A secure path to the private cloud through Beyond.pl

 

„We decided to select the proposed cloud solution because of its flexibility and high performance. In addition, Beyond.pl guarantees data security and operates with sustainability relating to environmental protection in mind, which is important to Autostrada Wielkopolska. The server room is entirely powered by green energy. By maintaining our IT infrastructure at Beyond.pl, we significantly reduce the carbon footprint generated by our IT operations.”

Krzysztof Andrzejewski
Member of the Board of Autostrada Wielkopolska

 

Autostrada Wielkopolska is an international concession company responsible for the construction and operation of a section of 149 kilometers of the A2 freeway. Together with Autostrada Wielkopolska II, it administers and manages a total of 255 kilometers of the A2 freeway — a key international transportation route connecting Eastern and Western Europe. Autostrada Wielkopolska’s task is to operate and maintain the concession on a section of the A2 in order to ensure the highest quality of services as well as safety and comfort for all travelers, with due consideration for the environment. Autostrada Wielkopolska is an integral part of the Highway of Freedom (Polish: Autostrada Wolności) connecting the Republic of Poland with the network of Western European highways.

Originally, Autostrada Wielkopolska maintained its own IT infrastructure in a server room located at its headquarters. The company’s cooperation with Beyond.pl began in 2006 when it purchased connectivity services from Beyond.pl. Initially, this was a 2 Mbps connection, which was later expanded to a 100 Mbps bandwidth.

At the beginning of 2016, Autostrada Wielkopolska’s server room began to run out of space necessary to house new hardware. In addition, there were occasional voltage fluctuation issues in the building, which could damage the hardware leading to potential data loss. The company analyzed its IT infrastructure maintenance model and, having considered the possibilities offered by Beyond.pl, decided to outsource infrastructure maintenance to Beyond.pl.

Autostrada Wielkopolska highway

The company became a customer of Beyond.pl for colocation and dedicated infrastructure services provided in Data Center 1 —. The launch of services of this type made it possible for Autostrada Wielkopolska to reduce fixed costs such as maintenance of its on-premise server room while concurrently allowing to reduce investments allocated for the purchase of new hardware, with the latter being a sizeable one-time expense of the IT department’s budget. Another reason why the Autostrada Wielkopolska decided to outsource services was the ability to ensure much higher security for its infrastructure due to the security level of the data center and its redundancy in terms of power supply and cooling.

In 2018, Autostrada Wielkopolska launched subsequent projects requiring infrastructure support. Following on a recommendation from Beyond.pl, the Autostrada Wielkopolska became a user of cloud solutions for the first time. For the needs of Autostrada Wielkopolska, a VMware public cloud enriched with the Veeam backup-as-a-service was launched in Beyond.pl’s Data Center 2.

How to manage an IT budget efficiently?

Until 2020, Beyond.pl provided Autostrada Wielkopolska with colocation and dedicated infrastructure services from Data Center 1 and VMware public cloud services enriched with Veeam backup-as-service from Data Center 2. However, as the company grew, its technological needs increased as well. Autostrada Wielkopolska required a more predictable cost model — one that would significantly simplify the formal management of the company’s own hardware, its licensing, and expenses payable to IT OEM manufacturers.

Concurrently Autostrada Wielkopolska was facing a need to replace aged  IT infrastructure. Autostrada Wielkopolska was aware that they would have to invest in the purchase of new servers, CPUs, storage equipment, and RAM in the next two to three years. Given the constantly fluctuating prices of IT hardware and software licenses, accurately budgeting costs of the company’s infrastructure needs over a three-year time window carried a greater risk of error.

 

Our goals were to secure the highest level of quality of services, highest levels of technical expertise from our partner, and domain-specific support. Beyond.pl is a provider that offers all of the above, as confirmed by our successful cooperation over the past five years,” says Roman Drogi, Senior IT Specialist at Autostrada Wielkopolska.

Cost predictability over time thanks to the cloud

Many years of experience in IT infrastructure maintenance have allowed Beyond.pl to gain a good understanding of the client’s IT infrastructure requirements. After analyzing the company’s needs, Beyond.pl recommended a completely new approach, which was fully based on a cloud model. Beyond.pl suggested migrating the solutions hosted in colocation and on the dedicated infrastructure in Data Center 1 to a VMware private cloud at Data Center 2.

Companies find it increasingly difficult to maintain a balance between securing optimal operational continuity and predictability of IT costs. Upon having conducted an analysis of our client’s business forecasts and defining IT requirements to support their growth ambition, we concluded that the most efficient infrastructure maintenance model that ensured an appropriate level of security while concurrently allowing to minimize the risk of unexpected expenses was the cloud model. With scale, and a resulting rapid increase in the requirement for additional computing power, we are able to meet the client’s demands, as our Data Center infrastructure is prepared to handle increased demand from our clients,” says Wojciech Stramski, CEO of Beyond.pl.

As part of the migration service to the private cloud, Beyond.pl offered the client an option to use reverse colocation, which involved Beyond.pl acquiring all of the client’s existing IT hardware. Concurrently, Beyond.pl offered a six-year commitment to ensure that cloud services provided from Data Center 2 would be delivered on IT hardware that would not be more than five years old. In this way, the client gained a guarantee of continuity of cloud services as well as a confidence that the services would be provided using modern and up-to-date IT infrastructure, the maintenance and renewal of which became the responsibility of Beyond.pl.

„We were aware of the impending replacement needs of our IT infrastructure, so the acquisition of the hardware via reverse colocation, as proposed by Beyond.pl, met our expectations. Our cooperation has been very good from the beginning, and that is why we approached Beyond.pl for advice to help define our IT infrastructure maintenance model,” explains Roman Drogi, Senior IT Specialist at Autostrada Wielkopolska.

Migration to the cloud was completed within two months. Beyond.pl’s team took the lead in the project, cooperating directly with the client’s IT department. The main task was to migrate CPUs, RAM, storage equipment and servers from the company’s server room and Data Center 1 to the new VMware private cloud environment int Data Center 2 and re-launch the service from the new location with minimal data access interruptions. Ultimately, the unavailability (downtime) of the client’s systems in connection with the migration was reduced to under an hour. At the same time, backup infrastructure were transferred from Data Center 2 to Data Center 1, which is located 14 km away from Data Center 2and is connected by a private, redundant dark fiber optic ring . Keeping backups in a location distant from the primary one is necessary, as it guarantees the recovery of data in case of a potential failure. To simplify the infrastructure and improve connectivity further, the team at Beyond.pl proposed a non-standard solution in the form of activating a direct dark fiber link between Data Center 2 and the company’s headquarters. This was possible due to the proximity of Autostrada Wielkopolska’s headquarters to the data center. Such an approach made it possible to optimize network connections and reroute the entire network traffic from Data Center 1 and the company’s headquarters to Data Center 2.

The team at Beyond.pl exhibits commitment and initiative, supporting us on an ongoing basis with their expert knowledge and professional service. Any minor issues are quickly identified and resolved without significant impact on service quality or data access. We are very happy with the quality of colocation and cloud services provided by Beyond.pl,” adds Roman Drogi.

 

Data Center 2 Beyond.pl with Autostrada Wielkopolska private cloud

 

The company’s “own” cloud for a fixed monthly fee

Since May 2021, the entire IT infrastructure of Autostrada Wielkopolska — together with its development and testing environment (including virtual machines), as well as the AD, DNS and DHCP domain controllers, file servers, database machines, and routers — is hosted from Beyond.pl’s Data Center 2, which is the most secure data center in Central Europe, as evidenced by its ANSI/TIA-942 Rated 4 certification. By choosing the cloud from a secure data center, Autostrada Wielkopolska protects itself from the risk of encountering service unavailability of key business processes.

Beyond.pl also provides connectivity services based on a private ring network in Poznan and access to multiple global and regional telecommunications providers. For the client, this means optimized connectivity costs and guaranteed optimal data transmission times.

Autostrada Wielkopolska’s technological path at Beyond.pl

One of the effects of migrating the infrastructure to the cloud is the simplification of recurring IT services historically incurred by the company. Autostrada Wielkopolska manages its assets directly using the Cloud Directory panel provided by VMware making it extremely easy to increase for example additional storage space should such be required.

For us, the cooperation with Beyond.pl means security in many aspects. On the one hand, we are beneficiaries of the Rated 4 certification and top-quality data center,  on the other hand, the VMware private cloud services are provided using high-performance and modern IT infrastructure. Beyond.pl provides the cloud services, while we can focus on running our core business and improving the quality of our customer service,” concludes Roman Drogi.

High-quality cloud services offer:

  • preparation of a bespoke proposition — design of a solution that takes into account the IT and business needs of the client (the cloud combined with reverse colocation);
  • the high-level expertise of VMware cloud experts, as confirmed by efficient infrastructure migration to the private cloud, without interruptions to operational continuity;
  • cross-technology consulting — expertise in handling projects of different cloud providers, which allows Beyond.pl to recommend solutions from the full pallet of options that best suit the client.

 

Data room in Data Center 2 Beyond.pl

 

Security and operational continuity:

  • the highest security standard of the data center — the only data center in Poland and Central Europe with a Rated 4 ANSI/TIA-942 certification (the potential unavailability of data center services for a maximum 26 minutes per year). Since its launch in 2016, Data Center 2 has been operating uninterrupted (100% uptime);
  • excellent connectivity services that guarantee stable and secure online services as well as uninterrupted access to solutions maintained at Beyond.pl;
  • competent Smart Hands team made up of technical experts responsible to ensure the proper operation of the infrastructure on which the cloud solutions are hosted at Beyond.pl.

 

The cooperation flexibility:

  • a range of services tailored to the client’s needs at a given time —  with a simple means to modify the scope of cooperation and deploy new infrastructure services;
  • openness to non-standard solutions — such as the launch of a dark fiber connection to the company’s headquarters and implementation of the reverse colocation model.

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