With more than 500 customers and thousands of users across 90 countries, Aspect Enterprise Solutions is a global provider of web-based commodity trading, risk management and data management applications.
Its Software as a Service (SaaS) – based tools allow commodity trading organisations in the oil & gas, metals, agriculture and other industries, such as Chevron, BP and Noble, to manage the financial risks of trading resources. The company’s array of solutions help organisations with real-time pricing and analytics, while ensuring they are making the right business decisions that won’t cost them profit.
Aspect had spent 10 years using a data centre operated by a large colocation provider in London, during which time its IT resources had come to take up 5 racks’ worth of space. However, when Aspect’s contract came up for renewal the provider tried to impose a three-fold price increase. Not only was this unacceptable, it also did not guarantee the level of customer service that Aspect required. This left the company with no other option but to search for an alternative provider.
In this search, Aspect faced a number of limitations. Firstly, in order to reassure its customers that their services would not be disrupted or otherwise at risk Aspect needed its IT to remain in a stable, secure country such as the UK, with a relatively strong economy and with strict data protection laws in place. The company also wanted to be able to move its hardware between locations with minimum disruption and cost: ideally, travel time from its London location to the new centre would be 2 hours or less. Furthermore, any colocation centre had to provide fast and secure connectivity that would enable Aspect to transmit data between the IT resources, its offices and its customers reliably and without delay.
Unfortunately, our colocation provider wasn’t able to offer us the kind of dedicated, responsive customer service that we needed,” said Alexander Krapivin, Director of infrastructure at Aspect Enterprise Solutions. “For example, relatively simple requests such as changing a bandwidth connection could take up to 4 years to complete, including communicating the changes needed and going through the bureaucracy required to implement those changes. When combined with the price increase, it gave us a clear incentive to look elsewhere. However, in a business such as ours this isn’t a simple matter. Any provider had to be able to guarantee the highest levels of security at the colocation centre, as well as ensuring that events such as a loss of power or connectivity would not disrupt our actions. At the same time, we also needed a team that would recognise and respond to our needs. Any failure in these areas would result not only in a loss of data and services but, more importantly, could also result in a loss of confidence from our customers.
Aspect began a search for colocation providers that would be able to fulfil its criteria. As part of this search, it expanded its view beyond London in order to take advantage of more competitive colocation pricing. After thoroughly researching suitable providers, Aspect decided on CORETX’s Bournemouth colocation centre as providing the best service at the best cost, in a location that was within the required 2 hours’ travel time from London.
We chose CORETX as they fitted in with all our criteria: they could offer the same colocation services as our previous provider for a fraction of the proposed cost and with much greater customer service. Bournemouth’s location relative to London meant that we could quickly and easily relocate to the new colocation centre, with less than 2 hours’ travel time. Furthermore, CORETX could guarantee the security, connectivity and reliability that we needed, together with a dedicated account manager which we had never previously had.
Working with CORETX, Aspect’s dedicated account manager can guarantee its colocation service and also quickly respond to any requests, improving the company’s agility. By remaining in the UK, its customers are satisfied that their data will not be put at unnecessary risk. This satisfaction is further strengthened by the fact that CORETX’s data centre has high levels of physical security. Physical security measures at the site include biometric security, access cards, PIN code-locked doors, cameras and monitoring of all access to and from the site to ensure that Aspect’s resources are completely protected and accounted for.
Despite moving away from London, CORETX is still able to guarantee Aspect fast connectivity via its dedicated fibre network: a connection speed of less than 10 milliseconds to the majority of service providers in the UK, means that Aspect can communicate between its IT infrastructure, its offices and its customers as if the colocated resources were in the next room. CORETX also provides Aspect with a redundant uplink for their resources, meaning that if the primary network connection fails they still have access.
CORETX’s Bournemouth data centre also fulfils Aspect’s other continuity needs. Consistent air conditioning means there is minimal risk of equipment over-heating while the centre also provides its own backup power supply in the unlikely event of a power failure. As a result, Aspect is assured that its IT resources will remain protected and operational in almost any circumstances.
Since taking up CORETX’s services, we have been able to guarantee a consistent, agile service to our customers without having to bear an increased price. The peace of mind provided by CORETX’s security, continuity, UK location and cost mean that instead of fretting over our IT we can concentrate on improving our business and providing the best possible service to our customers. However, it is the level of customer service that CORETX and our dedicated account manager can provide that has proven to be the greatest difference. We now have remote help, giving access to proactive and highly skilled staff whenever we need them. Previously, as mentioned, a simple change to our bandwidth connection could take almost 4 years. With CORETX’s dedicated account manager, fast response and skilled staff, a similar request was completed within 5 minutes meaning that we can respond to our changing needs much faster.