Business ISP to Pipe MS Apps to SMEs

Adoption of new Cloud applications service is being driven by Disaster Recovery

CI-Net, expects disaster recovery and business continuity benefits to help drive take-up of its new cloud based application hosting service which ‘pipes’ Microsoft business software to small to medium sized businesses over its own network connectivity links.

The Wide Area Networking reseller, ISP and hosting company estimates that its Flex service, which provides customers with Microsoft Office and Microsoft collaboration software hosted from its data centres, will cut software costs by at least 30 per cent. However MD Graham McLean stressed that firms are also interested in how their data and applications will be protected:

“Cost savings are a major attraction as customers are charged on a per user per month basis instead of longer term, up-front software license fees and they’re spared the hassles and costs of managing applications and related infrastructure. But we’ve had interest from potential users who are ‘turned on’ by the fact that software will be hosted from resilient data centres with complex business continuity and disaster recovery facilities that they’d be hard pushed to recreate themselves.”

The company will performing half hourly snapshots and nightly backups to protect customers Flex data said McLean.

“And applications will be hosted in data centres that benefit from multiple telecoms links with automatic failover to avoid connectivity issues affecting service delivery. Likewise there will be dual power feeds, backup generators, fire suppressants and round the clock security. If there was a major disaster we have contingency plans in place to re-deploy customers’ data and applications to secondary locations. ”

CI-Net, will tailor the Flex service by packaging other applications that customers want to include with the standard Microsoft offerings that include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Exchange and SharePoint.

The other growth area that CI-Net sees for the new service is companies that need to work with each other on large projects using specialist applications and need a single IT environment to work in that has no impact on their corporate desktops. Flex allows them to collaborate effectively, improving communications and therefore the quality of their joint projects.

McLean wants customers to buy their DSL connections directly from CI-Net so that the company has sole responsibility for delivering all aspects of the Flex service:

“If we’re looking after everything from the server right through to the connectivity, then customers will know there’s a single supplier responsible for delivering the complete service – if there are any glitches, there’s no risk of ‘finger pointing’ between the cloud provider and separate connectivity suppliers.”

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