Parallels Cloud Server enables Conetix to grow its business, enhance service quality and achieve massive cost savings
Established in 2000, Conetix is an Australian service provider that specializes in delivering enterprise-grade solutions ranging from web hosting to advanced application and desktop delivery. This is backed by dedicated local support and a strong focus on service quality. Conetix also provides web developers and Internet service providers with wholesale services and builds solutions tailored to their business needs.
As its business expands, Conetix has been careful to ensure that this does not come at the expense of customer service. “Our business ethos and value is to deliver high-quality service,” said Jamin Andrews, Managing Director at Conetix. “When the phone rings, someone will answer it promptly. When there is an enquiry or if there is a technical support issue, it will be resolved very quickly. We pride ourselves in our service.”
The ability to maintain customer service levels while scaling its operations involves both platform and personnel – having the right platform to support its growing customer base, and personnel who are well-equipped with both the technical expertise and customer-centric mindset to ensure a high standard of service delivery. “We want to make sure that we grow in both these areas, across the board,” added Mr. Andrews.
To achieve this, Conetix deployed Parallels Cloud Server (PCS) in April 2013 to consolidate its IT environment and scale its operations.
Conetix’s confidence in PCS stemmed from its long partnership with Parallels, dating back to the early days of its operations. At that time, Conetix was looking at a number of tools that could give it a competitive advantage in the marketplace. It adopted Parallels Plesk Panel and later went on to deploy other products from the Parallels portfolio, such as the billing and hosting automation solution Parallels Business Automation (PBA). In fact, Conetix was one of the first service providers in Australia to run PBA as well as the operating system virtualization solution Parallels Virtuozzo Containers.
Over time, Conetix also deployed virtualization products from other vendors. However, Conetix soon realized that this was “not a cheap exercise”. Training its staff on the new products was costing Conetix thousands of dollars a year. There were also issues with under-utilization of resources, as these had to be managed outside of the PBA management and provisioning platform.
With the latest PCS deployment, Conetix has come back to the fold with Parallels, said Mr. Andrews.
PCS is a virtualization solution that allows both containers and hypervisors to be deployed on the same physical server. This allows Conetix to take advantage of the scalability and streamlined operations of operating system virtualization (containers), while also making use of high-performance virtual machines (hypervisors) for isolated applications or simultaneous heterogeneous environments.
The deployment was swift and hassle-free. “The return on investment, from deploying the server to having customers on it, was virtually immediate,” said Mr. Andrews.
“Parallels Cloud Server does all the work for us,” said Mr. Andrews. “It is a platform that everyone knows and trusts. From a scalability point of view, we are certain that it is the best platform to continue forward with as it allows us to focus our energy on our customers and on the company’s growth instead of worrying about technical issues.”
With PCS, Conetix has been able to keep pace with business growth, deploying 10 new physical nodes within the space of two months. It is also able to provision a new Hypervisor virtual server for a customer within minutes.
Centralized Management and Service Delivery
The consolidation of Conetix’s IT environment on PCS and its integration with PBA has also paved the way for a seamless customer experience with management, provisioning and other services centralized in one location.
From an operational perspective, the consolidation reduced the technical effort required to manage and maintain disparate systems. “Rather than have multiple systems to maintain, we can now manage it all using one core platform,” said Mr. Andrews.
Reduced Maintenance Windows
PCS features rebootless kernel updates, which means that Conetix customers experience much shorter maintenance windows and hence higher availability on their systems. Instead of the half-hour that it used to take to run updates for its servers, PCS allows the task to be completed within minutes.
More Efficient Use of Resources
When a new server is added to the PCS platform, it automatically becomes part of the Conetix cloud pool and its utilization is optimized through the deployment of Hypervisor instances as well as containers. In comparison, if a new server were to be deployed on another platform, the server could be half-utilized because Conetix would have to grow into it.
Built-in backup capabilities in PCS eliminate the need for Conetix to invest in third-party products to deliver the same level of backup services.
With computation decoupled from storage, containers and virtual machines can be instantly migrated to an operational physical server if the original physical server becomes unavailable. Similarly, if a hard drive fails, containers and virtual machines on the effected server can continue to operate using data replicated on other hard drives in the storage cluster.
This feature translates into significant cost savings compared with the use of other virtualization products that require additional licenses for backup solutions.
Massive Reduction in Training Costs
The adoption of PCS has resulted in “massive” savings for Conetix in terms of manpower training costs. Previously, with the adoption of virtualization products from other vendors, the technical team had to be trained on new platforms. This could work out to a few thousand dollars a year for each technician/engineer. This cost was virtually eliminated with PCS, which allows the IT environment to be managed using the same set of Parallels tools that the technical team was already familiar with.
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