Month: March 2012

Wiebe Nauta appointed as new UK Operations Director

With over 20 years’ experience in the Telecommunications and IT services, Wiebe Nauta has joined the UK management team, following an eight-year period at BT.

Claranet’s Operations Director plays a critical role in managing the entire customer lifecycle experience – from design through implementation and ongoing support for the company’s networking and hosting customers.

Wiebe’s previous role as Service Operations Director for BT Business encompassed networking and IT and services provisioning for UK businesses. Prior to this, he was based in his native Netherlands, acting as BT Global Services’ Head of Service Assurance for Benelux and Nordics, a role that put him in direct and regular contact with the company’s customers across a range of industries.

I have joined Claranet UK at a tremendously exciting time, as it is preparing to launch a host of new service offerings – one of the key reasons I was drawn to the company. I believe that I can make a real and lasting impact on the way Claranet interacts with its customers, so I am naturally delighted to have joined such a fast moving and agile organisation.

Wiebe Nauta, Operations Director, Claranet UK

Wiebe has over 20 years’ experience in working with not only BT, but also Colt and Dutch carrier KPN. He has a degree in Computer Sciences and an MBA from the Rotterdam School of Management.

Changing young live with The Princes Trust Group

We recently joined the Princes Trust Internet and Media Leadership Group (IMLG) which brings together broadcasting, publishing, internet and media firms who want to give disadvantaged young people a new start in life.

Claranet has joined firms such as Microsoft, Google and Facebook in the IMLG to help tackle record youth unemployment levels in the UK. The fundraising and networking forum has raised more than £730,000 for The Prince’s Trust in just over a year, helping young people into jobs across the UK.

Our UK Managing Director, Michel Robert,stated:
We are delighted to be able to support The Prince’s Trust by actively participating in its Internet and Media Leadership Group. Claranet has a strong history of supporting charities, which have included Childline and more recently SOS Children’s Villages. The Prince’s Trust therefore was an ideal partner for Claranet, given our historic support for young people as they rebuild their lives.

With one in five young people in the UK not in work, education or training, youth unemployment costs the UK economy an estimated £155 million a week in Jobseeker’s Allowance and lost productivity.

We hope our support will address this by playing an active role in fundraising. The Prince’s Trust itself gives practical and financial support to the young people who need it most by developing key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training.

Sarah Hertzog, Head of Business Development at The Prince’s Trust, added:
The Internet and Media Leadership Group (IMLG) has seen its membership rapidly grow since its inception in 2010, and now welcomes one of the most dynamic brands in the UK market. Having Claranet’s support is a fantastic coup for the IMLG and it is hoped that a dynamic and innovative relationship can be formed so that we can help even more young people into jobs across the country.

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps change young lives. It helps 50,000 vulnerable young people each year, giving them the skills and confidence to find a job. The Prince’s Trust needs to raise almost £1 a week to continue its vital work. Last year, more than three in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes moved into work, education or training.

Mid-size businesses lead the way in cloud adoption

We recently conducted some research into cloud computing adoption which discovered that the mid-market is leading the charge towards the adoption of cloud computing.

According to the research, there appears to be more use of cloud services amongst medium-sized businesses, where 60 percent of those organisations reported using cloud services. This compared to fewer small-sized (44 percent) and enterprise-sized (48 per cent) organisations.

The research, conducted in November 2011, into cloud adoption rates amongst businesses in the UK, polled three hundred senior IT decision-makers to build a comprehensive profile on the UK cloud computing market.

The research also found that 55 per cent of respondents confirmed that they are using cloud in some capacity today. Of this 55 per cent, 27 per cent have been using cloud-based services in one form or another over the last 12 months, while 28 per cent started using cloud in the previous year.

Michel Robert, managing director at Claranet UK stated:

The reasons for the lower uptake amongst smaller and larger enterprises could perhaps be explained in two ways. Smaller companies may lack in-house IT expertise to manage the services themselves, for large enterprises there are issues around risk assessment, compliance and purchasing, increasing the length of the procurement process,”

For many businesses, there is also an issue over internal culture, where technology is viewed in more traditional terms, to which cloud services do not conform. In comparison, medium-sized organisations tend to have some in-house knowledge and skills; they also tend to have less bureaucracy to slow them down than larger organisations. It is these factors that I see as accounting for their faster rates of adoption.

Our research also identified the type of ‘cloud’ that organisations are procuring to deliver their cloud services. We found that 79 percent of cloud models used are either hybrid or private, with only 15 percent of those polled using public cloud and just 2 percent using a community cloud model.

Michel continues:
There is a strong preference for either hybrid or private cloud models in the majority of infrastructure or application areas. This is primarily because IT decision-makers view these models as lower-risk than other forms of cloud services and means that they can keep greater control over their applications and data. We have found that this offers a greater ability to control the perceived risks in using cloud services, making it a more attractive proposition.

The results also indicated a high-level of understanding amongst respondents about the importance of the network in delivering cloud services. 81 percent believe that it is crucial to ensure robustness of the network infrastructure to guarantee availability and performance. There is also agreement (61 percent) that without optimising the network for delivery of cloud services, the performance of applications will be reduced.

Clearly for those that are adopting a cloud service, there is a good knowledge of why the network capability is central in the delivery of an effective cloud package. Interestingly, 33 per cent of IT decision-makers view end-to-end accountability in combining both service and delivery of a cloud and network as the greatest benefit. This highlights the need for integrated cloud/network services as the market matures its cloud-based offering.
Michel concludes




The increasing importance of network availability to your business

VPN and Internet connectivity provide much more than an online presence and access to facebook for procrastinating employees. As core business functions look to utilise IP connectivity to provide cost optimisation, functionality and revenue growth, the importance of a stable, available network connection dramatically increases. Even a 30 minute outage can have a significant impact on the revenue and productivity of a business.

Highly available connectivity services usually involve high costs, limiting options available to smaller businesses, branch offices and home workers. When broadband connectivity was introduced into the UK, resilience was provided through narrowband services such as Dial-Up and ISDN, but over time increases in bandwidth requirements made this technology obsolete.

There are options available, with cost-effective high availability services such as Copper Ethernet or alternatively high levels of service minimalising the time it takes to get your broadband service restored. While these are effective, they’re not a direct replacement for cost-effective resiliency.

Identifying this as a major problem, Claranet has spent the last 12 months working towards engineering a service that fits the growing needs of businesses. Keep your eyes peeled on the newsletter, website and twitter over the coming weeks to see what we’ve got in store.

Claranet awarded framework contract under G-Cloud initiative

news_big-ben-gcloud.jpgClaranet has been successful in our bid to supply cloud services under the government’s G-Cloud framework for public sector suppliers, and we have been awarded a framework contract under the initiative to provide Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) services to government organisations.

Claranet will supply our recently launched hypervisor-agnostic cloud service, the Virtual Data Centre (VDC). This IaaS cloud will allow government departments to provision their own virtual data centre in seconds by adding their required resources – such as virtual CPUs, networking and storage elements – through a simple drag-and-drop interface. This will ensure departments do not pay for unused resources and keep expenditure down, with the option for increased capability when needed.

For Claranet’s PaaS offering, we will supply our Managed Application Hosting (MAH) service, key for government departments who may require bespoke solutions and external management in order to operate in a cost-efficient manner.

The G-Cloud programme is a government initiative committed to the adoption of cloud computing and delivering computing resources to departments across the country. Through this, it aims to deliver fundamental changes in the way the public sector procures and operates ICT – providing a multi-supplier framework that covers the processes of buying, managing and using cloud services.

With only 39% of those who registered for the G-Cloud accreditation successful in their bid, the strength of Claranet’s bid lies in our reputation for delivering reliable and effective infrastructure and platform services – whilst adhering to the stringent regulations of the public sector.

We are delighted to be part of the accreditation scheme for the G-Cloud, and means that we can provide cloud services to UK governmental departments. Our Virtual Data Centre is built on principles of security and reliability, which are of paramount importance to any government department.

Michel Robert, managing director at Claranet UK

Claranet launches next generation cloud service designed to meet customers’ needs

Claranet recently launched the Virtual Data Centre, a new cloud computing service based on the delivery of enterprise-class services, fully integrating computing and network provisioning. Our new solution has been developed to meet the needs of companies looking to migrate their internal IT infrastructure to the cloud, and the new service addresses the key proposition of cloud deployments: the ability to control costs, scalability and speed of implementation.

Upon launch of the Virtual Data Cente, Michel Robert, managing director of Claranet UK, said:

We are delivering to the market a solution that is built entirely around the needs of the user. Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre is built on four key principles: security and reliability, based in the country of the customer’s choice all with access to the first of up to six European nodes, with ease of network integration and a platform that is hypervisor-agnostic to facilitate migration

Our cloud proposition is based on the highest levels of certification, and the leading technologies available on the market. Crucially, our offering brings together computing and network provisioning, which delivers lower connectivity costs and increased choice. Furthermore, our cloud proposition delivers not only a reliable and sophisticated alternative to the market, but one that means high-performance cloud provisioning is now available to companies of all sizes.

Built on an enterprise-grade infrastructure, the Claranet Virtual Data Centre offers users resilient hosting, guaranteed resources (vCPU, vRAM and vStorage), and persistent storage. Hosted in tier-3 equivalent data centres, the service delivers guaranteed service levels ensuring high availability, low network latency, and 24×7 local language support.

The Claranet Virtual Data Centre enables organisations to migrate to the cloud rapidly and with ease, via its leading-edge self-service portal. This new, single portal enables end-users to manage both dedicated and shared cloud platforms from a ‘single-pane-of-glass’. Users are therefore able to merge existing cloud servers into logical applications and template them for deployment via a simple drag-and-drop interface, all within minutes. In addition, the cloud portal delivers server and resource provisioning ‘on-the-fly’, as well as an ability to migrate from an existing virtual server platform into the Claranet Virtual Data Centre.

Users’ applications and data are always in their chosen country, which reflects data sovereignty and data ownership concerns amongst end-users. These are ranked as the biggest concerns for companies of all sizes according to research carried out by Claranet. Its research, conducted in October 2011, found that 85% of organisations stated that data security was the biggest risk factor in migrating to the cloud.

The research also found that one third of a sample of IT decision-makers stated vendor lock-in was a major risk when considered cloud migration.

Our relationships with both Microsoft and VMware truly sets us apart from the majority of suppliers in the market. Being able to offer a differentiation in service and no vendor lock-in via our hypervisor-agnostic strategy, we believe we bring a credible solution to companies looking to leverage the opportunity that cloud services can bring.

Many businesses start out by just using the cloud for web hosting a mass-market service provides everything they need. But as these businesses become more comfortable with the cloud, they often want to reap some of the other benefits – and place business applications in the cloud. However, these may need much higher availability and have specific data protection requirements that the mass-market cloud may not meet.

On the other hand, enterprise cloud is designed to work with enterprise-grade IT systems, which means it is more resilient, and compatible with a wider range of IT components. The Claranet Virtual Data Centre is a different proposition, delivering a network-integrated cloud – so that users can connect to their cloud solution with their private wide area network without using the public internet for connectivity.
Michel Robert, managing director, Claranet UK

Claranet allows fans to keep an eye on Big Brother

Last summer, reality television phenomenon Big Brother, made its debut on Channel 5 and Claranet was selected to successfully support the programme with a scalable, high availability hosting and management service.

Using a hybrid cloud environment, our service enables the dedicated Big Brother website to cope with surges in demand, while the service’s scalability ensures Channel 5 only pays for the capacity they need and use at any given time. Although the addition of Big Brother online has doubled Channel 5’s total web traffic, the applications have experienced 100 per cent uptime.

Channel 5’s digital offerings are centred around two dedicated Big Brother services: a standalone Big Brother site providing Video on Demand (VoD), live updates and editorial content, as well as a Big Brother 2011 Facebook app, both of which are hosted and managed by Claranet.

The deal to bring Big Brother to Channel 5 was signed with production company Endemol in April, leaving just five months before the first episode was to be broadcast. Claranet successfully implemented and tested the application hosting and management in only six weeks.

Paul Thornton-Jones, head of digital media at Channel 5 said:

The Big Brother audience is one of the most demographically valuable in the TV marketplace. Given the predominantly young audience’s preference for social media, our core strategy rests upon driving additional on-demand video viewing from audiences for the catch up-programmes and clips from the Big Brother House. The aim was to achieve this by encouraging user engagement through social media, which involves pushing news, content and interaction to Twitter, Facebook, and via the dedicated Big Brother website

If a Big Brother story breaks, it breaks online first; there is no way to predict when the next big story might occur. The application hosting therefore needs to be able to cope with huge traffic spikes. To be affordable, however, this capacity needed to be scalable so that Channel 5 is not paying considerable sums during periods of low demand.

Our managed application hosting, based in its own facilities, was complemented by using Amazon Web Services’ Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform, enabling dynamic provisioning so Channel 5 only pays for the burst capacity it uses.

Martin Saunders, Product Marketing Director at Claranet said:

The Big Brother website needs to be hosted separately from Channel 5’s other online properties to limit the risk of impact on main revenue generating sites such as Demand 5, Channel 5’s TV catch-up service.

The service is designed to handle 45,000 page impressions per second, so it can deal with the sudden surges of interest that is part and parcel of Big Brother. Factoring in the very unpredictability of the programme, the application hosting design gives Channel 5 the ability to scale the service to their needs in real time, and burst into the Cloud at times of peak demand, while the resilience of the service is evident in the 100 per cent uptime that has been achieved.