Infrastructure-as-a-Service in a few mouse clicks

vom 15.02.2019

19.12.2018/ln/Henrik Hasenkamp, CEO von gridscale

The data expansion will not stop, more and more data centers have been emerging for years. Many companies are reaching their financial limits. One alternative is the cloud, more precisely Infrastructure-as-a-Service. The use case on our website shows how Media Ventures GmbH succeeded in switching to the cloud in the blink of an eye. Among other things, the company offers IT services that it wants to continuously expand, which no longer requires expensive data-center space, but just a few mouse clicks.

German companies need increasingly more IT capacity, the number of server rooms and small data centers close to their locations is growing enormously: According to a Bitkom study, 2600 data centers have been rebuilt in the last ten years. This is due to the digitization of many processes and the development of new, IT-supported products and services by companies. As a result, the demand for IT capacity is growing and is often covered by the company's own (colocation) data center. As data centers grow in technological complexity, so do the costs of hardware procurement and IT operations.

Many companies would like to stop this trend, including Media Ventures GmbH in Cologne. 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. Thus, the corresponding services are on an equal footing with accounting, controlling or legal advice.

Young companies without their own data center

The IT share in the company is growing steadily, so that one day Carsten Probst, IT manager of the GmbH asked himself an obvious question: "Is the operation of servers actually part of our core competence? His answer: No. "Actually, we offer a diverse portfolio for our companies, from founder coaching to accounting and IT services. The IT department of Media Ventures spends a lot of time and effort to fulfil the wishes of its customers.

Our customers include various digital companies such as a cloud-based music production platform, a live video platform and other companies from the online dating, eCommerce and medical technology sectors. Many of these companies are still in their early stages and want to concentrate exclusively on expanding and scaling their business models. Media Ventures offers its customers the opportunity to operate their services and products on gridscale's cloud infrastructure, developed according to German security standards - including high-performance performance, high availability, seamless scalability and German data protection laws.

The customer orders, the IT delivers

"Our customers don't notice much of the complexity of the IT services, we offer them exclusively managed services," says Carsten Probst, describing Media Ventures' approach. There is, for example, the typical case of a customer who wants the technological infrastructure for a specific marketing campaign - but please do it now. There are standardized solutions that 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 exactly the starting point for our Datacenter 2.0 concept," says Probst. "We planned a virtualized data center with which we could meet all our customers' requirements as before, but with reduced technical complexity.

The appropriate 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 Probst emphasizes: "In our experience, a classic hosting provider needs several days of lead time for this.

Agile deployment and high automation

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 logically and commercially segment and encapsulate their projects and customers and thus also manage them. "Only in this way can we provide shared services to our customers, such as email. On our side, this reduces the configuration effort, but on the user side it acts like a separate server," explains Probst. With the Partner Panel, direct IT costs can be allocated directly to the clients' cost centers without any effort.

A further point is the much-quoted Basic Data Protection Ordinance (DSGVO). Media Ventures' customers 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 investment company that were previously only possible by hand and therefore very cumbersome to implement. For example, there is a simple integration of "Let's Encrypt", which fully automates the creation and setup of certificates for encrypted websites. In addition, all data is stored encrypted and the existing on-premises 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-premises and the entire infrastructure will soon be moved to the cloud. Probst: "In a few years we will have a completely empty data center without our customers noticing any difference".

Conclusion

With an IaaS solution, companies not only reduce costs but also simplify their IT structures. Ultimately, the (virtual) data center is now also within reach for small companies and agencies that do not see their core competencies in the operation of data centers and IT services.

The original article in german can be found here.

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