Proximus is no stranger to VMware. The internal ICT infrastructure consists of over 12.000 virtual servers. So it should come as no surprise that they turned to VMware when they wanted to start their Infrastructure as a Service offering.
So when they decided some years ago to offer the Enterprise Cloud, it seemed only logical that Proximus should consider VMware as a principal supplier for the indispensable virtualization technology. “When we started this Enterprise Cloud Journey, there was no other vendor who could supply us with the same grade of reliable, performant and secure virtualization”, explains Fabrice Feyten, Product Line Manager Cloud solutions at Proximus.
“We needed a partner who could provide us with a solution that allowed for a multi-tenant platform without compromising on performance or security. The only way you can succeed as a cloud provider is by reaching the benefits of scalability, flexibility and cost-effective computing while taking away the worries around security, performance and availability. A reliable virtualization partner such as VMware was key to the success of this journey.”
Additionally, the virtualization solution would have to enable the hybrid cloud model, allowing the customer to get the best of both worlds. That way a customer can choose to combine his own private cloud with Proximus’ cloud infrastructure and even rely on Proximus as a broker for public cloud offerings such as Amazon or Azure. This would not be possible without an overarching virtualization platform, which allows easy integration of all these environments.
For the basic, so-called ‘naked’ IaaS offering branded as ‘Proximus vContainer’, the organization uses approx. 2.000 virtual machines; for the managed IaaS offering, Proximus Belgium uses another 1.500 to 2.000 virtual machines. In addition to that, Telindus Luxembourg uses another several thousand virtual machines for their local IaaS offerings.
The IaaS offering started by late 2010, early 2011, and was mostly based on ESX, vCenter and vCloud Director. Starting from some isolated use cases, this offering grew month after month, both in the corporate and in the SMB customer base. The growth was generated from direct sales as well as from local smaller integrators using Proximus’ IaaS offering as a basis for their own cloud solutions.
In 2015, Proximus launched an ‘SMB in the Cloud’ solution: a one-stop-shopping solution consisting of IaaS with some value-adding components such as Office 365, security or Lync. Smaller customers can thus benefit from a worry-free environment for a fixed price per month. This offering has already been adopted by about 3.000 SMB users.
Overall, this cloud IaaS solution, in its different forms, has known a healthy double-digit growth ever since its inception. “The enterprise-grade quality that was offered from the start has been enhanced even further throughout the years”, notes Fabrice Feyten, “and it has become available for both larger and smaller organizations, both directly and through the partner channel.”
Proximus has always strived to provide the best possible quality for an affordable price. When the cloud era has started, this ambition has not changed at all, quite on the contrary, stresses Fabrice Feyten: “Customers and partners are relying on Proximus to provide enterprise-grade services and infrastructure. This is what we have developed the past five years as a cloud offering as well.
We want to offer superior value and service experience at an affordable price. And the VMware infrastructure allows us to do just that.”
It has contributed to Proximus’ current image as one of the main cloud providers in the Benelux market. This has definitely contributed to the revenue growth, but it has also generated some ‘soft benefits’ as well, adds Fabrice Feyten: “We have been able to demonstrate that we can serve the customers and partners with every type of cloud delivery model, as well as with a combination of these delivery models.
For the years to come, Proximus expects to leverage the new VMware technology as well to expand their cloud offering. NSX, for instance, should lead to a virtualization of the networks and ultimately to an even greater agility and integration. Proximus is also assessing to offer vCloud Air in the future as an extension of the vContainer offering. “And we want to make our cloud offering more application-aware”, concludes Fabrice Feyten. For that purpose, Proximus has also created an application matrix, which guides customers to the best environment to host their applications.
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