The Best of Both Worlds: Building a Next-Generation Private Cloud Solution with Managed Services to Serve Nordic Businesses
As a lead service architect, I want to work with the best technology available. When I solve customers’ problems and present solutions for them, it’s much easier to say, “Here’s the best of the best. Let me show you what it can do.”
I work for TietoEVRY, a managed services provider headquartered in Finland and serving banking and insurance, public sector, healthcare, and retail customers in Finland, Sweden, and Norway. We are a leading digital service and software company with a local presence and global capabilities.
A Platform That Gives Customers What They Want
We joined forces with Cisco back in 2013, but it was in 2018 that our partnership truly blossomed. That was the year we started building a new IaaS solution for our customers’ needs, OneCloud Platinum.
OneCloud Platinum is a secure, flexible, and high performing private cloud infrastructure, built to support customer’s requirements and fluctuating business needs. It offers high availability and embedded security to manage the most performance-sensitive workloads.
This platform is based on Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System), which is an integrated computing infrastructure that combines x86-architecture servers, networking and storage, hardware, virtualization support, switching fabric, and management software in a single system. OneCloud Platinum offers a self-service access to the layer, and a managed service for customer workloads when those are required by the customer—giving them the best of both worlds.
When it comes to balancing between self-service and managed services, OneCloud Platinum is like having a car that can switch from a stick shift to an automatic transmission. Some customers want us to handle their whole infrastructure with a full managed services model. Others would rather add storage and compute, spin up VMs, and manage workloads on their own. And there’s a group of customers who fall somewhere in the middle, asking us to manage some of their workloads while they oversee part of their infrastructure themselves.
Our solution eliminates headaches by letting our customers choose what they want to do on their own and what they’d rather leave to us.
Scaling in Scope and Size
There was a learning curve when moving to Cisco UCS and setting up OneCloud Platinum. We spent a lot of time figuring out how orchestration and automation worked, and then putting our newfound knowledge to practical use. Fortunately, Cisco offers proven technology and excellent support, which freed my engineers to build the platform from scratch.
In all, it took almost a year to go from our initial concept to rolling out OneCloud Platinum for our customers in Finland. In 2020, we made it available to our users in Sweden.
Our primary driver for choosing UCS was improving our existing user experience and creating a validated design with NetApp storage. We liked the concept of server profiles and the early native 40 Gbps support. Today, we like the modern architecture with UCS domains and the ADDDC implementation integrated with VMware Proactive HA—all of which is especially important for big SAP servers. We also appreciate Cisco’s technical support when we face architectural or implementation challenges.
Cisco UCS transformed the scale of our operations. Since the early days of production just a few years ago, the size of the environment has successfully grown to ten times the number of servers, CPU cores, and memory.
The Right Mix of Managed IT and Self-Service
TietoEVRY provides the right mix of self-service and managed IT infrastructure, and application services for Nordic organisations. We recently launched a web-based self-service portal for OneCloud Platinum, where our customers can manage their infrastructure using intuitive dashboards. We update the platform every three weeks and include a detailed list of features on the portal.
Using the portal, our customers can monitor and configure their network, CPU, and storage consumption, get an overview of the health of their infrastructure, and drill down to the individual server level. But that’s not all. We have also given them access to TietoEVRY’s API, so they can see what’s happening on their front-end and back-end, and even build their own custom automations on top of our managed services.
The portal also provides ways for our customers to control their expenses. They can shut down servers and network connections over the weekend—including servers managed by TietoEVRY—to reduce the cost for the service during times when the server is not needed. This is a great feature, but we also try to steer customers away from thinking in terms of outlay costs. Instead of calculating how much money they spend for CPU or a disaster recovery solution, I advise our customers to think about how much money they would lose if their services stopped working.
We guarantee 99.99% availability for OneCloud Platinum, and we guarantee performance. When working with business-critical applications and production environments that have direct business impact, we are proud of that guarantee.
Successful Cooperation Between TietoEVRY and Cisco Experts
Cisco is one of TietoEVRY’s trusted partners. Cisco is an industry leader with a vast repertoire of technical expertise and a mastery of complex environments. They have gone from being a vendor to a trusted partner who supplies us with top-tier technology to serve our customers better.
When it comes to cutting-edge products, outstanding service, and full cooperation every step of the way, Cisco is top-notch. Cisco UCS is the bedrock of our OneCloud Platinum platform, and we at OneCloud Platinum team have been very satisfied with our partnership.
We rely on Cisco engineers Mika Meritähti and Lauri Toropainen to guide us through best practices on Cisco UCS. We also count on Cisco Smart Net Total Care for 24/7 hardware support, online technical resources, integrated asset management, and new Cisco APIs that allow us to expand the scope of our products and services. We have quarterly business reviews with Cisco, dozens of technical sessions every year, and bi-weekly meetings to ensure that everything is working as it should. With our OneCloud Platinum platform, TietoEVRY is helping to transform business in the Nordic countries.