Actifio is now part of Google Cloud. Read the full announcement.

A Competitive Corporate Cloud Blend

Unauthorized use of public cloud services is a contentious issue we encounter as we design the initial Actifio architecture for new clients. Every CIO faces it, and most are scratching their heads about how to address it. One recent example is a large North American enterprise with locations spread across 50 states, Mexico, and Canada. This company is highly dependent on sophisticated central IT services. No surprise that financial controls, operational management, information security and IP protection are all of primary importance.

In spite of central IT resources, they’d seen the use and expense of public cloud services growing throughout the company. They’d made several recent acquisitions, but IT integration was moving slowly. No apparent breaches had occurred, but data security was clearly in question. The CIO knew that slow and inflexible internal IT offerings motivated the independent cloud trend. She also noted that budgets were tight and, like so many others, her expenses were 80% consumed by just maintaining daily operations. So, she got creative with the finances and started to build a better cloud. It blended the best of a competitive private cloud with the flexibility of managed public cloud services.

Her team started by creating easy-access Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings designed to replace insecure and more expensive shadow IT projects. They talked to independent department users who were happy to help refine their early service catalog. They accommodated the grumblers and began to silence them with an efficient and secure hybrid cloud experience. As service quality and speed improved, these users became their biggest internal promoters.

competitive_cloud_imgAn essential element of the financial shift was made possible by incorporating Actifio to virtualize data and eliminate redundant infrastructure expenses. The savings allowed them to address physical, virtual and hybrid environments while creating a simplified and integrated data protection and management system. This is what their users were looking for – fast, less complicated and less costly.

The initiative grew successfully and then they had a different problem – satisfying demand for new services and accommodating new customers. Their smooth on-boarding program was overwhelmed by high demand. User satisfaction suffered. Their cloud stalled.

It was clear that expanding adoption and gaining further acceptance of the hybrid private/public cloud required skilled high-touch customer service resources. So they outsourced. They contracted a team of advisers/cloud brokers to help deliver comprehensive customer support services. An efficient onboarding program established new user accounts, provided guidance, tailored provisioning, monitored setup, enabled customization and managed growth. They continued to handle the service catalog and some internal technology while blending it with sanctioned and carefully managed use of public cloud services. Customer service excellence was restored and kept users returning for more.

A big bonus –this initiative is delivering enormous benefits from increased data security, IP protection, and speed. Actifio is used to manage data across the internal operations as well as in all of the public cloud instances. It has helped by reducing data volume and centralizing management of copy data. It creates their streamlined and demonstrable view for data control. Virtual data access has also increased performance and accelerated secure access to data from any location. And the simultaneous data use provided by Actifio supports application development, test, backup, disaster recovery, analytics, archive and more.

Beyond initial projections, the hybrid cloud service has achieved outstanding levels of adoption. Expenses previously siphoned by shadow IT services have dramatically dropped. Data control, security and IP protection, have been enhanced. Responsive customer service and the Hybrid approach have made IT more successful. It’s been a continuous learning experience. It’s taken some complex technical, financial, organizational and social adjustments. And it’s never finished.

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