Scalable cloud services | Simac ICT Nederland
Peter van Egmond
Manager Cloud Practice
Simac ICT Nederland
"BIT gives us what we need: not just the accessibility and reliability, but flexibility and growth potential as well. It might not sound very sexy, but a good data center, to me, is a boring one."
Medium sized and large organisations find a reliable and expert partner that relieves them of the care for their ICT management and ICT projects. In addition to a clear focus on ICT management, Simac pays a lot of attention to concrete applications for technologies like cloud computing, wireless communication, virtualisation, unified communications and security.
"In 2010, Simac decided to shift its focus to cloud computing and in 2011 we started to adjust our organisation and infrastructure to it. Working from the cloud is nothing but the next step in outsourcing: a very logical development in our service. However, it does require a completely different way of working. The client still receives the same functionality, but the big difference is that users can personally request, use or return that functionality. The underlying technology continues to become less of an issue to clients; their concern is about functionality and reliability. Behind the scenes, the building blocks of the service are much more standardised, because that is necessary to be able to automate that process.
That also means our dependence on the infrastructure, which was rather large to begin with, grew even more with the transition to services from the cloud. The way you have tuned your system, and with which partners, is very important, because when everything is automated, there often are very little people involved anymore. The accessibility and performance have to be guaranteed. We have all kinds of clients and they all depend on us to be able to perform their jobs. For example mortgage lenders. You do not want a consultant discussing possible financial consequences with a customer to have to say: 'I'm sorry, but we can't go on, because I can't enter the data right now.'
Based on our requirements, we started to review the data centers we were working with in 2011. At the time, there were eight. Eventually, all eight were dropped and we ended up with two new partners, one of which is BIT. Of course, we looked at the obvious factors like security, redundancy of the facilities, certifications and connections to the most important providers. Stability and continuity are essential - things you will learn to appreciate most when they are not there. It is like gas, water and electricity: you expect it to be readily available. When the electricity supply fails, you, as a user, have a generic problem. The same goes for a data center that fails for one reason or another.
It was important to us that BIT could offer us the flexibility we need. Cloud services are flexible and scalable. When our clients grow, we want to be able to accommodate that growth at the pace they require. If it takes two months to get additional rack space when our delivery process is based on four weeks, there is no match. At BIT, this just works. They anticipate, for example by reporting that rack space next to our equipment will become vacant and asking if they should reserve it for us.
Flexibility does not only concern increase in volume. Almost all clients come to us with a hybrid situation. A client has their own equipment, there are systems in a data center, part of their functionality might be hosted and in addition to all that, they usually already use cloud services. The first step is for us to take over all that and place it in our data centers. After that will come a migration to the cloud. A data center needs to be able to support that process.
BIT does all that. We get what we need, in the broadest sense of the word. That seems to be an obvious quality, but it is not always easy to come by. We are truly content. It might be a bit of a boring story, but a data center needs to be boring. I don't need surprises. A good power station is boring too."