Disaster drives a client to go all in with managed services

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This article appeared in the August 2014 issue of CRN magazine.

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Disaster drives a client to go all in with managed services

This article appeared in the August issue of CRN magazine as part of the main feature "The secrets of super managed services"


When the heavens opened over Queensland on Christmas Eve 2010, after a month of record-smashing rainfall, the result was a Biblical catastrophe. Thirty-five people were dead, and the repair bill would hit $10 billion and knock 10 basis points off Australia’s GDP.

Against this backdrop, a SureBridge IT customer came to the Toowong, Queensland MSP with the demand – “Never again”. 

The longstanding client was about two years into a refresh but wanted to guarantee it could continue operating in the event of a similar act of nature, says SureBridge sales director Ian Irving. So followed a year of considering options from doing nothing, to going all-in on public cloud or a hybrid solution, he says.

“They were going through a business relocation and wanted to mitigate against the risk of floods,” Irving says. “That business driver was, ‘We can’t afford a third flood where they can’t get to their system.’

“Because of their line-of-business applications, they couldn’t separate x86 and Unix so we came up with a hybrid solution to co-locate their line of business with their cloud.”

SureBridge moved the customer’s storage arrays into the cloud over a weekend, which also provided what Irving calls a “hot-tepid” disaster recovery platform including instant failover for Exchange.

Irving, who came from Hitachi, says the reliability of the Japanese storage vendor’s arrays is a critical factor for customers they manage in remote locations: “We can offer clients a guarantee that they will never lose data.”

“We see our managed services and cloud as a hand-in-glove offering,” says SureBridge services general manager Gavin Dickinson. “It’s not required by any means, we take full responsibility to make it just work.”

Dickinson says managed services is about 40 percent of the business’ revenue but “we want to make it 80 percent in the next five years”.

Altay Ayyuce, Hitachi Data Systems director of cloud and service providers, says the vendor shares the risk and reward with its partners.

“Hitachi has been rapidly evolving from an infrastructure provider to a true go-to-market partner for MSPs,” Ayyuce says. “[We] bring together technical, architectural and sales experts who specialise in infrastructure, converged technologies and cloud delivery [that] service providers can use as the foundation of their cloud offering.”

Ayyuce says Hitachi also provides its 20 ANZ partners with a PAYG consumption model. “We keep track of capacity [to] ensure SureBridge has enough compute and storage so they can easily meet their customers’ requirements.”

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