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SunGard Availability Services Partners With ShapeBlue To Put Affordable, Flexible Infrastructure On Tap For Business

Information Availability pioneer, SunGard Availability Services has over 30 years of experience keeping customers’ critical applications up and running – in recent years, delivery of such services has necessarily embraced cloud Infrastructure as a Service offerings   SunGard looks to provide cloud infrastructures for all sizes of organisations, at all stages of their cloud adoption journey and whatever the use case – Test and Development, Pre-production or Production, the flexibility of SunGard Online – the company’s newly launched on-demand computing platform – is therefore a vital component in our services delivery.

Selecting best of breed partners who add value to SunGard’s offering so that customers can harness the best availability solutions for them has long been part of SunGard’s strategy.  So, when looking to develop SunGard Online,  expert cloud  integrators, ShapeBlue, were the obvious choice. 

As a proven, stable and award-winning  provider of cloud infrastructure and managed services, SunGard enables it customers to harness the cloud to realise their business and information availability ambitions. However, to reflect the fast-moving and dynamic nature of both the technological and customer landscape, SunGard was looking to provide a more flexible solution for SMEs. Gary Watson, General Manager for SunGard Availability Services in Ireland explained.

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 “We wanted to offer our customers the capability to manage their own environment in addition to the fully-managed service we already provided. This flexibility would give them the adaptable and cost-efficient infrastructure modern organisations require, but backed up by an enterprise-class service.”

With organisations continuing to look to drive efficiencies and deliver always-available resources, they are increasingly reliant on IT to help achieve scalability, cost savings and flexible operations.  SunGard Online would therefore support rapid access to robust, scalable resources, but without lengthy set-up times or a complex management interface.  The service would also offer businesses the opportunity to realise these benefits through the cloud in an easy to access and secure hosted environment.

Affordable and flexible on-demand cloud computing platform

To provide such a flexible IaaS solution, SunGard carried out significant research in the market before eventually choosing CloudStack, the leading open source cloud orchestration platform. In use by many of the world’s largest public and private clouds it is a multi-hypervisor, multi-tenant, high-availability IaaS cloud management platform.

“CloudStack was chosen for a number of reasons,” said Gary. “Firstly, was its flexibility to cope with the demanding requirements we would place on it. As we wanted to offer an adaptable IaaS solution to our customers it was important that the framework we built our offering on could deliver this.

“Equally important was the fact that we could contribute to the solution going forward. SunGard has teams on the Apache foundation so we can have direct input into the future direction of the product based on our customers’ feedback and our experience.

“Finally, its multi-hypervisor capability would enable us to deliver the cost-effective functionality our customers wanted.”

 An Expert Delivery Partner

Having determined to base SunGard Online on CloudStack, SunGard then needed an expert partner to help design, build and implement the solution.  A track record of excellence in CloudStack deployments meant ShapeBlue was selected to work with SunGard in realising this latest extension to its wide portfolio of cloud and managed solutions.

Said Gary “We were aware that ShapeBlue was one of the few organisations who had implemented CloudStack at scale for global service providers, so we were confident that they would add both value  and skills to our team.”

A ShapeBlue implementation team started working with SunGard and Citrix in June 2012 as Giles Sirett, Managing Consultant of ShapeBlue explained. “We were initially involved with the requirements phase, working with SunGard to scope requirements to build an initial point of presence in Dublin. A series of workshops ran to establish detailed business, technical and operational requirements. This provided information to create high and low level designs for all aspects of the system. We then moved onto specifying the actual requirements for the physical storage, network and compute platforms.

“The build and implementation commenced in July 2012 and took some 16 weeks to complete. ShapeBlue fully managed the project during this time. This involved the build-out of the storage, compute hosts, virtualisation, CloudStack orchestration and CloudPortal Business Manager layer. We also specified and managed the customisation of Cloud Portal Business Manager by a team from Citrix and supported the integration of the platform with other systems like monitoring and billing platforms.”

Education and skills transfer were also a key deliverable and ShapeBlue developed a comprehensive training and skills transfer programme across SunGard’s technical and operational teams so that they could become self-sufficient. Finally, detailed operational, support and sales run-books were created as part of the handover.

High level of service at a reduced cost

Commenting on the service provided by ShapeBlue during this time Gary said. “They were excellent. It is obvious that they know both the technology and the industry very well. Importantly they also know how to apply this knowledge and experience for the benefit of their customers due to their technical and commercial astuteness. They were  there whenever we needed them, added value to our team and helped us meet ambitious targets for the launch of SunGard Online.”

Since coming to market in November 2012, SunGard Online customers can now enjoy the following benefits:

  • Efficiency: The underlying technology maximises multi-hypervisor capabilities and offers flexibility to future-proof the service by not restricting it to a single technology.
  • Flexibility and packaged service: Businesses only need to pay for resources that they use in a packaged service – starting from only 9c per hour for 30 day contracts. Extra resources can be provisioned within minutes via 24/7 self-service portals.
  • Intuitive: The secure online portal allows an autonomous approach to cloud management based on pre-defined packages that can be designated within your budget.

Gary Watson comments: “This is an important development in SunGard’s cloud capability, giving businesses control and autonomy, as well as ultimate flexibility, in how they choose to transition to the cloud. Companies of all sizes can leverage the stable and robust service, benefitting from enterprise service level guarantees, without the capital costs of larger IT projects.”

This latest development in SunGard’s portfolio of cloud solutions extends a capability that spans public, enterprise and dedicated private cloud infrastructures supported by experienced migration consultants.to ensure customers journey into, and through, the cloud is both smooth and cost-effective.

The next step for SunGard Online will be its expansion across the rest of Europe, as part of realising the overall SunGard global roadmap for cloud solutions.

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