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The critical importance of telephony in the mix of business communication means that you cannot afford to take any risks with the systems performance when moving to hosted IP voice services.
But businesses often overlook the fact that cloud services are only as reliable and secure as the network down which they are delivered, which is why it is critical that you use a provider who can operate and integrate both your hosted voice and your network services.
Here are the top 3 benefits of integrating voice and network providers:
‘Cloud Connect’ safely links to AWS and Azure through Claranet’s private MPLS network
Managed services provider (MSP) Claranet has launched a new service that allows its customers to securely connect to public cloud platforms. The service, Cloud Connect, links its customers to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure via Claranet’s own private MPLS network – removing the need to transmit data over the public internet and therefore bypassing data transfer charges from Claranet.
The first in a range of services to ensure that customers can access the advantages of public cloud but with the support of Claranet’s managed services, Cloud Connect is an innovative platform that connects cloud service providers into a customer’s MPLS network in a simple and cost effective way. It offers the ability to link between multiple cloud providers across different locations over Claranet’s core network, with in-built redundancy, while avoiding the public internet.
The service offers consistent performance and dedicated bandwidth between the cloud provider and the customer’s MPLS network without the need to install dedicated circuits.
Neil Thomas, Claranet’s product director, said: “Over the past few years, we have been working hard to ensure that we’ve got a complete portfolio of network services to allow our customers to pick the best option for each application. Cloud Connect is a key part of our networking strategy, enabling our customers to connect to the big public cloud platforms using their own corporate networks. Avoiding the public internet, the connection is more stable and secure, providing the opportunity for customers host their internal, business critical applications on these platforms while keeping their data within their own private networks.
“Both Azure and AWS have tools that can allow businesses to plug directly into their services via the internet. However, if your application is for internal customers only – or you want to consume data sources from internal applications within your public facing application – then having a link over your private network gives you more consistent performance with enhanced security” Thomas continued.
Claranet’s Cloud Connect service is provided through a partnership between Claranet and Telecity Group, using the Cloud-IX platform.
Cloud collaboration tools, social networks, shadow IT, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets, remote and mobile working – all these trends are converging and leaving enterprises with more complexity and less oversight and control of their communications than ever before.
And when you lack that oversight and control, you don’t know where your business is making mistakes. You don’t know where improvements can be made.
The time is now.
Challenge: building resilient infrastructure that can handle high peak-time traffic
Solution: fully virtualised front end supported by scalable hosting, DoS protection and Web Security
Result: significant impact on the user experience as capacity is raised or lowered depending on traffic
ICAEW engages with their students and members at each stage of their careers. ICAEW trains, supports and guides them in their careers with the aim of enabling them to grow and advise businesses. This relies upon a dependable online infrastructure that can handle high peak-time traffic. Before Claranet, the ICAEW’s infrastructure was not always able to handle this workload.
ICAEW’s need for a robust online service became clear five times a year when they released the ACA exam results. These results are posted on the site for students to view. At the time of release ICAEW’s site sees a large spike in traffic, with up to 5,000 students trying to access their accounts to view their results at once.
As Bill Wilson at ICAEW explains, this caused significant problems:
Our site used to find it very strenuous to handle traffic spikes around the time of ACA results. Eager students would repeatedly hit the refresh button to load their grades, which created up to 500 times the access requests than were made in non-peak times. With up to 150,000 potential users for the site at any one time, we wanted to provide a service where our students could get their results and get on with making decisions on the next steps of their careers. A flexible and reliable infrastructure solution was needed in order to meet our users’ demands.”
“With these problems at the front of our minds, we turned to Claranet’s Managed Hosting solution. We sought a flexible infrastructure that could adapt to fluctuating demand for the site, as well as improve our ability to communicate with our chartered accountant members.”
Claranet’s Managed Hosting solution supports the site in times of increased traffic and ensures smooth and consistent operations. With a fully virtualised solution at ICAEW’s front end, the solution is able to increase the level of server support depending on user demand at any given period. When ICAEW needs a robust online solution to handle high levels of traffic, Claranet’s scalable service enables the organisation to deal with these instances. Additionally Claranet supplies ICAEW with their Web Acceleration and DoS Protection and Web Security platforms, and they are trialling Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre Cloud Hosting solution to support their development environments.
ICAEW is a world leading professional member organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 144,000 chartered accountants worldwide. Its ACA qualification to train chartered accountants is respected and valued worldwide.
Much of ICAEW’s engagement with its members and students is done online. Its digital channels are therefore vital, enabling ICAEW to reach out to their customers. Given how important its online presence is, ICAEW called upon Claranet to re-architect their website with Claranet’s scalable Managed Hosting solution.
Claranet’s support of ICAEW’s site has resulted in a rock solid and flexible platform allowing the organisation to better support its members. In real terms it has had a significant impact on the activity of students searching for examination results and the user experience of other ICAEW members navigating the website.
As Bill Wilson explains:
Our solution with Claranet has given us the ability to monitor traffic for every server, raising or lowering their capacity depending on visitors to the site. Nowadays, the peak time for exam results is only a couple of minutes, with each student receiving their results quickly. This is really important for our students – for them, these results are able to make or break their future careers with a number of major firms. Once they receive their results, they are able to browse the site without difficulty.”
ICAEW is continuing to draw their digital activities into sharper focus. This means a full replacement of their internal systems over the next few years, and will improve the way they communicate with their user base and the general public.
Bill Wilson concludes:
Given our productive relationship with Claranet, we are trialling their private cloud services as we consider a cloud-based environment. The move to the cloud seems an inevitable step, as we become a more connected business.”
Since Claranet was founded nearly twenty years ago, it has undergone a transformation from a small consumer internet service provider, to one of Europe’s leading IT managed services providers.
But the IT market never stands still.
Here are the top four ways we see the hosting market evolving in the short- to medium-term:
1) Shift to an application-first world
Four key ways in which the hosting market is changing | Claranet UK
We’re in the middle of a software revolution. As software steadily becomes the centerpiece of businesses in every industry, the IT is coming under pressure to deploy, update and deliver applications more efficiently, but with less time, money and resources.
We see the market for hosting services shifting to place much greater focus on the application, with infrastructure platforms transforming to become a vehicle for software delivery, rather than a primary concern for organisations in and of themselves.
2) The rise of agility and hybridity
Customer expectations of the availability, performance and security of applications and data are rising fast. And downtime can cost businesses on average $5,600 a minute. 
This has fomented a trend towards greater agility of infrastructure and hybrid delivery models, which utilise a range of different cloud platforms to deliver flexible support that is tailored to the needs of critical applications.
But as applications and data are recognised as the chief intellectual property of an organisation, agility and performance cannot be promoted at the cost of security, both in the sense of protection from cyber-attacks, such as Denial-of-Service attacks, and in terms the resilience of the physical server location.
Striking a happy balance will be a key task for the industry over the coming years.
3) Favouring a service-led approach
With data and applications becoming mobile, and possibilities of the cloud diverging endlessly, we are heading towards a world in which businesses inhabit diverse cloud ecosystems, made up of private, hybrid and public clouds. When there are so many options, the service quality and capability become the key component in the selection of hosting platforms.
This has created a trend towards a service-led, user-centric approach that will help organisations to provide the agility that their applications require, hosting them on the right environment for their needs, regardless of the underlying infrastructure.
4) Enhanced privacy and security
As infrastructure platforms continue cross borders to span countries or continents, data, and its attendant privacy- and security-related legal restraints, is beginning to come to the forefront of market attention.
At the same time, the EU is driving towards legislation governing the protection of data, intellectual property, and associated privacy concerns.
This is driving strict compliancy and robust security measures in hosting services across the board. Which is why security is now the number one priority for the cloud industry.
As the hosting industry becomes increasingly diverse, it is agility, security and high-quality service that will stand out from the crowd.
At Claranet, we strive to be the most trusted managed services partner in Europe. Get in touch to find out how our hosting services can help you do amazing things.
Disaster recovery specialist recognised for VMware expertise
Techgate, part of the Claranet Group, has been awarded VMware Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service™ (DRaaS) Powered status for its DRaaS VMware Site Recovery Manager (SRM) service. The first provider in Europe – and currently one of only eight worldwide – to have achieved the status, Techgate will work with VMware to develop and support new services to meet the needs of its customers. This effort will dovetail with Claranet’s existing participation in the VMware vCloud Air Network.
Techgate, which was acquired by Claranet in July 2015, has been providing business continuity and disaster recovery solutions for over a decade and has created an award-winning cloud-based DRaaS solution. Techgate was one of the first providers to use VMware Site Recovery Manager and its DRaaS Powered status has been awarded on the strength of the company’s expertise with VMware technologies.
VMware DRaaS Powered status is backed by VMware Site Recovery Manager™, the industry-leading solution that enables application availability and mobility across sites in private cloud environments. VMware Site Recovery Manager is an automation solution that operates with an underlying replication technology to provide policy-based management, non-disruptive testing and automated orchestration of recovery plans. This provides simple and reliable recovery of virtual machines between sites with minimal or no downtime.
Michel Robert, Managing Director of Claranet UK, commented: “Techgate has been working with VMware over the last few years to build and test innovative DRaaS solutions for customers. The ability to build a disaster recovery environment in a way that is cost effective, reliable and secure is transforming the way that many businesses manage their IT. It does, however, take skill and experience to configure the DR environment correctly. We are therefore incredibly pleased to become the first European recipient of VMware DRaaS Powered status. With Techgate joining the Claranet Group we believe their DR capabilities, as demonstrated by this validation, combined with our extensive portfolio sets us apart from other managed services providers. This recognition furthers our position as a leader in the hosting business in the UK and as a long-time VMware partner.”
“Organisations continue to seek ways to protect their operations from downtime and loss of data. With more applications, systems, and data to protect than ever before, having a disaster recovery plan in place is important,” said Graham Crich, director, Cloud and Service Provider Partners, EMEA, VMware. “We are pleased that Techgate has attained VMware DRaaS Powered status, and look forward to our continued collaboration.”