Advanced Technology Services (ATS) Group sought to capitalize on its 20-year experience as an IBM system integrator to develop a new business focused on the rapidly growing hybrid cloud marketplace.
The company combined its consulting and IT services with IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on Amazon Web Services (AWS) to launch two innovative offerings to help customers embrace hybrid cloud architectures.
~ 30 new customers rapidly acquiredwith cross-industry services designed to simplify hybrid multicloud storage
> USD 1 million saved in IT infrastructure expensesfor a utilities company that tested a new on-premises application on AWS
1.6 PB of on-premises data cost-effectively replicatedto a temporary disaster recovery facility on AWS for an analytics company
Business challenge story
Customers seek AWS compatibility
Data is skyrocketing in volume and variety, as is its intrinsic value to enterprises that strategically combine and analyze it for insights. In the face of this data explosion, companies must adopt hybrid multicloud storage architectures to drive business innovation and agility. These modern infrastructures can deliver increased capacity, performance and flexibility — at potentially lower costs — while also supporting legacy applications and business continuity solutions.
“Our customers need to have these hybrid environments, where they have on-prem storage for certain workloads and cloud storage for other workloads. It’s literally become a requirement so that they can grow their business without being strapped by on-prem capacity limitations,” explains Timothy Conley, Founder and Principal, ATS.
A regional system integrator for IBM for nearly 20 years, ATS helps businesses, government agencies and other organizations address the hurdles associated with their cloud journeys. Toward this end, the company regularly participates in IBM developer and beta programs, which give its specialists opportunities to learn about new product features, influence their design and test them in proof-of-concept (POC) projects performed at the ATS Innovation Center near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“We’re always ahead of the game,” says Conley. “We have the latest and greatest of practically all IBM storage products, and our customers expect that from us. We’re trusted advisors for them.”
For several years, ATS has used IBM Spectrum Virtualize software-defined storage — until recently available only as storage systems or on IBM Cloud™ — to enhance customers’ on-premises storage with hybrid multicloud capabilities. The company also relies on IBM storage infrastructure built with IBM Spectrum Virtualize technologies to power its Galileo Performance Explorer solution for IT capacity management. Given their success with IBM Spectrum Virtualize solutions, customers have increasingly sought solution support for the AWS cloud platform. So, when IBM invited ATS to participate in a beta program for IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud to help develop that capability, the company readily accepted the offer.
A simpler, faster hybrid cloud journey
During the program, ATS contributed its expertise to help replicate on-premises solution stacks on AWS infrastructure. The company also performed POC solutions for customers eagerly waiting for IBM to officially release IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud software on AWS, garnering insights into how to build its own offerings around the product.
“As we went through the beta program, we saw how the solution works, how easy it is to use, because we’re experts in it, but at face value it looks complicated,” explains Conley. “We saw our ability to bridge the gap for people who wouldn’t know what it was and how to use it. We saw our ability to do something unique.”
To simplify solution adoption and management, ATS developed two offerings based on IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on AWS, a licensed software product from IBM now available through the AWS Marketplace for a flat, capacity-based price:
- A comprehensive managed services solution, including purchase of IBM and Amazon licenses, installation and configuration, data migration and ongoing management, for a monthly fee
- Consulting services, including solution installation, configuration and migration, for a one-time consulting fee
These offerings enable customers to connect with ATS specialists who have extensive experience in both IBM and AWS platforms. “You’ve got to understand both sides of the fence to actually do these implementations, and that’s one of the big values we bring to customers,” emphasizes Conley.
ATS also adds measurable value by accurately calculating capacity and performance requirements for each customer’s IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on AWS installation, built on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances with Amazon Elastic Block Storage volumes. Using its Galileo Performance Explorer solution, ATS can appropriately size an installation at initial deployment, potentially resulting in huge savings.
Whether on IBM Cloud or AWS, IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud provides true hybrid multicloud data mobility for business continuity and workload mobility. Enterprises can improve performance and optimize public cloud infrastructure, while also extending their current on-premises investments to the public cloud.
Designed to connect to environments that use the IBM SAN Volume Controller and IBM FlashSystem® products , IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud also integrates with more than 450 additional storage systems from IBM and other vendors when virtualized by IBM storage. A common set of all-inclusive features and services streamlines management across storage resources while helping ensure data protection between private and public clouds. In particular, thin provisioned volumes, space-efficient snapshots and IBM EasyTier® automated, intelligent tiering help reduce TCO associated with on-premises and cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) storage, including Amazon Elastic Block Storage volumes. “We can move data up and down between higher cost storage to lower cost storage. No other cloud vendor offers that capability,” says Conley.
Wishes become realities
ATS has already helped several existing customers and acquired approximately 30 new ones in the first few months after announcing its managed services and consulting offerings. Many want to either permanently or temporarily extend on-premises workloads to public clouds. Others want to replicate disaster recovery sites in public clouds. All desire greater freedom in using hybrid multicloud architectures to cost-efficiently store, manage and protect data.
For instance, a US federal government agency sought to quickly and securely migrate on-premises data to a cloud platform on an as-needed basis. As soon as AWS support for IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud became available, ATS worked with the agency to deploy the solution. “It was literally a two-year wish list item for them, and they were over the moon excited about it,” says Conley.
ATS also helped a large analytics company that runs high-performance computing workloads replicate 1.6 PB of on-premises data to a temporary disaster recovery site in the AWS cloud. Hence, a critical need was met pending funding for a permanent solution.
In another case, a utilities company was ready to purchase infrastructure to support a new on-premises security-focused application. ATS recommended that the customer first migrate test data to IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud on AWS to determine the application’s compute and storage requirements. The project saved the company more than USD 1 million in capital expenditures.
ATS also now uses IBM Spectrum Virtualize for Public Cloud software as part of its Galileo Performance Explorer solution, which ports customers’ on-premises workload data to AWS, where it runs predictive analytics. “It allows us to migrate data more easily and transparently,” Conley explains.
Conley looks forward to helping many more enterprises navigate their transition to a hybrid multicloud world while also driving revenue for ATS and IBM. “We believe this is a game changer for IBM and our customers,” he says.
Advanced Technology Services (ATS) Group
Based in Malvern, Pennsylvania, ATS provides comprehensive IT services and solutions, including systems integration, business resiliency, cloud computing, real-time monitoring and managed services. It also created the Galileo Performance Explorer suite for performance management. ATS employs approximately 70 highly qualified, industry-certified professionals who deliver objective, vendor-independent advice. It has helped nearly 500 customers, from small and midsize businesses to Fortune 500 enterprises, since its founding in 2001.
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