Hosting provider Aruba wanted to deliver new services through the cloud. With Cloud.IT, its customers can build an infrastructure online without initial investments. Aruba offers this on a mixture of platforms, but has found more customers opt
for the solution based on the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V virtualization technology. The technology supports a flexible and cost-effective service, which is helping to boost company growth.
Aruba was established in Italy in 1996 as an Internet service provider. Today, it provides hosting and email services to more than 1 million customers worldwide. These customers are home users and small business owners who need access to hardware and software
without the costs associated with installing and running technologies in-house.
Luciano Castro, Information Systems Manager at Aruba, believes the organization’s growth reflects the widespread adoption of this business model. Since 2005, Aruba has acquired companies in the Czech Republic, France Hungary, Italy, and The Netherlands.
Castro says: “We also hold around 80 per cent of the market for hosting services in Italy and up to 70 per cent of this market for hosted email services.”
Aruba hosts services on both Windows and Linux operating systems. “We like to offer our customers a choice of platforms,” says Castro. “However, we find the majority of our customers opt for Microsoft technologies because we can provide them more cost effectively
than many of the alternatives.”
In 2011, Aruba saw a growing trend towards cloud-based solutions and how they offer greater flexibility to customers. The organization decided to expand its range of hosting solutions by offering cloud services using an infrastructure-as-a-service model.
With this model, the hosting provider can deliver everything needed to support a customer’s operations, including storage, hardware, and servers. Aruba can host, run, and maintain the infrastructure, while the customer pays on a per-use basis.
Cloud.IT is the new cloud solution from Aruba. Customers access Cloud.IT online and, through a simple web interface, create an infrastructure with one or more virtual machines without any initial investments. Castro says: “Customers choose individual tools
and services that suit their needs, and can easily create, change, or maintain their infrastructure at any time. They just pay for the resources they use.”
The success of this model relies on the technologies that support it. These include the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system with Hyper-V virtualization technology. Hyper-V provides a scalable virtualization base for cloud deployments, making it possible
for Aruba to provide the highest availability of services to its fast-growing customer base. This is because of features within Hyper-V, such as the efficient distribution of memory among servers, which dramatically enhance performance.
Aruba centrally manages its virtual machines across three data centers using Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2. The organization also uses the Microsoft Dynamic Data Center Toolkit for Hosters. This gives Aruba the guidance it needs
to create the portals customers use to provision, manage, and monitor their infrastructure.
Aruba promotes Hyper-V as being cost-effective compared to competitor solutions, but also offers a low-cost option. “This gives customers the same software features as the standard Hyper-V solution,” says Castro. “But unlike other hypervisors, the technology
allows the customer to pay for the central processing unit and memory only when the cloud server is switched on.”
Aruba enlisted the help of Microsoft throughout the development of Cloud.IT. Castro says: “Microsoft professionals have always been available to answer questions and help resolve challenges. Our long-term partnership has helped us deliver a solution that
offers customers the best in cloud computing.”
With Cloud.IT, Aruba can always provide customers with the latest technologies available. Castro says that this new service, which offers innovative solutions that meet the precise needs of customers, has helped Aruba lead the way in a highly competitive
hosting market. He says: “In Italy, there are more than 600 hosting companies. Only a few have moved into cloud services and Aruba remains one of the most prominent.”
Service delivers greater flexibility. Aruba customers can use Cloud.IT services for an indefinite period or for as little as a few hours. Castro says: “The service is extremely cost-effective for customers. They no longer need to buy hardware
or invest in computers with higher processing power to support new applications. In very little time, they can customize an infrastructure through our simple web interface, without requiring technical knowledge.”
Customers opt for higher performance. “Today, more customers are choosing our cloud services based on Windows Server 2008 with Hyper-V than competitor solutions,” says Castro. “With this technology, we can offer them high
performance for minimal cost. Hyper-V has proven to be reliable and stable.”
New technology boosts company growth. Castro believes that with more customers choosing Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V every day, the business is becoming stronger than ever. Castro says: “Aruba is growing quickly and we believe that our
move to offer cloud technologies—in particular, cloud solutions based on Microsoft—has contributed to this growth significantly.”
Licensing model cuts costs. Aruba uses the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement, which is designed for organizations that provide hosted software and services to customers. This agreement offers Aruba a flexible cost structure,
and no startup costs, monthly sales minimums, or required term of commitment.
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