Hosting solution provider Hegerys wanted to provide its customers with cost-effective, cloud-based platforms to replace an expensive on-premises infrastructure. By offering Windows Server 2008 R2 with Hyper-V on a free three-month trial period,
Hegerys has expanded the market for Microsoft cloud computing solutions. And its customer FITEC has improved its availability from 60 percent with on-premises technology to 99.99 percent with virtual servers.
Hegerys is a leading IT hosting solutions company based in France, with more than 2,000 customers and a turnover of €4 million (U.S.$6.3 million) in 2011. It manages around 2,000 servers, 200,000 websites, and four separate data centers. Hegerys, a subsidiary
of Group Magic Online, specializes in managing complex business infrastructures for leading brands, including clothes retailer GAP, and provides software-as-a-service solutions with virtualization technologies.
Among the 2,000 customers that use Hegerys hosting solutions is FITEC—a major player in computer and technical training, educational instruction for engineering students, and tutored distance learning, with 5,000 clients.
Founded in 1989 in France, FITEC began to use e-learning programs in 2007 by developing its distance learning platforms— including a Spanish-language platform—through on-premises servers. Christine Marangos, Director and Head of E-Learning at FITEC, says:
“We encountered some challenges scaling these on-premises platforms to meet increasing demand. There were availability issues and delays when deploying some applications.”
As a small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), FITEC lacked the capacity for cost-effective in-house technical and operational management. Marangos says: “We were experiencing access and Internet connection failures, which is why we looked at the option of
outsourcing the platforms to an experienced hosting services specialist.”
Microsoft Partner Hegerys wanted to make the Microsoft virtualization software platform more accessible to SMEs and enterprise customers, including FITEC, in France. The Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V technology, along with the Plesk
web-hosting graphical interface, was the foundation of the offering. Hegerys provided 1,000 virtual machines free for three months, converting to a pay-as-you-go financial model after that. It used the Microsoft System Center suite of products for automated
management of servers.
But cost-efficiency was only part of the offer. Morgan Fellous, Chief Executive Officer, Hegerys, says: “Our mission at Hegerys is to understand the business challenges facing our customers—from the pre-sales phase to solution deployment. Hegerys relies
on a catalogue of service components to respond effectively to customer requirements. Hyper-V was a new platform for our customers, which we introduced at the end of 2011 alongside other solutions.”
However, while the price point for Hyper-V—the fastest growing virtualization software in France—is important in building a user community, Hegerys sales executives emphasize that Hyper-V is integrated with Windows Server 2008 R2. It offers a complete solution
with automated management of all servers.
Marangos decided to test hosted Hyper-V technology on the FITEC Spanish e-learning platform to evaluate the benefits of virtualization. With expert support from Hegerys, the results exceeded the firm’s expectations.
Hegerys is experiencing 75 percent increased growth in Microsoft hosting solution sales by offering virtualization software with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V. Around 60 percent of customers that agree to try the three-month free usage offer have subsequently
converted to the pay-as-you-go model. In the first five months, Hegerys has already signed up customers for around 400 virtual machines.
FITEC consolidates physical servers to reduce costs. Marangos says: “We improved our availability from 60 percent to 99.99 percent. Hyper-V helped us consolidate our physical servers and cut costs significantly.”
Hyper-V enhances security and stability for hosting customers. Marangos adds: “Hosted Hyper-V technology allowed us to boost the functioning of our Spanish language e-learning platform and ensure its security and stability. We’re now planning
to deploy virtual machines for all our platforms.”
Hegerys customers get access to hosted solution in minutes not days. Fellous says: “We’re offering a self-service hosted solution to our customers. They can sign up to the virtual machines offer within just five minutes and upgrade easily
after the three-month free offer expires.”
Six out of 10 customers convert to pay-as-you-go offer after three
months. The Hegerys discount offer has proved highly effective for the hosted Microsoft cloud-based solution. Fellous says: “The market is highly competitive, but the great consultancy and pre-sales advice given by Microsoft has resulted in
six out of 10 customers signing up for the product on a pay-as-you-go basis.”
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