Melbourne's Alliance Networks deploys NetApp backup for Fleetwood Corporation

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Melbourne's Alliance Networks deploys NetApp backup for Fleetwood Corporation

Melbourne-based managed services provider Alliance Networks IT has won a deal to deploy a NetApp backup solution for Aussie manufacturer Fleetwood Corporation.

ASX-listed Fleetwood is a manufacturer and designer of recreational vehicle parts and accessories as well as an operator of accommodation villages.

The company had been using Microsoft Office 365 across its operations, but the IT team, led by chief technology officer Daniel Lim, wanted a better backup solution than the built-in backup function to help secure data and stay up to date with Australian compliance requirements.The built-in backup feature of Office 365 was limited to only 90 days, which was too limiting for Fleetwood’s needs.

Fleetwood and Lim turned to long-time partner Alliance Networks for a solution, deciding between a Veeam-based backup and the NetApp SaaS backup. Alliance had done security work for Fleetwood in the past, including penetration testing.

“When we were looking at Veeam, we found that they’d only provide the software and we still had to reach out to a cloud provider to provide storage and other needs, so we tried to get an all-in-one solution,” Lim told CRN.

“I didn’t really want some software because Fleetwood’s strategy for the past four to six years has always been moving to cloud infrastructure, so all our data is sitting in the cloud and Office 365.”

Alliance Networks managing director Jimmy Janash introduced Daniel to the NetApp SaaS backup solution.

“The attractive part of the NetApp solution was the unlimited data retention and storage, compared to the Veeam solution where I had to constantly manage the storage and make sure it wasn’t running out and that the company wasn’t paying too much,” Lim said.

“NetApp’s solution meant I don’t have to worry about those and we just had to pay for the user licence.”

Janash told CRN that Alliance Networks partnered with NetApp in mid 2019 as part of the company’s plan to break into the software-as-a-service backup market. He said he wanted to fill a niche of Office 365 customers that needed a more robust backup functionality.

“The NetApp solution wasn’t implemented just for backup but also for the quicker restore times. When you look at other backup solutions, there’s quite a process involved in restoring emails or any other data,” he said.

“With NetApp, it’s very easy, and Daniel had done a few restores by himself without the need of another team member or myself.”

Speaking on the project, NetApp solutions engineering director Dhruv Dhumatkar said the company’s goal and mission is to build tool sets and services that are easy to use, since most of NetApp’s customers are not always IT organisations at their core.

“Upon the arrival of COVID-19, our customers have been relying on digital platforms to do their business with customers, so the IT really needs to deliver in order for them to be able to do their business profitably and efficiently,” he said.

“With easier to use solutions, partners can provide to an end user customer that can use combinations of capability that's in a private cloud that they build, as well as a public cloud like Office 365 and it's easy to use and secure, and provides a capability that's actually not there in the native service. And that's actually the value that we're delivering to the partner and the end user customer.”

Looking ahead, Alliance Networks is looking to bring the NetApp SaaS backup to more organisations using Office 365, recently signing up a couple of “fairly large” clients, with a few that are close to completion as well, according to Janash.

“We’d do anything from five to 10,000 email accounts at this stage, but there are other clients coming in with a lot more than that,” Janash said. “The solution is catered for any size company as long as they have Office 365.”

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