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March 10, 2017updated 28 Mar 2017 4:09pm

Moving to the cloud brings laser focus on apps

By John Oates

Moving to the cloud means moving away from obsessing about platforms and accepting the central role of applications. It frees up IT departments to focus on the strategy and future development of technology and not just the nuts and bolts of implementation.

This allowed Irish reseller Ignitar to set up a private cloud for their clients in just four weeks from start to finish with just ten staff, using HPE expertise and the Helion platform.

Ignitar’s CEO Jonathan Browne said the company did not know the potential size of the local market for cloud services but saw a big opportunity for offering Small and Medium Enterprise customers with enterprise-standard cloud services at a competitive price.

They decided against cobbling together their own solution, reselling white label services or working with various vendors to build a data centre because they had already signed up customers and had set live dates to hit.

Browne said: “If we’d had to work with multiple vendors, all working to their own speed, we’d have never made it. HPE was the natural choice. There are no other providers capable of providing compute, storage and networking. Plus, for 20-plus years HPE has been my preferred supplier on workstations, storage and servers.”

The private cloud is built on Helion CloudSystem running on HPE 3PAR F400 Storage and HPE ProLiant blade servers. There are two sets of all key hardware, co-located at different sites.

From ordering the hardware to hosting the first customers took just four weeks.

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Ignitar had 30 customers using their cloud offering within a year of launch. These range from animation companies to financial services.

Browne said the company was not focussing on traditional industry vertical sectors but looking instead at application verticals. Ignitar is also working with its application partners to look for customers across international – Sweden and the Netherlands are current targets.

Focus on applications also allows Ignitar to more easily repeat, and template, and customise solutions which increases internal efficiency and allows savings to be passed back to customers.

Future growth of the business should be possible without adding to Ignitar’s ten-strong headcount because of the automated management provided by Helion.

The flexibility of cloud infrastructure also means the company does not have to second guess the vagaries of the Irish economy which is growing but still seeing mergers, acquistions and reshaping of companies as they adopt to a changing environment.

Browne said: “Businesses have money to invest, but they’re a lot more considered in the investments they make. It is far more difficult to anticipate where you’ll be in 18 months’ time. Having a flexible model is a compelling proposition.”

Helion’s ability to automate tasks and increase hardware and storage provision for customers on the fly was a big benefit for Ignitar, platform building which previously took days or even weeks can now be achieved in minutes. Running everything through one application also simplifies management and reduces costs.

Looking forward Browne said the company has already seen development of the Helion platform and was already talking about deploying Gen9 blades with improvements in footprint and power consumption which will further improve Ignitar’s business model.

For Ignitar’s customers the main benefit is an accelerated agility and adaptability to moving market conditions.

They can respond to change and call up new or different infrastructure as required almost instantly.

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