French CSP Groupe Hisi saw a gap in the market for high-quality cloud services on IBM Power® servers. How could the company seize this opportunity when it lacked the capital for the required hardware?
IBM Global Financing listened to Groupe Hisi’s business needs and structured a flexible financing deal that spreads the investment across monthly payments, designed to match incoming revenues.
Alignedcosts with expected benefits, giving Groupe Hisi time to build up its new service
Preservedcash by transforming a potential capital investment into monthly payments
Enabledflexible, cost-effective private cloud environments on IBM Power servers
Business challenge story
Changing the game
As a cloud service provider, Groupe Hisi must differentiate itself within a crowded market dominated by global giants. Pascale Coustou, Sales and Marketing Manager at Groupe Hisi, explains: “The global players offer highly efficient Infrastructure-as-a-Service on generic Lenovo servers: it’s a low-margin, high-scale business. To compete against them, we offer à la carte solutions customized to our clients’ business needs, and backed by long-term support. We can also differentiate ourselves by supporting specialized workloads.”
Having hosted IBM Power Systems™ servers running the IBM i operating system for several years, Groupe Hisi had seen that this market was ready for a true cloud solution. “The IBM i ecosystem in France continues to be very important for mission-critical applications,” comments Pascale Coustou. “However, small and medium enterprises may find it challenging to keep systems running optimally, and even enterprises may be finding it tougher to maintain in-house skills.
“Equally, companies with a single Power server may not have the resources to test new releases of software before releasing them into production, and they may also have concerns about their backup and recovery options.”
Groupe Hisi was already running a shared cloud landscape on non-IBM servers for Windows and Linux; a couple of years ago, the company decided to create a similar environment for IBM Power Systems. This would provide cost-efficient temporary spare capacity to larger clients looking to test new releases, as well as permanent private cloud environments for clients seeking more robust support for their critical applications running on i.
“At that time, we were starting up a number of new business streams and money was tight,” recalls Pascale Coustou. “We knew there would be a thriving market for our cloud service on Power, but we had no clients yet, and not enough capital to build a solution to the scale of our ambitions.”
Financing the vision
Groupe Hisi was confident that its vision of an on-demand cloud on IBM Power Systems would translate into a commercial success. However, it knew that setting up the infrastructure and winning clients would take several months. To solve the challenge, the company worked with IBM Global Financing to get the right infrastructure in place and align its investment with revenues from the new service.
The contract from IBM Global Financing spreads Groupe Hisi’s investment in two IBM Power System servers across monthly payments, starting with a two-month deferral period to give the Groupe Hisi cloud service time to grow. Since the contract was signed, Groupe Hisi has twice upgraded the servers on similar terms as demand has increased.
“We spoke to several potential financing partners, and IBM Global Financing came up with a really creative approach to meet our challenge,” says Pascale Coustou. “IBM Global Financing’s consultants listened to what we had to say, understood what we needed to do as a business, and came up with the right solution for our needs.”
Winning new business
The Groupe Hisi cloud service on Power is now going from strength to strength. Groupe Hisi takes advantage of IBM logical partitioning (LPAR) technology and storage virtualization to give each client a completely airtight private environment. Clients use and pay for only the required resources, with granularity down to 10 percent of a CPU and/or 1 GB of RAM. Storage networking is handled using IBM SAN switches acquired within the same financing deal, and clients can opt for real-time replication to a second data center. All data remains within France, giving clients peace of mind that about data-protection regulations.
“We’ve won a number of major new clients for our cloud service using Power Systems,” says Pascale Coustou. “We can give clients precisely the resources they need, and the same goes for backup: we provide a space just big enough to hold their replicated data. And if they actually need to fail over, we simply increase the resources in their partition.”
In addition to attracting new business from existing Groupe Hisi clients – keen to have a single provider for all servers – the new service is bringing in completely new clients, many of which also sign up for additional services. These net-new clients represent 80 percent of the total, showing how the cloud on Power model has opened up an important new revenue stream.
“For our clients, choosing the Groupe Hisi cloud on Power model brings flexibility and security to strategic environments,” says Pascale Coustou. “The service also removes concerns about access to skills for IBM i, particularly for small and medium businesses. We provide a robust cloud platform based on the latest software, as well as integrated backup and recovery. The service meets all needs: from temporary capacity to test a software upgrade, to running an entire landscape of business-critical applications.”
IBM Global Financing’s deal was a key factor to enable Groupe Hisi to align its costs with its expected benefits. Pascale Coustou concludes: “Without this IBM Global Financing deal, that takes into account the ramp-up time and the growth of revenues, it would not have been possible for us to create this new market opportunity for Groupe Hisi.”
About Groupe Hisi
Founded in 2009, Groupe Hisi is a fast-growing ISO 9001 and ISO 27001-certified specialist in hosting, managed services and cloud services. The company has the skills and experience to meet clients’ needs across all major technologies, with a focus on solutions that bridge the gap between IT and business. Based in France, and with all data kept within national borders, Groupe Hisi can meet even the most demanding standards for data security and privacy.
- Global Financing
- IBM Power Systems running i7