Industry:Private Equity Investments
Systems running on gridscale:
media ventures GmbH is a private equity investment company founded in 2000 by media entrepreneur Dirk Ströer and headquartered in Cologne. Media ventures promotes the development of innovative business models and opens up new markets and business fields in the areas of technology, media, telecommunications and eCommerce. Media ventures gives talented entrepreneurs access to a leading media company and makes its extensive network available. media ventures accompanies entrepreneurs from the foundation through the growth phase to the maturity phase. They concentrate on the European area with a focus on Germany, independent of the industry and with a broad market focus.
In a few years we will have a completely empty data center without our customers noticing any difference.Carsten Probst, Head of IT, media ventures GmbH
The business of the holding company of media entrepreneur Dirk Ströer is to support other business models – with money, but also with services. Since CEO Dirk Ströer is primarily interested in investments in technology, media, telecommunications and e-commerce, IT services are particularly important. The corresponding services therefore have equal status with book keeping, controlling or legal advice.
The ICT share in the company is growing steadily, so that one day Carsten Probst, Head of IT, asked himself an obvious question: “Is the operation of servers actually one of our core competencies? His answer: No. “Actually, we offer a diverse portfolio for our companies, from start-up coaching to accounting to IT services.” The IT department of media ventures is very busy in fulfilling the wishes of our customers. The customers of Media Ventures include various digital companies, such as a cloud based music production platform and a live video platform, as well as other companies from the online dating, e-commerce and medical technology sectors.
And with this in mind, it was clear that media ventures needed a solution that would help them focus on their core competencies and relieve the IT department.
“Our customers do not notice much of the complexity of the IT services, we only offer them managed services”, Carsten Probst describes the approach of media ventures. There is, for example, the quite typical case of a customer who wants the technological infrastructure for a special marketing campaign – but immediately. There are standardized solutions for this, which Carsten Probst can also offer: “Two to three servers behind a load balancer, a database and an ElasticSearch instance”. Managed Services in this context means that the customer orders and the IT service provider delivers.
The customer now simply uses the corresponding applications, sets up landing pages, sends newsletters into the online world and waits for the response. He can then evaluate the leads achieved and transfer them to his main systems. The entire technological substructure is invisible, the technical details secondary. “This was precisely the starting point for our Datacenter 2.0 concept,” says Carsten Probst. “We planned a virtualized data center with which we could meet all our customers’ requirements as before, but with reduced technical complexity.
The ideal implementation for this concept is “Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)”, the creation of a virtual data center in the cloud. This is where the infrastructure provider gridscale from Cologne comes in, because it offers exactly the right services for the requirements of media ventures. For example, the marketing campaign mentioned above: The necessary servers and tools are no longer installed by the company itself, but compiled in gridscale’s customer portal. Servers are configured within minutes by mouse click and the applications based on them run after a few hours. An enormous speed advantage, as Carsten Probst points out: “In our experience, a classic hosting provider needs several days of lead time for this”.
However, Probst was not only convinced by the significantly more agile approach to the provision of IT services. The infrastructure provider was able to meet all important requirements. The multi-client capability of the individual infrastructure solutions is decisive. It ensures that data and applications of the individual companies are strictly separated from each other. The Whitelabel Partner Panel enables media ventures to segment and isolate their projects and customers logically and commercially and thus to manage them. “Only in this way can we provide our customers with shared services, for example for e-mails. On our side, this reduces the configuration effort, but on the user side it acts like a separate server,” explains Carsten Probst. With the Partner Panel, direct IT costs can be allocated directly to the clients’ cost units without any effort.
Another point is the often quoted data protection regulation (DSGVO). The customers of media ventures prefer a service in which all data is stored exclusively in Germany. In addition, gridscale was also able to offer services to the Cologne-based holding company, which were previously only possible by hand and therefore very complex to implement. For example, there is a simple integration of “Let’s Encrypt”, which completely automates the creation and setup of certificates for encrypted websites. In addition, all data is stored encrypted and the existing on-premise infrastructure is integrated with a VPN.
Above all the very simple operation and the high level of automation convinced media ventures to move the entire IT infrastructure step by step into the gridscale cloud. The first project was the relaunch of the website. Subsequently, several customer projects were implemented and a new document management system introduced – exclusively in the cloud. New IT projects are already no longer being implemented on premise and the entire infrastructure will soon be moved to the cloud. Carsten Probst: “In a few years we will have a completely empty data center without our customers noticing any difference”.