Umbrellar expands its service offerings and business with the power of composable infrastructure
Leading CSP becomes the first to offer Microsoft Azure Stack Hub services hosted in New Zealand.
Bringing global technology solutions and services to an isolated country like New Zealand has historically been a challenge. HPE ProLiant for Microsoft Azure Stack Hub gave Umbrellar the ability to deliver Azure Stack Hub services throughout the country and further establish it as one of New Zealand’s premier cloud solution providers (CSPs).
“It’s a pleasure working where we know we have the strongest level of support from HPE and Microsoft. We’re pushing technology hard to deliver value and you need a phenomenal ecosystem of partners to support the end customer and drive the right outcomes.” – Dave Howden, Head of Cloud, Umbrellar
Home to soaring mountains, pristine beaches, and vibrant cities, New Zealand is a dynamic country with an enviable quality of life. Yet for all of its positive attributes, the country’s relative isolation to the rest of the global business community poses unique challenges—particularly when delivering cloud services to New Zealand-based companies.
“We are a thousand miles away from the nearest rocky landmass, that being Australia,” explained Dave Howden, Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud. “We historically didn’t have the option of hosting Azure here in New Zealand.”
Founded in 1997, Auckland-based Umbrellar has long been dedicated to bringing the world’s leading technology and business solutions to New Zealand businesses and help them achieve their potential. The country is home to nearly 500,000 small businesses, many of whom are price conscious yet seek the latest technology advancements to succeed in a global economy.
Umbrellar, New Zealand’s leading CSP, serves over 87,000 of the country’s small-to-medium size enterprises (SMEs), operating half a million domain names and 3,000 servers for some of the most recognised brands in the country.
“Umbrellar is a Microsoft Cloud Solutions Partner,” explained Howden. “Our mission is to help New Zealand businesses leverage the power of the cloud to achieve brilliant things.”
To do so, they were determined to become the country’s first provider of Microsoft Azure Stack Hub, powered and delivered by Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
Bringing Microsoft Azure Stack Hub to its Shores
Though the process of becoming a Microsoft Azure Stack Hub provider is long and complex, the Umbrellar team knew it was the natural evolution for their business.
“About three years ago, we made the decision that our business was going to wholly focus on the Microsoft Azure platform as a destination for transitioning businesses to the cloud,” explained Howden. “At the time, there weren’t any cloud service providers deploying data centers in New Zealand. We were the first provider in the country to bring these services to our customers. With HPE and Azure Stack Hub, our customers don’t have to go through the challenge of hardware procurement, installation, firmware management, and so on.”
Bringing Azure Stack Hub to New Zealand provides Umbrellar’s customers with the benefit of data sovereignty by allowing them to house their data locally. Likewise, having an in-country data center enabled customers to access even high-latency applications much more efficiently than those housed in more remote data centers.
The company’s Azure Stack Hub offering went live in February 2018, making Umbrellar the first provider to deliver Azure Stack Hub in New Zealand. The system operates on a 12-node configuration, with an HPE ProLiant DL380 and Azure Stack Hub deployment in Auckland.
“We have always bought HPE and we will continue to buy HPE,” said Howden. “We have continued to implement HPE physical and storage infrastructure over the course of the last two decades and our data centers are powered by HPE.”
A Range Of Benefits
Umbrellar’s customers benefit from HPE’s hybrid cloud solution in three main ways—cost, compliance, and consistency. Howden provided insights on the value and importance each brings to their customers:
- Cost efficiencies—“For our customers, there are imperatives around managing technical debt in terms of the assets that they want to own on their balance sheet, which is a big stimulus moving to the cloud,” said Howden. “Consuming and accessing the technology versus holding it as an asset is attractive to a customer.”
- Compliance—“About 95% of New Zealand businesses have fewer than five people on staff,” Howden shared. “Many of these businesses do not have the bandwidth to maintain compliance if they are buying and operating their own hardware. At Umbrellar, we are operating against PCI, DSS, CIS, ISO compliance standards, and we enforce those standards globally across all of our data centers. So, by consuming hyperscale cloud technology, our customers are inherently more secure than building and operating those processes themselves.”
- Consistency—Customers who have used public Azure will instantly recognise Azure Stack Hub, from navigation and icons to the functionality. As Howden detailed, “We want our customers to see Azure and Azure Stack Hub as a single value proposition. It’s consistent in how you build, deploy, and manage your applications with Microsoft on an HPE infrastructure. That has been the message that we have been taking to market for the past three years, supporting New Zealand businesses to transition to either local or globally hosted Microsoft technology.”
Delivering these benefits to their customers further entrenches Umbrellar as the region’s leading service provider and enables the company to reach new markets. In fact, with HPE Synergy in place, the company expects to increase revenue from new business by 20%.
Exceptional Support and Expertise
Delivering world-class technology and services to customers throughout New Zealand is only part of the equation. Umbrellar’s close and long-lasting partnership with HPE and Microsoft helps bring the expertise and support that their customers demand.
“Not only can we take our Azure Stack Hub services out to market, but also provide the competencies and practices that we have through our partnerships with HPE and Microsoft. It’s a great position to be in.” – Dave Howden, Head of Cloud, Umbrellar
“Premier support is key,” explained Howden. “With our partners, we get the best engineering to address challenges whenever they arise. It’s a pleasure working where we know we have the strongest level of support from HPE and Microsoft. We’re pushing technology hard to deliver value and you need a phenomenal ecosystem of partners to support the end customer and drive the right outcomes.”
Their ability to deliver on their mission has also earned recognition—in 2019, Umbrellar was named the Microsoft Country Partner of the Year. This award honoured their ability to showcase innovation and business impact, drive customer satisfaction, and win new business.
“We consider ourselves a mini extension of our partners,” he continued. “Not only can we take our Azure Stack Hub services out to market, but also provide the competencies and practices that we have through our partnerships with HPE and Microsoft. It’s a great position to be in as we continue to serve the evolving needs of all our customers throughout New Zealand.”
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Umbrellar Powered by Pax8
Get the Cloud, Done Right. Umbrellar Powered by Pax8 is New Zealand's prime Professional and Managed Cloud Services specialist. Recently acquired by Pax8, we're transitioning into something "harder, better, faster, stronger" (thank you, Daft Punk!). Watch this space!
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is the global edge-to-cloud Platform-as-a-Service company that helps organisations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere. At HPE, we advance the way you live and work by engineering experiences that unlock your full potential.
Managed cloud services refers to outsourcing daily IT management for cloud-based services and technical support to automate and enhance your business operations. Often, internal IT departments don’t possess the skills to effectively monitor and maintain a cloud environment. In these situations, a company hires a third-party cloud managed services provider to manage cloud security, computing, storage, network operations, application stacks, vendors and more.