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As the Head of Information Technology at Balmain, the region’s leading non-bank commercial loan manager, Vik Sharma has a lot on his mind as he steers the company through a period of IT transformation. Keenly aware of how technology is impacting business models and strategy, Vik discusses how Balmain’s data centre strategy is helping them gain maximum value from the company’s IT investments.
Balmain were challenged with compounding storage and scalability issues, resulting in over-use of their IT resources time and the overall efficiency they were driving from their critical IT infrastructure. As part of their IT transformation project, Balmain were seeking a new IT platform to help them scale their business efficiently and allow their IT team to concentrate on business creativity and innovation.
Balmain was requiring increasingly more from their IT services, and they had been developing new strategies to overcome storage and scalability issues. They were seeking a way to free-up their internal IT resources to concentrate on business productivity and innovation.
One important factor in data centre selection was the ability for Balmain to connect seamlessly to external services such as their cloud providers and telecommunications networks, and develop hybrid cloud solutions. Vik believes that hybrid cloud would be the best solution for most businesses today, although they have to consider their unique business needs to find the right hybrid solution, in the same manner they would weigh up the pros and cons for private, public or community cloud services. Hybrid cloud can provide a back-up, DR and scalability solution to most existing inhouse systems, says Vik.
"We benefit from the redundancy and high availability of the data centre, which would otherwise cost Balmain a lot of money, time and effort to implement and maintain."
The majority of solution providers already provide a mix of private and public cloud, so hybrid cloud is easy to achieve.When selecting their colocation partner, Vik looked for proximity of the data centre facilities to their office locations and 24/7 access. He also wanted features such as [remote] monitoring and redundant infrastructure for power, cooling and connectivity. High availability was essential, as was energy-efficiency.
Balmain uses Microsoft Azure as one of its key cloud services for hosting, building and deploying client-facing applications. NEXTDC’s ability to provide private, high-speed connections to Microsoft Azure via ExpressRoute was an important factor in the decision for Balmain. Vik reveals that one of the ways they have achieved efficiency is to outsource their infrastructure to colocation facilities; shifting the responsibility to people who are experts in managing data centres and reducing the overhead costs and stress of managing an in-house facility.
Balmain also hosts some client-facing systems, their DR and backup at NEXTDC S1 along with continuous replication of data and virtual machines. This enables Balmain to have a warm backup site, ready to go live in the event of a disaster or if any of the branch office sites are down.
Reduced overhead costs
Secured backup site
Added efficiency by outsourcing