2 page Case Study
Posted: 10/4/2013
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ClearPointe Hosting Services Provider Manages On-Premises and Cloud-Based Servers for Customers

ClearPointe provides hosted network management services to organizations worldwide. With Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server, ClearPointe can provide greater flexibility and scalability in server management. The new ClearPointe Windows Azure offering extends these services to the cloud. ClearPointe is expanding its business by freeing customers from network operations management tasks so they can focus on driving business value.

Business Needs
ClearPointe was originally established to help midsize businesses gain the same sophisticated network management capabilities enjoyed by enterprise firms. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, ClearPointe provides managed IT services to organizations around the world.

“We help customers make the best use of their IT investments,” says Bob Longo, Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development for ClearPointe. “IT staffs need to focus on initiatives that make the business more productive. Our remote management service allows them to do that, while benefitting from improved systems availability and performance—all for a fixed cost.”

Utilizing its deep expertise in Microsoft System Center, ClearPointe offers a hosted network management solution based on Microsoft System Center 2012 Operations Manager. Instead of having to deploy and maintain System Center in-house, customers rely on ClearPointe to remotely monitor and manage their servers, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or a combination of both environments.

This deployment model not only gives customers access to an enterprise-caliber network management suite within hours, but it also offloads incident-remediation work to ClearPointe.

* By taking advantage of Windows Azure, we can connect customer infrastructures worldwide to our monitoring console quickly and elegantly. *

Bob Longo
Executive Vice President of Sales and Business Development, ClearPointe

Customers love the ClearPointe network management service but began asking ClearPointe to help them embrace cloud computing models—creating and managing private clouds in their data centers and managing virtual machines in public cloud environments.

To address these challenges and to open up new business opportunities, ClearPointe upgraded to Microsoft System Center 2012 R2, the Windows Server 2012 R2 operating system, and Windows Azure Pack for Windows Server. These products featured enhancements in multitenancy, network monitoring, scalability, and more flexible workload mobility in hybrid-cloud environments.

“System Center 2012 R2 does a much better job of delivering System Center as a service,” says Corinne Johnson, Executive Vice President of Compliance and Marketing at ClearPointe. “We can better deliver System Center in a hosted fashion and manage customer servers no matter where they are.”

To help customers set up private cloud environments within their own data centers, with ClearPointe still managing the servers, ClearPointe is taking advantage of the Windows Azure Pack. The Windows Azure Pack provides Windows Azure technologies—such as a management portal, websites, and virtual machines—that give ClearPointe and its customers a cloud services experience within their own data centers that is consistent with Windows Azure. Windows Azure is a cloud platform that provides compute, storage, content delivery, and networking capabilities to host, scale, and manage web applications through Microsoft data centers.

“By using the Windows Azure Pack, we can very quickly instrument and operate a private cloud for our clients,” Longo says. “While many are scratching their heads over the public cloud, we can give customers resource elasticity and charge-back capabilities in a private cloud—and manage it from our network operations center.”

For customers who are interested in moving into the public cloud and creating virtual machines in Windows Azure, ClearPointe created ClearPointe Azure Management. It manages customer virtual machines—whether on-premises or in Windows Azure—from Windows Azure. Once customers provision a virtual server in Windows Azure, they have the ability to search the Windows Azure Store for service add-ons and can select ClearPointe Azure Management.

Mainstream Renewable Power, a Dublin, Ireland–based developer of wind and solar plants, is a longtime ClearPointe customer and new user of ClearPointe Azure Management. “Windows Azure is a future platform for our company,” says Vernon Fox, Chief Information Officer and Head of Information Systems for Mainstream Renewable Power. “We can now confidently move toward the public cloud knowing that ClearPointe can continue to manage our servers, wherever they are.”

By upgrading to System Center 2012 R2 and the Windows Azure Pack, and extending its services into Windows Azure, ClearPointe can manage customer servers anywhere in the world and expand its business opportunities. It can also help customers make the best use of their IT staffs and improve application availability and performance.

Gain Global Scale, New Business Opportunities
Through ClearPointe Azure Management, ClearPointe can manage customer infrastructures all over the world. “By taking advantage of Windows Azure, we can connect customer infrastructures worldwide to our monitoring console quickly and elegantly,” Longo says. “We can select the Microsoft data center location that makes the most sense for our customers in terms of compliance or performance. That’s critical, because we’re managing servers in every time zone in the world. Extending System Center into Windows Azure gives us global scalability and a host of new business opportunities.”

Help Customers Focus on Business Goals
Customers appreciate ClearPointe for its ability to relieve their IT staffs of mundane alert-response and remediation work so that they can focus on adding value to the business. “With the combination of System Center and ClearPointe proactive management service, we are able to identify and resolve issues before they become a business-impacting event,” says Fox. “Our IT staff now focuses on business projects, not IT projects. We talk services, not servers. The IT staff is viewed as a strategic asset.”

Customers also avoid costs by letting ClearPointe host their System Center infrastructure. “We estimate that we reduce infrastructure support costs for our customers by a third,” Longo says. “Also, because we’re managing applications for so many companies, we can bring deep enterprise-caliber expertise to bear on customer problems.”

Ensure Higher Availability of Critical Applications
By having ClearPointe monitor their networks around the clock, customers enjoy higher availability and performance of critical business systems. “Our Rapid Response Guarantee is based on how quickly we respond to alerts. Our ‘get it right and keep it right’ onboarding process generates an immediate reduction in downtime just by connecting to us. In this way, we are able to catch and remediate most alerts before a customer is even aware of them.”

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Solution Overview

Organization Size: 75 employees

Organization Profile

ClearPointe provides system design and managed IT services to organizations worldwide. The Little Rock, Arkansas–based company is a member of the Microsoft Partner Network.

Software and Services
  • Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Microsoft Azure Pack
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft System Center 2012 R2

Vertical Industries
Hosters & ISPs

United States

Business Need
Cloud & Server Platform

IT Issue
Cloud Services