As part of an interview series with our partner community, we spoke with the CEO of iSanity in South Africa, Annelee Le Grange, about being part of vCAN (the VMware vCloud Air Network), and running its whole offering on VMware NSX.
It’s easy for businesses to fall into the trap of thinking they need every piece of new technology possible to keep up with their competitors, whether that’s IoT, hybrid cloud, big data or a number of other technologies. But they must walk before they can run.
The foundation – or the IT backbone – must run smoothly and perfectly support the business infrastructure basics, before any of the blue sky dreams can become a reality. Our clients can dream and we will help make their projects a reality. This is certainly the approach that we took when we looked at how we could provide our clients with the right solutions.
Services over tech
People buy tailored solutions and services from us – not technology! We work with our clients to identify what they want to achieve and propose solutions to meet their requirements.
That’s why the technology has to be right from the get go. VMware is the platform from which we have built and delivered all our cloud services. The technology ticked all the boxes and provided us with the flexibility we required. We did not shop around and did not look at anything else. We believe that our investment in VMWare was the start of a partnership for us that delivered the results and support that we wanted
Going forward, we want to scale up our services further, and it should be no surprise that all of these future services will be delivered on the VMware platform.
What we had to consider
We needed scalable architecture that could deliver supplementary cloud services to enterprises of all sizes in South Africa. VMware’s Cross-Cloud Architecture provided us with a software platform that could support a secure multi-tenant, self-service cloud environment for the customer.
The flexible licensing model and consumptive nature of vCAN offered us the perfect solution from which to build a Greenfields site from the ground up. It meant we could offer our clients cloud real estate, but also provide us with a platform to deliver robust cloud services with full management capabilities using vCloud Director, VMware’s management tool for private and hybrid cloud architectures, and NSX, VMware’s virtual networking and security software product.
Our approach was always to lead with security, and with NSX it was easy to deploy virtual machines while also including McAfee which we could integrate seamlessly.
VMware essentially took the risk out of building the environment and delivery of services. This was very important as we wanted to give our clients the peace of mind that their data is secure and looked after, so they can concentrate on what’s most important to them: their business.
We also had to think about performance and scalability – both of which we get from VMware. Complete integration with Cisco UCS means it’s highly scalable, while NSX has given us complete flexibility to enable companies to pay for what is essentially an empty data centre on a ‘pay as you grow’ model.
The huge benefit for us is the multi-cloud story. Our clients have big ambitions, and we need to provide them with the reliability and flexibility they need no matter what. To be able to provide our clients with that kind of reassurance is imperative. We’ve also been able to seamlessly integrate the VMware environment with other vendors. Combining these altogether has given us a software-defined data centre in essence to manage.
There is also an element of reassurance we can offer clients that are reluctant to go into the public cloud – which is exactly what we are. From a compliance perspective, with incoming regulations like POPI coming down the line, coupled with compliance expected from the current ECT ACT, etc., we are well prepared as we can provide customers cloud that supports multi-tenancy and micro-segmentation with NSX, giving them a fully secure environment.
We have managed massive savings on capex thanks to being able to report on what we use. The environment has also given us international exposure – including through AWS via the portal. Furthermore, the platform itself is exceptionally green and only uses 3.5kw of power per hour.
Pay it forward
Just as VMware is helping us to look at innovative new technologies, and be geared towards a software-defined and cloudy future, our customers can achieve their dreams too. We want them to be aspirational for the blue skies of tomorrow. We want them to be able to reap the rewards of all the new technologies, and we’ll give them the tools to make it happen.