Macquarie Cloud Services has won a deal to host the University of New England’s (UNE’s) new Dell IT infrastructure, after an audacious storage trade-in worked around a pricing problem.
The deal came about after the University decided operating its own data centre was not its core business, a realisation made easier by it reaching a stage at which end of life became all-but-inevitable. A hoped-for migration to public cloud proved unfeasible once explored in detail and led to the University issuing an RFP for colocation and migration assistance.
As explained to CRN by Martin Lindeman, UNE’s associate director for cloud infrastructure services, the University wanted a like-for-like replacement for its VMware environment, but with flexibility to tap public clouds for IaaS and other services in once its migration to a colo and infrastructure refresh has been complete. The chosen colo provider would therefore need good comms links to clouds.
Lindeman described the RFP process as “very black and white in terms of mandatory items” but said the real work of selecting a supplier starts after identifying potential partners that tick all the right procurement boxes.
“The real fun begins with actually engaging with the bidders on your shortlist, and really saying ‘ Can they actually follow through on this and really demonstrate knowledge when it comes to detailed design? Can they ask intelligent questions and do I really understand what they're doing?”
Lindeman said that process quickly satisfied his team that Macquarie fit the bill, and it didn’t hurt that the two organisations already had a business relationship.
But price was a sticking point.
“The project nearly fell over just because our budget was ‘X’, but our preferred supplier was ‘X+Y’. And there was a gap. We were scratching our heads thinking, how are we going to make this fly?” Lindeman said.
“And so at that point we decided to engage with our preferred vendor and ask what they can do.”
That vendor was Dell and what it could do was offer a trade-in on UNE’s storage arrays – even though they were 3Par kit from rival HPE.
“They came to the party there in terms of a competitive trade-in,” Lindeman said.
Macquarie Cloud Services group executive James Mystakidis described the financial arrangement as “clever”.
“It works well with Dell bringing an innovative commercial solution together,” he said.
UNE has now started to move some workloads to its new Macquarie-hosted environment. For now the University is only testing things out in the VMware-and-Dell-powered rig, which is owned by Macquarie and provided under an SLA that outlines required performance, but also allows for elasticity if required.
The deal runs for three years.