Datacom and Zespri deliver a world first in public cloud

Datacom says it has delivered the largest production SAP migration to the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform.

From the Mount Maunganui location in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, local IT integrator and service partner Datacom, has successfully migrated Zespri International’s global SAP platform and other applications to Microsoft Azure.

The migration was completed ahead of schedule, and Zespri Asia, Zespri Europe, and Zespri New Zealand could begin working off those systems immediately post migration, Datacom says.

It involved approximately 230 Microsoft Azure Virtual Machines running in the western US Azure data centre.

Having these workloads running outside of New Zealand provides the global reach that Zespri requires for their international workforce and distribution network, the company says.

Zespri’s global kiwifruit sales totalled $1.35 billion in 2013/14 and it operates in 53 countries and multiple timezones. The kiwifruit industry is set for strong growth in coming years, aiming to increase export revenue to NZ$3 billion by 2025, which Zespri has factored in to its IT planning.

The migration was one of two big Datacom primary sector plays recently. In September, Fonterra confirmed it has awarded a new contract for supply of its data centre hosting, networks and storage services to Datacom following a competitive tender.

“Datacom had the flexibility, technical knowledge, and can-do attitude to help us evaluate Azure and work toward our target of 100 percent public cloud,” says Andrew Goodin, Global Manager of Information Systems for Zespri.

Datacom initially set up a test environment in Azure to test the performance of SAP in the cloud with great results, clocking in a response time equal to or better than onshore.

The initial results were promising with a high degree of confidence that the SAP landscapes would run efficiently on Azure, perform appropriately, and continue to deliver value to the global business.

The key drivers towards the public cloud selection for this project were to improve scalability globally, reduce IT costs, insulate the business against the threat of natural disasters including earthquakes and tsunamis, increase unrealised SAP performance and to enable Zespri to focus on its core business.

“You can’t be an expert in everything, and we wanted to focus on our core product, kiwifruit, and let our partners Datacom and Microsoft manage our IT infrastructure so we can scale without constraints,” Goodin says.

 “We can bump up Azure performance in minutes by adding additional resources, which is not possible in the on-premises world. This means less friction and no interruption to our business operations, which provides Zespri with real value.”

Scott Green, Director of ITM Datacom says, “It’s a great example of how a collaborative partnership between Zespri, Datacom and Microsoft can deliver a world first.

“This is further proof of our approach to building customer centric solutions around individual client requirements. We have the ability to support the full spectrum of approaches, local virtual cloud solutions for secure high performance, through to geographically distributed hybrid solutions.  We maintain that it is vital that customers need to pick their technology partner first, then work with them to select the right infrastructure platform to fit their strategic needs, rather than the other way around,” Green says.

This public cloud service delivery was designed and implemented by a Datacom team in the Midland region.

David Duffy, General Manager of Datacom Midlands, says that matching Zespri’s needs with various cloud options found that Microsoft Azure was an ideal strategic business fit.

For Zespri, Datacom assessed this technology decision on cost, global reach, experience and alignment with software choices.

“We have a solid, longstanding partnership with Microsoft. While every customer has different needs, the Azure platform was a very good fit for Zespri – with a strong value proposition comprising software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) solutions,” says Duffy.

Earlier, Mr Green told NBR that Datacom continues offer solutions that could involve partners like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, its own data centeres and services, or a mix of both.

“We see them as one of various options we can offer customers. There are absolutely usage scenarios where that makes sense," Mr Green said. And sometimes it makes sense to host files or services in a local data centre, in a private cloud, or on-premise in a company’s own network. "We help customers work out what the right combination will be.”

Dimension Data launches clould service in NZ

Other cloud news today saw Dimension Data will today launch its enterprise-class Managed Cloud Platform (MCP) in New Zealand, with local support in Auckland.

The launch is Dimension Data's 13th MCP deployment worldwide.

The company says the service will offer the benefits of global efficiencies and pricing with local support.

A key feature of the MCP is the management application, Cloud Control, allowing organisations to spin up their own elastic cloud server and provision any amount of resources needed anytime and from anywhere, the company says.

“Our clients can increase, decrease, switch on and switch off their CPU, RAM, and increase or remove storage as they choose, and we only bill them for what is used. Plus, when a server is no longer needed and deleted, the organisation stops paying for it immediately.”

MCP is being hosted at Datacom's Kapua data centre, and will go live from December 4.