C3 Group rebuilds its private cloud on Lenovo and wins on-prem

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C3 Group rebuilds its private cloud on Lenovo and wins on-prem

Regional New South Wales MSP C3 Group has rebuilt its cloud platform, and found that doing so helps it to win clients with ongoing on-premises requirements.

That may sound counterintuitive, but C3 managing director Brian Townley told CRN that many of his company’s clients have on-prem applications that just won’t go away.

“Sometimes it is legacy apps relating to specialised hardware, especially manufacturing equipment,” he explained. “Some aged care applications aren’t ready to go into the cloud too.”

And sometimes it just makes no sense to send a company to the cloud.

“We might look after an organisation that has a single office for all of its staff. Why put that in the cloud when it is only ever accessed on that one site? They don’t have a need to change from the infrastructure they use.”

C3’s approach has therefore been to build a private cloud that mirrors the tech its clients use on premises.

The company’s just refreshed that cloud, building it on Lenovo hardware and Microsoft’s Azure Stack HCI.

“We can replicate that in customer environments,” Townley told CRN. “Most of our customers have the same setup we run, and we can manage consistently across both environments.”

If a C3 client choses to remain on-prem, C3 can therefore manage their setup and also offer the telephony, backup, security and other services in its portfolio.

Clients can also choose to run in the C3 cloud and take advantage of its IaaS services, and the ability to reach the wider Azure public cloud.

Townley told CRN that C3’s new cloud was comfortably the largest investment the company had ever made. But he’s confident it was a good investment because he thinks running a private cloud is a key differentiator.

“Having our own private cloud gives us the flexibility that others do not have,” he says. “We can do it all in-house. I see public cloud is being super-commoditised.”

“Our customers like that we are their administrators and that the buck stops with us. In the future we could include more public cloud Azure in our offerings. For now customers prefer our option.”

Nuts and bolts

C3 Group’s cloud is built on Lenovo servers and runs Windows Server 2019 and Storage Space Direct.

Townley said the MSP chose the platform because licensing costs were superior to rival hyperconverged platforms. Lenovo offered a validated solution, which helped too!

The company’s cloud resides in a Sydney Equinix data centre. While C3 does not have full time staff in Sydney, Townley said there are sufficient flights to Sydney from its Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie offices that it can get any hands-on work done in a timely fashion.

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