In a move that's secured its place in South Africa's information technology annals, local IT solutions specialist IMPERIAL Online has completed one of the largest data centre relocation projects ever, and it has achieved a South African first, with a data centre in which partner Vodacom has granted access to two other telecoms vendors – namely Broadlink and Telkom.
IMPERIAL Online managing director Derek van Heerden says the need for multiple connectivity options was a key factor in the company's decision to partner with Vodacom when it decided not to reinvest in its own ageing data centres.
“We needed to provide for multiple network vendors to service IMPERIAL Online customers, in order to ensure fail-over ability between data centres, as well as additional redundancy in the related connectivity. This is becoming increasingly critical for our customers as their business systems become more mission-critical. While the other vendors reviewed only offered their own networks as a complete solution, IMPERIAL Online was able to negotiate with Vodacom for two other telecoms partners to provide data connectivity solutions from within the Vodacom data centre, thus not restricting our customers to a single vendor. Broadlink and Telkom lines have been permitted to terminate in the IMPERIAL Online cage inside the Vodacom data centre. With fail-over built into every aspect of the data centres' design and connectivity, and multiple fail-over scenarios catered for, this is a truly unique service offering in South Africa,” he stresses.
IMPERIAL Online's partnership with Vodacom takes the form of a five-year contract, Van Heerden states, with the scope of the contract including not only the data centre caged areas, but also the wide area network (WAN) migration of the IMPERIAL Group to Vodacom. “Our customers trust us to create unique technology solutions to optimise their business experience, and the increased resilience provided by hosting in Vodacom's state-of-the-art data centres, as well as the WAN migration, bears testimony to our commitment to meeting their needs.” He explains that the WAN migration represents a valuable move from outdated ATM to MPLS technology.
Further benefits for IMPERIAL Online clients of this partnership include Vodacom's commitment to continuous investment and upgrades, as well as additional options to utilise new data centres, such as Cape Town's 'green' data centre, he adds. “The reduced data centre concentration also means the risks are lower than when data centres are in close proximity to each other, and enables improved disaster recovery options,” Van Heerden notes.
This data centre relocation project was aptly dubbed “Die Groot Trek”, and its goal was to move the data centres with little or no impact on customers. Die Groot Trek involved more than 1 500 equipment pieces valued at more than R150 million and more than 2 000 network lines to terminate in the new data centres.
“On completion of the project, IMPERIAL Online was proud to report that the 10-hour agreed downtime was never exceeded, and on the majority of moves the downtime was limited to less than five hours,” Van Heerden concludes.
Established in 1998, IMPERIAL Online, one of South Africa's largest and most established corporate concerns provide customers with extensive data centre and IT hosting facilities, technical support teams and a 24 hour call centre. IMPERIAL Online has a unique product and service offering, combined with the necessary skills, to offer customers next generation business solutions. It provides a complete, managed and secure ICT solution, for clients both big and small, uniquely designed to cater to their ever-evolving business requirements. IMPERIAL Online operates state-of-the-art data centres, designed to provide advanced security redundancy and back-up. It provides fast, easy and reliable 24-hour access to the Internet and its hosting service allows customers to physically host their own hardware within the data centre. IMPERIAL Online serves the needs of a diverse client base operating in a wide range of industries, including the automotive industry, construction, engineering, manufacturing and transport – both within the IMPERIAL Group and externally. Clients include Premier Foods, IMPERIAL Automotive Retail, Basil Read, CSE, Interconnect, Seating, Goldfields Logistics, Tanker Services, Broco and The Cold Chain. IMPERIAL Online is a member company of IMPERIAL Logistics and operates within the IMPERIAL Logistics Integration Services division. For more information, please visit www.imperialonline.co.za.
IMPERIAL Logistics is a global logistics and supply chain leader that moves business and industry through innovation, inspiration and foresight. Through its established Southern African and International divisions, IMPERIAL Logistics' service delivery comprises fundamental logistics and end-to-end supply chain management solutions to blue chip customers in almost every industry. As a preferred logistics outsource provider, IMPERIAL Logistics positions itself as an extension of its customer's business, building its customer's brand alongside its own. IMPERIAL Logistics Southern Africa is a multi-branded business, categorised into six key divisions, namely Transport and Warehousing, Consumer Products, Specialised Freight, Integration Services, Africa and Bulk Commodity Services. IMPERIAL Logistics International comprises five operating units, namely Lehnkering, Panopa Logistik, neska, IMPERIAL Reederei and Brouwer Shipping. For more information, please visit www.imperiallogistics.co.za.