[South Africa] ACS transforms Disaster Recovery with VMware and Routed

ACS, a division of Altron that provides secure data hosting and networking for not only the Altron Group of companies but also external customers across South Africa, has announced the strengthening of its partnership with VMware Cloud Provider partner Routed. The partnership’s aim is to enhance ACS’s current disaster recovery (DR) offering with a more scalable and efficient cloud-based solution.

“We provide the secure hosting of transactional data as well as applications which contain a significant amount of private and critical information. Given the sensitivity of this data, it must always be available. Our previous solution required significant granular manual intervention when we needed to switch customers over to DR. It was therefore essential to implement a more cost-effective solution that could cope with the massive amount of data that needed to be transported across to the DR data centre,” says Mira Andric, ACS Operations and Delivery Manager.

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Andrew Cruise, MD of Routed Hosting who is the first VMware Cloud Verified Partner (VCPP) in Africa, says the previous ACS DR solution was not only difficult to manage, but it was manual-driven for recovery and tied to their storage resulting in an inflexible environment.

“Because ACS runs VMware inside their data centre and they themselves are a VCPP, it made sense to deliver a solution that combines our respective expertise in the VMware ecosystem. They are quite forward-thinking to approach another service provider partner to deliver a best-of-breed offering rather than try do everything themselves,” he says.

 “We were looking for a VCPP partner that could integrate well with what we already had in place. It was not a case of reinventing the wheel but rather implement something that could take the business to the next level.” Andric adds.

ACS implemented VCloud availability and shipped over 30TB of data within two weeks. The entire project took three months to complete with ACS now running a full DR-as-a-service (DRaaS) offering incorporating the reliability, availability, and security needed.

“ACS is providing customers with a self-service portal where they can ensure that the DR systems are available and up and running at a moment’s notice. Our engagement with Routed has been a partnership, and they have been actively involved in setting the systems up with us and our IT teams,” she says.

According to Andric, this has enabled ACS to complete the project on time and within budget.

“The cost savings have already started coming through. What is most important for us is that Routed has demonstrated that the VCloud offering is running the way it should at a price that is affordable to our customers. Furthermore, the IT teams within our customer environment understand the solution and it is incredibly user-friendly,” says Andric.

Running DRaaS is traditionally quite complex as those are the systems that companies do not require daily.

“However, Routed guided us on this complex path and empowered us to deliver a self-service platform to our customers. Now, within five clicks, the DR system is up and running. The VMware system is just a pleasure to run when you need it most. It has provided us and our customers with a good night’s sleep because they know that when they need it, DR will be done as effectively and securely as possible,” she says.

According to Cruise, ACS can deliver this solution to not only Altron Group companies but also external customers.

“ACS can provide a suite of services that speak to the security and compliance requirements of the digital age. And all this is delivered with the availability and reliability of a VMware cloud solution,” he concludes.

www.acs.altech.co.za

[South Africa] Cloud market moving from supply-driven to demand-driven, says Routed

Vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed, says that four years ago the development of the local cloud landscape was still in its infancy. Managing Director, Andrew Cruise, says that in the time since launching Routed, cloud demand has increased: “The market is moving from supply-driven to demand-driven. While the enterprise sector has taken time to embrace the cloud-concept, we have noted an increase in demand from these organisations.”

He says that the enterprise sector has moved into the driving seat, demanding cloud solutions. This about-turn was predicted according to Cruise: “We knew that the industry needed time to mature and better understand what digitilisation would mean to the success and longevity of their businesses. Where four years ago, owned equipment (either on-premise or collocated) was the outright preference as opposed to public or private cloud, we are now seeing a shift.”

While this shift may imply significant movement, Cruise cautions that cloud growth locally remains small. In particular, private cloud uptake is low and in fact, he says it has never really taken off: “The issue with private cloud is that the definitions tend to vary, which makes it difficult to understand or obtain a firm view of the uptake. Bear in mind that having dedicated equipment that is virtualised does not mean that it is a private cloud.

“When considering public cloud, the local sector seems to have a mixed bag of hosting implementations, but very few that are comparable to a true cloud experience, similar to that provided by the hyperscalers.”

Cloud platform providers have launched some compelling products that will assist in the migration to, and provide easy management of applications in, a legitimate public cloud, but still offer it in a secure and private way: VMWare’s vCloud Director is the standout example.

Lack of cloud skills remains another issue the industry has to address. Cruise says that the channel needs to address their ability to implement bona fide cloud strategies: “It is very important to ensure that you select the correct cloud partner. They need to focus on cloud as their primary business and have the skills to architect, deploy, secure, manage and support cloud infrastructure.”

www.routed.co.za

[South Africa] Routed achieves Africa’s first VMware Cloud verified status

Routed, a vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider has announced that it has achieved VMware Cloud Verified status. As the first company on the African continent to attain this status, Routed is proud to be among an elite group of highly skilled providers with the ability to operate at this high level of cloud certification.

The Cloud Verified badge signals to customers that Routed offers a service running on top of the complete VMware Cloud infrastructure. Through Cloud Verified partner services, customers attain access to the full set of VMware Cloud Infrastructure capabilities including integration and interoperability, cost optimisation and flexibility.

Andrew Cruise, managing director, Routed, says that being cloud verified by one of the global cloud leaders such as VMware is a career highlight: “We have watched as the cloud foundations were being built over the past four years and as we head into 2020, it is clear that the cloud-surge will continue, albeit cautiously, and Africa will continue to be a significant player within the global cloud sector. To work closely with VMware brings significant strength to the Routed offering. We are delighted to reach this milestone first and look forward to being an active participant in the developing cloud sector across the African continent.”

“Partners that are VMware Cloud Verified provide organisations with complete and advanced VMware Cloud technologies, along with interoperability across clouds for greater advantage for their customers’ businesses,” said Dave Funnell, VMware Senior Manager: Cloud Provider Business. “Cloud Verified services delivered by VMware Cloud Providers can provide the efficiency, agility, and reliability inherent in cloud computing. We look forward to supporting Routed as it empowers organisations with a simple and flexible path to the cloud.”

VMware’s global network of more than 4,000 VMware Cloud Providers leverage VMware’s consistent cloud infrastructure to offer a wide array of services, provide geographic and industry specialisation, and help customers meet complex regulatory requirements. Cloud Providers operating under the VMware Cloud Provider Program deliver individually tailored cloud solutions and services in more than 120 countries.

www.routed.co.za

[Column] Andrew Cruise: DR and security strategies could save your network in 2019

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, South Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that disaster recovery (DR) and back-up solutions remain key to business strategies for 2019

Andrew Cruise, Managing Director, Routed, South Africa’s only vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, says that disaster recovery (DR) and back-up solutions remain key to business strategies for 2019. Cruise says that protecting on-premise and cloud-based data is critical if businesses are wanting the ability to recover all areas and avoid disasters, something he says did not fully resonate with businesses in 2018.

“Despite growing interest, majority of local businesses are yet to fully understand the importance of DR and back-up. Time needs to be spent reviewing what is in place, how and where it can expand and if using new technology will assist in ensuring better delivery in 2019,” says Cruise.

He says that a new trend is to form closer ties between DR and security. While DR traditionally concerns itself with loss of data, applications, systems and locations, the rise of malware and external attacks across networks has placed increased focus on the recovery of these environments and in a secure state: “Solid DR strategies will meet compliance requirements, while also ensuring the recovery of data, specific endpoints and applications,” says Cruise.

With more moves into the cloud, businesses need to make a concerted effort to embrace DR and backup. Cruise says the reality of ownership of the data is key: “This remains the organisation’s responsibility. The onus is on them to find ways in which to protect cloud-based data, this includes using third-party vendors.”

As threats are on the increase, a cloud approach could further protect a network from attack, even act as another layer of defense: “Recovery could potentially be much quicker if the entire system is simply rebooted, as opposed to trying to resume services on the network which experienced the attack,” explains Cruise.

This practice of cloud-based DR provides a much more efficient approach to resuming business functions. Cruise says that Routed hopes businesses will continue to explore DR and back-up solutions, giving serious consideration to cloud-based solutions and services.

Andrew Cruise, is the Managing Director, Cloud provider Routed, South Africa

[South Africa] Routed Signs Expansion Agreement for Ubersmith Subscription Business Software

Routed, a vendor-neutral cloud infrastructure provider in South Africa has signed an expansion agreement to take further advantage of subscription business management software from Ubersmith, an INAP (NASDAQ: INAP) company, to further enable its fast-paced growth.

The company is a model of efficiency using the Ubersmith software suite to automate pay-per-use billing to reduce the chance of mistakes in a manual process, as well as centralize customer information including client contracts. It bills clients on a pay-per-use model and sells its solutions through partners, such as internet service providers (ISPs) and managed service providers (MSPs).

Ubersmith provides the flexibility for Routed to efficiently bill large enterprises as well as smaller MSPs. In addition, all of Routed’s customers use the Ubersmith software Client Portal for easy access to information on the services they’re using.

Based in Cape Town with data centres there as well as in Johannesburg, Routed’s vendor-neutral cloud hosting platform is built using VMware technology — specifically vCloud Director stack. The company takes advantage of Ubersmith’s built-in integration with vCloud Director, as well as QuickBooks so that clients’ usage data is pulled into the billing system.

“The Ubersmith software is ideal for the kind of subscription billing we do and the business model we have while integrating well with other applications and infrastructure, and remaining open for the future as needed,” said Andrew Cruise, managing director of Routed. “It makes our lives easier, helping our people in billing, customer service and sales work efficiently to handle the growth today and prepare for the scalability needs of our business tomorrow.”

Future plans at Routed include expansion of the Ubersmith software to include the Sales Manager and Order Manager, which provide workflow tools and automation from the initial quote to account setup, provisioning, billing and more.

“We are pleased to partner more deeply with Routed to help enable its cloud business and its ability to launch and support high-quality services with great efficiency,” said Kurt Daniel, CEO of Ubersmith. “We’re pleased to play a role in Routed’s success in South Africa and beyond as they take further advantage of the full range of turnkey usage-based billing, infrastructure and operations capabilities we offer to their organization and their customers.”

www.routed.co.za

www.ubersmith.com