Month: July 2012

Claranet launches integrated 3G service for today’s mobile office

Private network connectivity solution for companies adjusting to BYOD revolution
Large reduction in costs for small and mid-sized enterprises

Claranet has launched a new 3G service integrating mobile working and back-up connectivity, which links directly to its private network. The new service avoids the need for its customers and their end-users in turn, to use the public internet for any flow of data.

Using either a SIM card for mobile users or a 3G router to provide extra connectivity for office locations, the service provides a new level of flexibility and simplicity to connect with Claranet’s private network.

While most mobile carriers price their private 3G offerings to discourage small and mid-market businesses through excessive set-up charges, Claranet doesn’t charge to enable its private network, so customers can start small and grow as they need. This drastically reduces the cost of entry for companies wanting to create secure remote working access for their employees. It also allows for greater flexibility to meet changing demand as the trend for bring your own device (BYOD) develops.

The service will keep data within an organisation’s firewall, removing costly and bureaucratic authentication processes from IT departments and the need for virtual private networks to encrypt data on the public internet, constraining bandwidth and data flows.

According to the latest research, 35 percent of CIOs, IT Managers and business decision-makers believe that their mobile workforce will grow over the next year. A quarter of those questioned in the recent IDC EMEA Enterprise Mobility CIO Survey* also stated that they would spend more on mobile technology over the next 12 months.

Our new 3G service is an important part of our offering to a market that is adjusting to the rise of BYOD. CIOs need to be confident that this new mobile way of working will reduce complexity while maintaining the integrity and security of their data. If mobile working or back-up connectivity are not fully integrated with the private network, then IT departments effectively have to run 3G as a separate system. Different levels of security and specific authentication processes are then needed for the rest of their IT platform. For many businesses, it is now a given that their workforce will to some degree need to work remotely. Poorly integrated 3G is therefore a big issue for many.”

Michel Robert, Managing Director at Claranet UK

As well as having a direct connection to the private network for the mobile workforce, Claranet’s 3G solution also enables businesses to transact more reliably by acting as a resilient secondary connection supporting a primary Broadband line.

Retailer, Space NK, is using 3G in this way. Claranet is already supplying its 60 UK stores with its MPLS private network using Broadband backed up by 3G.

Connectivity in our retail estate is an essential commodity. In the face of repeated incidents with copper lines and long repair times, we decided to implement a ‘no wires’ solution rather than a second line or ISDN back-up.

A key issue for us is the robustness of the equipment in the store – a one box solution is critical, without any USB dongles or other similar hardware that can get easily knocked, and then disrupt the service. We also need to have automatic failover, where 3G picks up the slack when it is needed, without the need for our intervention.”

Anthony Baldwin, IT Manager at Space NK

Critically, having 3G supplied by the same organisation that provides Space NK’s network ensures a more integrated service with a single line of accountability. There can be no argument as to who is responsible in the event of an issue with service.

Robert concluded:

3G is a tried-and-tested technology, but one that has mainly had to rely on the public internet. So by providing improved integration to Claranet’s private network, we are adding an important and valuable improvement – security – to our service.”

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Cloud industry still not reassuring end users over security

Cloud dismissed by one in four IT directors, new research shows

The IT industry has made little progress during 2012 to reassure end users about their legitimate concerns about migrating to the cloud, Claranet’s UK managing director today warns.

The comments came in response to new research from IT recruiters Robert Half which found that a quarter of CIOs and IT directors in the UK have no plans to move to the cloud because of concerns about data security, service continuity and ease of management.

Late in 2011, Claranet itself conducted extensive research into the barriers to cloud adoption which yielded remarkably similar results. Claranet’s poll of 300 senior IT decision-makers found that data security was the biggest concern, with 46 per cent of respondents saying they were afraid of losing in-house control over their systems and data. The same proportion in the Robert Half survey cited security as the biggest barrier to cloud adoption.

This new research found that 36 per cent of users saw service continuity as the main barrier, while 32 per cent cited data integrity. In Claranet’s research, 35 per cent said service reliability and 28 per cent said ‘confidence over where data is stored’ were their biggest concerns.

“The similarity between the two sets of research, conducted some nine months apart, shows how difficult the cloud industry is finding it to answers customers’ concerns about cloud computing,” said Michel Robert, Claranet’s UK managing director.

“End users are continuing to cite these same areas of concern, which suggests either that there are too few services out there in the market that provide solutions to these problems, or that there has been a collective communications failure by the industry,” continued Robert.

“In truth, the answers to these legitimate concerns are simple to understand and to communicate. To solve the issue of data sovereignty or integrity, providers must show that customers’ data is not stored in facilities and jurisdictions lacking rigorous safeguards. Service providers, therefore, need to guarantee that their customers’ applications and information is only stored in local, in-country data centres.”

Robert pointed to the issue of reliability as another commonly cited barrier that can be easily overcome.

“Users are worried that moving to the cloud will mean they suddenly have two things that could go wrong – the cloud service and the network connectivity – and two providers who can pass the buck in the case of service downtime,” said Robert. “Again, the answer is simple: cloud providers either need to invest in their own network and integrate it into the service, or else they should partner with network providers to offer an holistic service where network provision forms an integral part.

“While cloud computing is never going to be perfectly suited to every organisation, a quarter of IT directors dismissing it out of hand is surely too great a proportion for the industry to ignore.” concluded Robert.

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Reliability is cornerstone of Claranet’s customer service

service_excellence_pic1.pngTaking pride in what we do and continually improving the service we provide customers are two of the core values which underpin Claranet’s customer service ethos. As part of an ongoing process to take customer feedback and to build this into solid operational improvements, we recently canvassed some of our customers to find out what elements of the Claranet customer service they valued most.

Reliability came top of the list. Of the customers canvassed, the majority said they valued this most – both from the technical service element (network service reliability) and from the operational and service support aspect (service delivery and incident resolution).

Taking this feedback on board, and with the aim of continuing to provide a high-calibre and reliable customer service, Claranet has in the last few months introduced some changes within our Operations department. These include investment in expanding our network infrastructure to ensure, ahead of the Olympics, a reliable platform to cope with the increase in traffic anticipated over this period. In addition, a refinement of roles within our Operational Support teams will help each team focus on what they are good at – from incident resolution, change management, to data centre activities (build activities, data centre access, and in-/out-bound logistics).

As these refinements begin to come into place from July onwards, customers will begin to see the benefit of these additional service improvements.

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European roll-out for Claranet Virtual Data Centre

Award-winning “click-and-provision” cloud infrastructure service goes live in Germany and France

Claranet announces that its Virtual Data Centre, the first truly integrated Infrastructure-as-a-Service offering available to the European market, is now live in Germany and France.

The award-winning service was launched in the UK in late 2011 and enables users to build their own data centre in the cloud and provision it with compute, storage and networking resources with a few clicks of a mouse. The Claranet Virtual Data Centre (VDC) also provides a burst capability for periods of unexpectedly high demand, so users pay only for the assets that they use. Since its launch, VDC has received praise from analysts, journalists and customers, and this month won the European Award for Cloud Infrastructure at the 5th Annual Datacentre Awards.

The French and German versions are based on the successful UK model, including the ground-breaking software orchestration layer which makes it compatible with every type of hypervisor, and the portal-based “drag-and-drop” interface. Early positive feedback from the French and German markets has focused on Virtual Data Centre’s use of in-country data centres and integration with Claranet’s own European MPLS network.

The roll-out in Germany comes on the heels of a report by Germany’s top cloud computing research firm Experton which, in an analysis of 350 cloud vendors, placed Claranet as one of only 11 leaders in the field. The report praised Claranet’s integrated network as a key strength, along with its commitment to high-quality infrastructure components and standard certifications such as ISO 27001- and BDSG (German Data Protection and Privacy Act).

Olaf Fischer, Managing Director of Claranet Germany, said,

“Germany has some of the strictest data protection laws in Europe, so it’s very important for German companies to know that their data resides solely in local facilities. Claranet’s use of in-country data centres and its investment in enterprise-class infrastructure technology have been cited by analysts as key differentiators in the market, as has the integration with Claranet’s European MPLS network. Feedback from our customers and prospects has been extremely positive, with organisations expressing their surprise at how easy it can be to set up their own virtual data centre in the cloud.”

The French launch has also met with an enthusiastic response, as Claranet France’s Managing Director, Olivier Beaudet explains.

“Plenty of people here are talking about the cloud, but journalists to whom we’ve demonstrated the service have been unanimous in saying that it is the most mature, advanced offering that they have seen,” said Beaudet.

“There is a real buzz, a ‘wow effect’, around Virtual Data Centre, especially among small- and medium-sized enterprises that we’re talking to. We already have 15 leads for the service, and two signed customers, all of whom have pointed to the advantages of having 24/7 contact with local account managers and helpdesk staff in France.”

Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre was designed following extensive research that the company undertook into customers’ concerns about cloud services; this found that data sovereignty, reliability and ease of migration were the key concerns for organisations that had yet to move into the cloud. Having identified these concerns, Claranet designed a service so that data always resides in local jurisdictions, that is integrated with Claranet’s network and that it is compatible with multiple hypervisor technologies.

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Claranet scoops Award for its “click-and-provision” Virtual Data Centre

Claranet VDC honoured at 5th annual Datacentre Awards

Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre (VDC), the first truly integrated Infrastructure as a Service offering available to the European market, won the European Award for Cloud Infrastructure at the 5th annual Datacentre Awards last night (13th June 2012).

The service, which enables users to self-provision their own virtual data centre at the click-of-a-mouse, was launched in late 2011, when it received an extremely warm and enthusiastic response from customers, analysts and journalists.

Presenting the Award, organisers praised the service’s integrated networking component as a key differentiator in the European cloud market.

Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre is built on best-of-breed technologies and provides a single, easy-to-use portal where users can provision and manage their cloud compute, storage and networking resources. Unlike the vast majority of cloud services, VDC is integrated with Claranet’s own MPLS network, ensuring greater accountability, reliability and ease of management.

Claranet’s UK Managing Director, Michel Robert, said:

“Although Claranet has a long pedigree in hosting and networking, we did not want to jump on the cloud bandwagon without ensuring that we could bring a genuinely useful service to market. To ensure we did that, late last year we conducted extensive research among end users about their key concerns about cloud computing; and the Virtual Data Centre service was designed to reflect this feedback.

“In a competitive market, we needed a truly innovative service that offered real differentiation from other players,” continued Robert. “By listening to our potential customers’ concerns, we decided to build a service that featured integrated networking, exclusively in-country data centres and a hypervisor-agnostic platform – addressing the three key concerns amongst users, of reliability, data sovereignty and ease of migration.

“This Award for Claranet’s Virtual Data Centre, the first pan-European competition we’ve entered the service, is testament to the solid groundwork that we did, and the skill and expertise of our product and technical teams. The Datacentre Awards are judged by a panel of our peers in the datacentre industry, so this Award is a huge vote of confidence in the service,” he concluded.

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Countdown to London 2012

With the Olympics and the Paralympics fast approaching, London prepares for the biggest sporting event in the city’s long history. An anticipated 11 million people are expected to visit the city, putting enormous pressure on the capital’s transport and communications infrastructure. What has Claranet done to ensure business continuity of operations and services?

Claranet’s preparations for the Games

In preparation for London 2012, late last year Claranet set up its Olympics 2012 Project Team. Working with parties such as Transport for London (TFL) and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), they reviewed the issues likely to affect business continuity for both Claranet and its customers. Amongst key issues identified were the impact of congestion on staff travelling times; the effect of extra traffic around Claranet’s central London office and data centre facilities; and delays in a Claranet supplier’s ability to attend premises to address faults.

Initiatives implemented for business continuity

Claranet has undertaken a number of key initiatives to maintain business continuity and to minimise the impact of for customers.

  1. To ensure the reliable delivery of equipment and services, Claranet is working closely with its suppliers to plan projects around the current embargo (1st March – 30th September 2012) on street works in London.
  2. To minimise the risk of disruption and to free up resources for any incidents or emergencies, we are implementing a ‘change freeze’ during this period for all (except the most urgent) maintenance projects.
  3. To maintain business continuity under these conditions, we have ensured that Claranet employees have the tools they need to work from home, enabled flexible working, and undertaken a comprehensive review of our networks to ensure they can cope with the extra ‘homeworking’ traffic.

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Claranet and Dell extend relationship

Claranet are pleased to announce that we are extending our relationship with Dell following the launch of our Virtual Data Centre cloud offering. The new service, developed to meet the needs of companies looking to migrate their internal IT infrastructure to the cloud, is based on Dell servers, the compute element of the infrastructure supporting the Virtual Data Centre service.

With cloud set to change the business IT landscape, Dell has invested over $1bn globally to deliver solutions, services and cloud-based options to help customers capture the benefits from new compute and information delivery advances. Dell has been active in the cloud market for some time, offering open, capable and affordable solutions across hardware and services.

The new cloud computing service from Claranet – Virtual Data Centre – is based on the delivery of enterprise-class services, fully integrating computing and network provisioning, addressing the key proposition of cloud deployments: the ability to control costs, scalability and speed of implementation.

Michel Robert, managing director, Claranet UK, stated:

Cloud computing offers scalability and flexibility, and because of this, it is becoming a central part of business IT strategy for companies and organisations of all sizes. Having a major technology player like Dell commit to supporting our cloud strategy not only reinforces our existing relationship, but helps guarantee our customers high-performance cloud services based on enterprise-class technology. We are delighted to be extending our relationship with Dell and believe that their continued support will help Claranet deliver a reliable and business relevant service for our end-users.

Thomas Volk, VP EMEA for Large Enterprises, Dell, added:

At Dell, we deliver compute infrastructures that enable control, manageability and security balanced with high performance, allowing cloud service providers such as Claranet to operate efficiently and reliably. Our relationship with Claranet is one that we will both work closely on to ensure that it succeeds and this is just the first step in what we hope will be a long-term partnership both here in the UK and across Europe.

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