Netrics Hosting wanted to offer a complete infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) solution to give customers their first step into the private cloud, while remaining compliant with strict data protection laws in Switzerland. The cloud service provider
is working with the HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership in building its swissVDC (Virtual Data Center), which will allow systems integrators to provision individual networks, servers, and storage. The solution consists of the HP CloudSystem with the Windows
Server 2012 operating system and Microsoft System Center 2012 to manage the service in the secure private cloud. With the solution, Netrics has reduced server provisioning time from six hours to 20 minutes and improved server utilization from 50 percent to
80 percent. The firm is now in a position to expand its business without increasing staff numbers.
Netrics Hosting, in Switzerland, focuses on planning, building, and hosting complex and individual server solutions for customers where in-depth system engineering and security knowledge is required. The company wanted to give its customers private cloud
services, staying in control of their infrastructures while at the same time complying with data laws.
In Switzerland, many independent systems integrators that support small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) lack their own infrastructures, so for the past 20 years their business propositions have been to manage infrastructure at their customers’ sites.
Increasingly, they’ve been asking for cloud computing.
As a Microsoft Gold Hosting Partner, Netrics offers highly secure dedicated hosting for enterprise customers for solutions based on Microsoft products. It also provides a range of software-as-a-service (SaaS) platforms for SMBs and infrastructure-as-a-service
(IaaS) to local independent systems integrators.
Netrics supports systems integrators in their quest to become successful IaaS and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) providers by delivering individual business and architecture development sessions. swissV, which Netrics launched in 2010, was the first local
cloud service for virtual server services based on the Hyper-V virtualization system in Switzerland. The service is controlled by Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2.
But Netrics wanted to offer its customers an enhanced service to meet the needs of IT professionals who need multiple service architectures, virtual networks, and centralized storage. To fulfill this need, Netrics launched swissVDC (Virtual Data Center).
Pascal Schmid, Chief Executive Officer, Netrics Hosting, says: “swissVDC will allow systems integrators to provision individual servers for their customers and link them together. It will be a private cloud for the systems integrators, which make up 60 percent
of our customer base. It means they can build an entire infrastructure of servers, storage, and networking for their SMB customers and so protect their contractual relationships.”
To support its new offering, Netrics needed to make its own infrastructure more flexible and easier to manage. Schmid says: “Previously, we had a completely different way of organizing the business. Each customer had its own dedicated hardware and infrastructure,
but for management reasons that wasn’t efficient. We needed a centralized platform that was easier to manage and allowed us to quickly allocate the resources that each customer needs.”
Netrics issued a request for proposal and shortlisted cloud solutions from Cisco and the HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership. Its hardware choice was the HP CloudSystem, an integrated and open solution for building and operating cloud services.
The cloud service provider chose Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1 for unified management of infrastructure, applications, and the private cloud. A core component of this management toolset is Virtual Machine Manager, which offers
support for multi-hypervisor environments, including Windows Server, Hyper-V, VMware, and Citrix.
“Choosing Microsoft System Center 2012 to help us deliver IaaS wasn’t a big step because we’d already been using System Center Operations Manager 2007 R2,” says Schmid. “HP CloudSystem was the only complete platform that supported management in one system
from the physical to the logical layer. And it was the only system that supported different kinds of host systems, including Hyper-V and VMware.”
An international team of experts from the HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership designed and deployed the HP CloudSystem to integrate seamlessly with the existing Netrics environment. HP Swiss Partner Leuchter Informatik assisted with configuration and optimization,
while Microsoft Datacenter Partner of the Year itnetx combined the Microsoft System Center stack with HP CloudSystem.
Netrics plans to offer systems integrators a self-service portal to provision individual servers and link them together. Schmid says: “We’ll be using Microsoft System Center 2012 to manage that service, giving systems integrators an entire infrastructure
of servers, storage, and networking for their SMB customers.”
The next project for Netrics is to construct a purpose-built data center in Biel/Bienne, where the firm is based. Focusing on modularity and flexibility, it will move away from traditional data centers where customers rent square meters of floor space. Schmid
says: “The new data center will use Microsoft data-center technologies. We’ve experienced some delays with approvals from the authorities, but hope to get started on the project this year.”
The HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership has significantly improved server deployment and provisioning times for Netrics Hosting, and reduced the amount of unused server capacity. The cloud-based service—compliant with Switzerland data protection law—means
customers pay only for what they use. Netrics is also saving resources and is in a position to expand its business without requiring additional staff.
Netrics Customers Have Total Data Security Compliant with Switzerland Law
The HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership is helping to ensure data security for Netrics customers. “Data security law in Switzerland is strict,” says Schmid. “While it doesn’t say that you can’t store your data abroad, it does say that you always have to be
aware of where your data is and who has access to it. No one can physically remove a server from our premises without an order from a judge.”
Provisioning of Servers Takes up to 20 Minutes Instead of Six Hours
Performance has improved with the HP CloudSystem and the Microsoft System Center 2012 management toolset. Schmid says: “Where the provisioning of a physical server used to take four to six hours, HP CloudSystem reduces that to 10 to 20 minutes. Centralized
management with Microsoft System Center 2012 saves even more time.”
Improved Server Utilization Benefits Customers
Previously, Netrics Hosting had dedicated hosts for each customer and the host sizing was based on expected demand. Server usage on a physical server averaged at 50 percent, but with the cloud it is now 80 percent.
Schmid says: “Previously, during most of the year the peaks in demand were not reached. So we always had a huge amount of unused capacity. Now, we pool all the resources together so we can dynamically allocate resources to each customer as required and then
remove them at any time. Customers get just what they need to use and that’s what they pay for.”
System Center 2012 Centralizes Management on a Single Platform
With System Center 2012, software and hardware for each customer is managed centrally on a single platform. Schmid says: “This is a huge win for us because Microsoft System Center 2012 makes it much easier to monitor, maintain, and update customer software
and hardware. It is improving efficiency and reducing costs. We can expand our business without adding staff, which is a huge advantage.”
HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership Invests in Long-Term Relationships
The quality of support and technical expertise from the HP/Microsoft Frontline Partnership has helped Netrics stay ahead of its competitors. “Where standard products end, the road to success begins,” says Schmid. “HP and Microsoft are always open minded,
which is why we’re keen to build a long-term relationship with them. It’s clear that they want to move forward with us.”
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 redefines the category, delivering hundreds
of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of
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