Bond Air Services

Bond Air Services operate helicopter services across the UK, Ireland, Norway and Australia. Bond Air Services is the largest operator of air ambulance aircraft in the UK. Using mainly Eurocopter H-135, H-145 and Bolkow BO-105 helicopters, it operates from 23 bases around the UK and has two major maintenance facilities, Staverton and Glasgow.

Tender Invite

In 2001, Tech OP were approached by Bond Air Services and invited to tender for the contract supporting their IT infrastructure. Bond required an entire network for their new flagship head office set up at Gloucestershire Airport. Tech OP would be required to move the existing server solution from Aberdeen to Cheltenham. In addition Tech OP needed to plan, design and implement the entire server estate ensuring it was capable of giving the growth and scalability required for such a critical business. This solution needed to connect all 25 sites distributed across the UK together to ensure the business could share information and access critical applications easily and reliably.

By listening and understanding the customer, coupled with expert knowledge and experience, Tech OP successfully surpassed the expectations of the original brief, even coming in under budget.

Bond Group required a support partner able to cope not only with the demands of a business growing to over 500 staff in the UK but also have the expertise to design a solution that was scalable and robust. Responsible for the operation of critical Air Ambulance Services across the UK, Civil Aviation Authority conditions required that the data held on the solution had to be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, otherwise the entire fleet of aircraft would be grounded and critical front line emergency services would stop.

After speaking with us, Bond had confidence we were the right expert partner to work with.

Design & Implementation

Tech OP immediately designed and implemented a 'private cloud' data centre architecture for Bond Air services, based on Microsoft Hyper-V virtualisation technology. The solution includes full immediate failover of every server to a redundant data centre on site with an option to fail over to a different geographic location if required. By doing this we could ensure the servers would remain available even if there was a major hardware failure or power cut, as the servers would immediately become available in the new location. Installing several Hyper-V host servers in 2 separate data centres at their head office, along with a UPS and generator power back up solution, Tech OP successfully provided a system that met the strict standards of the CAA audit requirement and has proven itself time and again through power cuts and incidents, with critical systems remaining online throughout.

This arrangement offers all the convenience of connecting to cloud services but retains the extra level of confidence in knowing that the data is held on your own servers under your own security arrangements. By the intelligent use of Hyper-V virtualisation technologies the solution has also grown and scaled with the demands of the business, enabling Bond to operate highly technological and critical systems in a cost effective manner, resulting in achieving several awards for being one of the fastest growing and most profitable businesses in the UK.

Remote Access Solution

In addition to the core server solutions, Tech OP had the resource and expertise to design an entire remote access solution that enables Bond's 25 UK sites to connect to these core services reliably. By embracing Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, Tech OP was able to design a redundant terminal server farm securely accessible through the internet, even through restricted connections in rural locations across the UK.

Expanded Solution

By listening and understanding the customer coupled with the expert knowledge and experience Tech OP hold, Tech OP successfully surpassed the expectations of the original brief, even coming in under budget. In light of this, Tech OP has successfully retained the custom of Bond and the UK Air Ambulance for over 14 years.

During this time Bond has taken advantage of our advice and expertise to expand on their solution using, including but not limited to:

  • Ongoing renewal of hardware and expansion of storage, without taking a server offline at any point
  • Complete IP telephony solution enabling free calls between Bond sites along with advanced presence and remote voice connectivity
  • Complete company extranet based on SharePoint with embedded one click access to every application required through a secure portal
  • Complete UK wide distributed wireless network for seamless staff and guest use across the UK
  • Advanced cyber security IPS and detection solutions to protect data and access around the world
  • 24/7 support and hosting of data and email solutions for 2 critical Bond businesses in Australia

Recognized Experts

With the successful growth of Bond Air built on technologies provided by Tech OP, Bond were successfully sold to the multinational Avincis Group, and in turn to the FTSE100 Company, Babcock International Group. As testament to our expertise and success, Tech OP were quickly recognized as valued experts and were engaged as critical partners with both owners and used in further larger international IT projects for both organizations. Detail of these can be found in our Avincis and our Babcock Case study.

Tech OP has proved to be an invaluable technical resource to our IT support team over the last 14 years. Their honest and clear approach and ability to really understand our business and needs, combined with their immense knowledge of the latest and best technologies have been instrumental in ensuring we offer the best solutions to our business. Business Systems Co-coordinator, Bond Air

Read our case study on Babcock International Group's large Office 365 tranisition