A national hotel management company is getting ready to move its IT infrastructure to a new provider in order to keep in step with Sarbanes-Oxley and Canada’s Bill 198 regulations.

CHIP Hospitality LP plans to make the switch to Fusepoint Managed Services by the end of next month, when it will be the first tenant in a new data centre Fusepoint has opened near its corporate headquarters in Vancouver. CHIP, which operates more than 30 Delta, Crowne Plaza, Ramada and Radisson hotels across Canada, will be using the partnership to safeguard its accounting systems, Microsoft Exchange and hospitality-specific sales and catering systems. The infrastructure will be running over an MPLS network operated by Rogers Business Solutions, which Rogers gained through its acquisition of Call-Net Enterprises about two years ago.

Peter Smolik, CHIP’s IT director, said the company was concerned about the segregation of duties that’s required by Sarbanes-Oxley and other regulations. For example, if the same people who manage the network also have admin privileges to manage the servers on that network, it could lead to problems.

“From a SoX perspective, you need to have checks and  balances, someone who would implement something but doesn’t administrate it. We’ve moved to a structure where we’ve reduced our risk, basically.”

The infrastructure in question consists of about four racks and in the neighbourhood of 60 servers, Smolik said, along with the associated switches and routers.

Fusepoint is expanding in Vancouver after filling up the original facility it gained through the purchase of Roundhaven Communications in 2000, said the company’s president, George Kerns. The key part of its strategy, however, is not merely building more data centres but acquiring deep technical expertise.

“We don’t make our living on the equipment side of the business,” Kerns said. “It’s the know-how – how to utilize products like VMWare, how to deal with Solaris or Oracle or BEA.”

Smolik said this was exactly the reason why CHIP was leaving its last third-party hosting provider.

“We didn’t just want a colo facility,” he said, referring to co-location services that are offered by many outsourcing firms. “If we have a parallel application we want outsourced because of privacy, availability or uptime requirements, we wanted to be able to rely on that data centre provider.”

The CHIP deal also represents the first fruits of a partnership between Rogers and Fusepoint, according to Sarah Talacek, vice-president of marketing at Rogers Business Solutions.

“Customers are certainly looking for diversity and backup in their network design,” she said. “(CHIP) has a relatively small internal IT group. What they’re doing is removing a lot of the complexity from the customer side.”

Other Fusepoint Managed Service customers include Quebec bathroom fixture manufacturer MAAX Corp. and legal firm Goodman and Carr LLP.

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