Datapipe offers a single-provider solution for managing and securing critical IT services, including cloud computing, infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, colocation and datacenters. With Fortune 500 and Global 2000 clients, the New Jersey–based company helps organizations harness the power of their data with its high-performance network. Datapipe clients range from sporting goods retailers to government agencies—an expanding roster, as Datapipe delves into new industries and geographic regions.
Over the past two years, Datapipe has been shifting focus to increase revenue from small- and medium-size businesses to large enterprises with complex cloud computing needs. “Customers are coming to us to design, support and manage solutions on any given number of projects or the entire development environment,” says Hetal Patel, director of cloud and virtualization operations at Datapipe. To accommodate this growth and support customers’ more “elaborate” IT infrastructures, Patel says Datapipe needed a set of tools capable of providing greater “flexibility in the cloud,” for extremely fast provisioning times, greater product selection and a high level of service.
Datapipe adopted a multipronged approach to deliver public, private and hybrid cloud services to its growing roster of customers with complex computing needs. Together, Citrix CloudPlatform, Citrix NetScaler, Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp and Citrix XenServer allow the company to offer a differentiated cloud solution.
CloudPlatform helps Datapipe provide private, hybrid and managed cloud services from a single platform. Customers of all sizes can cherry-pick the type of service that’s right for them. Because CloudPlatform is hypervisor-agnostic, Datapipe can add new hypervisors while supporting existing investments, thereby minimizing costs. What’s more, the flexible architecture of CloudPlatform can be replicated globally, helping Datapipe expand its services across industries and geographies.
Another benefit: CloudPlatform helps Datapipe appeal to a wider array of businesses with a broader spectrum of cloud offerings. In turn, customers gain control over their cloud infrastructures without depending on managed services or a one-size-fits-all approach to cloud services.
XenDesktop and XenApp provide the ability to offer subscription-based virtual desktops and applications, while XenServer functions as the underlying hypervisor for the Datapipe public cloud offering. Rounding out the Datapipe toolbox is Citrix NetScaler, which provides the company’s customers with load balancing and traffic management services.
Because CloudPlatform is easy to operate and deploy, Datapipe is able to support a burgeoning customer base without sacrificing stability or reliability. “We don’t need a ton of external expertise to manage, deploy and maintain our cloud offering,” says Patel. “That’s where CloudPlatform brings us value—it’s a fully supported platform. With Citrix, a roadmap of future technologies is available to us, and we have a partner to work with hand-in-hand to take us on that journey.”
Customers can choose from a variety of cloud models, as well as the virtualization, storage and networking tools that are right for their cloud. At the same time, Datapipe can easily manage and quickly scale its business in line with these fluctuating customer demands without adding staff. The result is greater cost savings for Datapipe and better service for its customers.
Datapipe relies on XenServer as the underlying hypervisor for its public cloud offering, as well as for deploying virtual machines for customers looking to improve load balancing and traffic management. According to Patel, many competing hypervisor products require users to build an infrastructure of their own and connect it to other technologies such as Windows Active Directory and SQL servers. All of which, warns Patel, can lead to a significant burden on support staff.
However, because XenServer “is a lot simpler than other solutions,” Patel says Datapipe can get its customers up and running faster, resulting in faster time to revenue, lower cost exposure, easier provisioning and a 25 percent faster deployment period compared to competing products.
NetScaler helps optimize, secure and manage the delivery of Datapipe cloud services. In addition to leveraging NetScaler to maximize the user experience, Datapipe relies on this tool internally to help cut costs.
“The deployment of NetScaler means that we don’t have any upfront costs of hardware acquisitions or physical devices,” says Patel. “Rather, we have the flexibility to use virtual NetScaler for the majority of our customers.” Better yet, because Datapipe employees are already familiar with using NetScaler, the company has been able to stave off additional expenses in staff training.
Xen-based bare-metal client hypervisor technology helps Datapipe get a leg-up on competitors. Datapipe can deploy hypervisors provisioned with very specific hardware specs, compared to manually installing and configuring servers to work in a private cloud.
“You can have a physical server ready in five minutes as opposed to manually working through the order, putting the hardware together and configuring all the networking equipment,” says Patel. “All of that would consume at least two weeks just to have a physical server up and running. ... Now clients can go in, choose a physical server, click a button, and five minutes later have a physical server of their choice.”
Future plans for Datapipe include introducing technologies like auto-scaling using NetScaler technology, says Patel. A NetScaler appliance can automatically scale applications as needed, specifying thresholds for a variety of conditions and automatically scale the application fleet upward and downward for easier deployment and management of the cloud environment. Other initiatives involve deploying physical servers for bare-metal provisioning across the globe. “We have access to 24-plus facilities throughout the world,” says Patel. “So we can expand into any space; we grow with our customers’ needs.”
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