web and SQL workloads on a total of eight servers.

Achieving a more cost-effective business solution was critical for Gadens and their long-term goals, and the firm defined several key business requirements they needed to meet in their search for a new infrastructure solution.

  • Compliance with business, legal and security requirements
  • Geo-redundant solution that provides alerting and monitoring capabilities
  • No downtime or disruption while moving any mission-critical applications
  • Penetration-testing and enterprise-grade security throughout migration

Outside of high-costs, Tom identified three further pain-points with their previous setup which formed the need for a migration: “One was operational capability. We’re talking business-as-usual (BAU) and enhancements that need the right infrastructure. It was exceedingly difficult, costly and some infrastructure elements weren’t possible – they were not available previously.

“The second driver was a future roadmap in terms of the applications; to be able to unlock and be more competitive,” Tom affirms. “The Azure platform really drives that. The third was to pair up with a consultancy to reduce risk. To have expertise across this environment that’s outside of the firm, it means the risk is lower, and I think that was our biggest driver.”

The Decision

The firm ultimately wanted better cost-savings and infrastructure flexibility for its future application development efforts and decided to move away from outsourced infrastructure in favour of leveraging the many advantages of Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform that fit their needs: “We were already in the cloud, but it’s not just about having the need to host servers,” said Tom. “It’s about having new business capabilities, so you can be much more competitive – that was a big driver for us.”

With extensive experience in Azure software development, Tom was assigned to lead the migration project and meet these key business goals. To help enable the seamless move Gadens desired, he recognised the need for specialists: “Moving from something existing, mission-critical – it has to work when you flick the switch. We needed outside expertise to get it done. And that’s where consultant companies like Xello really tap in for businesses like us who want to be in the cloud.”

“What’s different with Xello is they’re very customer focused. It’s a key sticking point with me to have team members who can adapt to discovery as the project progresses, and have the attitude and expertise to say ‘yes, we want your success’ – it’s night and day.”

Tom Shirley

Project Manager at Gadens Lawyers

The Solution

After a recommendation from an infrastructure expert, Gadens engaged Xello to provide a blueprint and long-term business roadmap for their cloud migration project. Xello performed a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) analysis on what the migration would cost and determined Gadens would reduce expenditure by approximately 60% by moving its business over to an Azure IaaS model with a complete enterprise infrastructure stack.

The significant cost-savings Azure IaaS offered was compelling, and its capabilities in supporting mission-critical applications and workloads with instant, scalable infrastructure were greatly aligned with the type of solution Gadens desired. Xello were then engaged to design, build and migrate the firm’s national environment to IaaS. With an adaptive, strategic approach to discovery and communication as the project progressed, the team implemented the migration as desired.

“When I worked with Xello on the migration, it was a real team effort that worked well,” recalls Tom. “The holistic approach to the engagement – continuous conversation and adapting as we go – is a key advantage Xello offers.”

The Outcome

Gadens’ national environment was successfully migrated to Azure IaaS in February 2018. The firm unlocked several significant benefits and outcomes with the new business solution in place.

  • Reduced infrastructure costs by 60% under Azure’s ‘pay for what you use’ model
  • Faster access and better performance with core business applications
  • Easier and more manageable environment with less risk of change

The success of the implementation came down to Xello’s “responsive approach” to cloud infrastructure and the strategic partnership formed with Gadens that allowed both groups to understand how and why the solution could meet their specific business needs.

“Cloud is a discovery for firms like Gadens and in that discovery it’s all about change,” said Tom. “Xello is adaptable and happy to listen to change during the project. Being in that space means things can get done and we can get to and achieve the end-state we weren’t able to do on our own. It’s been a very competitive edge to work with Xello.”

With core applications workloads now in an Azure IaaS environment, Gadens is now focused on leveraging new reporting solutions such as Microsoft’s Power BI, firming up their security model process to further reduce risk and improving their technology stack to keep competitive and aligned with what their clients want.

Overall, the biggest benefit of the Azure migration for Tom, outside of significant cost optimisation, is having the right infrastructure framework and platform in place that helps the business keep prepared for tomorrow. “When something once took a week to get a server, it now only takes two minutes to provision. When new operational projects come in, our infrastructure is now unlocking the changes the IT team need to get a solution in place – BAU (business-as-usual) efficiency and new project operational efficiency.

“The move is not just about having a cloud platform as a talking point – it’s about having a platform that can grow with us and we can build on,” Tom concludes. “That’s what we’re unlocking since we migrated, and that’s a clear-cut win.”