Ctac guarantees growth for its clients’ businesses by offering information systems that are based on flexible and scalable infrastructures. “It is our mission to guarantee our clients maximum availability of business-critical applications and data by means of Ctac’s datacenter strategy. Custom Connect manages connectivity within our own and our clients’ infrastructure”, says Hans Gootjes, Ctac’s Enterprise Architect. Now that the Cloud has taken up such a prominent position within enterprise computing, connectivity is of the utmost importance as it represents the life line between datacenters, clouds, locations and users.
Ctac’s business relocation in 2009 was the reason for examining its own IT infrastructure. The decision was made to phase out its own data center and move to professional providers that are connected with AMX-IC – the Amsterdam Internet Exchange – which can be accessed from several datacenters. “Offering connectivity is crucial to our core cloud strategy. Designing, building and managing it is the work of specialists. Custom Connect was recommended to us, and rightly so. Their pricing is right, and they are efficient. We receive good support for our strategy and their advice is valuable. Custom Connect delivers added business value to Ctac’s cloud proposition.”
“Connectivity should be central to a datacenter strategy”
Meanwhile, five years later Ctac has built a virtual datacenter in Amsterdam in which, for redudancy purposes, five datacenters of large providers are hosted. Custom Connect manages the connections between the datacenters and Ctac’s clients. The datacenter plays a central role in Ctac’s cloud strategy. “Many datacenter service suppliers turn into outlets of public cloud vendors. Everything comes together in the datacenter. On-premises will disappear eventually”, says Gootjes.
In business, there is no such thing as “one size fits all”. That is why Ctac develops industry-specific solutions. These composed solutions hone in on the demands and wishes of different sectors and offer flexibility and efficiency that organizations expect from automation. This means that each organization gets its own mix of on-premises, private and public cloud that needs to be integrated, run and optimalized. Ctac takes care of that. The company sees its role move from private cloud provider to that of cloud broker and offers the client a combination of a on-premises, private and public cloud computing orchestrated set-up. Custom Connect manages the connectivity that is required. “Clients increasingly make use of public clouds for their business applications. We take care of the the integration, but also facilitate control and management within the hybrid cloud. In other words: Governance, Risk & Compliance”, says Gootjes.
There is a great need at mid-sized companies for this total concept as they do not have sufficient inhouse capacity or expertise. IT departments have been stripped bare these past years. Meanwhile, IT now defines organizations’ strength and agility. Companies are opportunistically focused on prospects and on the market. IT must assist in taking advantage of that quickly. One expects from new-style IT service providers such as Ctac to think along and offer advice, not only on a tactical but also on a strategic level. Ctac has the capability to translate a client’s business acumen into information systems. “We are well positioned with retail. Nine out of ten SAP users in retail have hired Ctac.
Hans Grootjes & Rutger Bevaart
These companies are generally active on a global level. We are able to offer in-depth advice because we know this sector very well. Thanks to the Cloud, we are superbly able to support such clients with regard to innovation and growth. This is also true for other sectors”, according to Gootjes. Custom Connect’s solution architects help translate the strategy into the required connectivity. “All new developments come together in retail. That is where we can showcase our knowledge and experience collectively. Companies grow quickly; they open business centers all over the globe. Chain integration and the integration of online and offline is evident; consumers demand rapid service and same day delivery. A great deal of changes are evident in shops, on the Internet and in management. Big Data, Analytics, or the Internet of Things will not materialize without IT. Cloud and connectivity can facilitate that”, says Rutger Bevaart, CTO and Lead Architect at Custom Connect.
Demand is changing from ‘connect my business centers and datacenters’ to ‘connect my data wherever it is located’.
The demand of new technologies on the speed of data connections is considerable. Take in-memory analyses for example: as the analyses are conducted within the computer’s RAM, the data processing’s speed increases significantly. The connections to and from the source data must keep up with said speed. This requires connections with the lowest possible latency. “It will be a challenge to apply in-memory techniques in a generic cloud infrastructure”, says Gootjes. “The integration of analytical and transactional systems is demanding for cloud providers. This cannot be standardized as it is very dependent on the type of business. A low latency is also applicable where databases are replicated in redundant environments, and where connections must be super fast.”
One’s own connections being replaced with internet or becoming integrated with said internet is now a world-wide trend. Everything will converge to IP. IP therefore plays an important role in Ctac’s strategy. Custom Connect delivers support – such as advisory services, execution and management – by means of delivering redundant VoIP communication applications and by supplying and managing for Ctac a proper IP addresses block. “Everything is data, data is everything. Market demand is changing from ‘connect my business centers and datacenters’ to ‘connect my data wherever it is located’. IP is a significant catalyst in this”, says Bevaart. “Universal internet does not guarantee availability, speed and latency.
We want ‘clean’ internet and guaranteed availability based on SLAs”, says Gootjes. “Custom Connects accommodates the development. Said infrastructure will enable Custom Connect to intercept and diverge DDoS attacks in the network’s backbone. If you look at internet traffic on a global scale, then 95 percent is directed to and from big cloud providers and Content Distribution Network providers”, says Bevaart. “They keep things organized already.” It must be possible to cleanse the remaining 5% of the data traffic. If everyone, just like Ctac, ‘sweeps their alley’ we will all profit. High-quality connectivity is central to this.”