Provide a brief description of the Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative.
Atum is an IT outsourcing provider that specializes in dedicated virtual private server (VPS) hosting made with a small business in mind. VPS refers to multiple dedicated virtual servers in a single powerful physical server. Once the physical server is divided, each logical server can run an operating system and applications independently with advantages over traditional physical environments. Atum is a small business itself and understands that other small businesses need help in competing among large corporations (after all, we can relate to them as well). We help small businesses virtualize their IT infrastructures leveling their IT performance with enterprise giants. VPS increases performance, cuts cost while at the same time helping the environment! Businesses constantly try to keep their costs down. Outsourcing IT cuts the many unnecessary costs since the small business IT is now in hands of expertise. A small business often finds it hard to receive the same performance as a large enterprise but Atum’s solutions are able to provide them with the same resources. Our solution is based on hardware and software manufactured by our partners IBM, Microsoft, Citrix, RedHat, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, Symantec and Lenovo to deliver premium results for companies that may not afford to host in house. It’s very unlikely that a small start up will be able to afford hardware and software by our partners if they do it in-house and Atum’s plans start as low as $39/mo providing for that opportunity. Virtualization is simple – it means doing more with less. Less resources used accompanied by more powerful hosting performance and security results in a win-win situation with benefiting not only the environment but also the business. With a dedicated VPS the business experiences all the advantages of a physical dedicated server (plus more!) for a fraction of the cost. This allows small businesses to put more money into other areas, such as business development, helping them flourish along with experience enterprise level IT performance. Our X-factor, so to say is, is that we don’t only provide a solution that is able to cut costs while increasing performance but that we are small business focused and personal. We offer a variety of small business programs, incentives, discounts and open source solutions. Specifically, one of our main involvements in a small business start is the Microsoft BizSpark program. We were once a startup ourselves and know how essential it is to have the right support from well established industry leaders. Since we’re an exclusive Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, we’re pleased to offer a Microsoft BizSpark program designed specifically for startups. Today’s most promising start ups are tomorrow’s future and we help them get a head start in the business by providing them with the right visibility, support and software. We are also very conscious about the environment coming up with innovative solutions that benefit both business operations and the earth. We don’t only engage in providing green IT solutions but we are also very committed to raising awareness about Green IT and make the effort to participate in a variety of events to discuss environmentally friendly ways of hosting.
Describe what makes this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative original or innovative. How is this over and above the accepted norm?
In a traditional, “industry norm” of server hosting, a physical server hosts only one application meaning one physical server is required for each of the applications. It used to be that the only other alternative available to the traditional physical IT environment was shared hosting. Although it is a cheaper alternative, shared hosting is very much frowned upon by business professionals because of its lacking in performance and its many other business disadvantages. But things have changed when Atum’s solutions came along. Atum offers virtual dedicated hosting solutions that consolidate servers without hosting disadvantages leading to increased performance, cost cutting and a decreased environmental footprint. Dedicated VPS benefits result in increased speed, extensive back up and instant scalability – all of which traditional servers do not provide. To better put cost cutting for a small business into perspective, it all comes down to price and allowing the to thrive to its fullest. Comparing to a competitor’s pricing, to outsource a traditional physical server costs $420/month for a minimum package. This adds up to $5, 040 annual hosting costs for a small business. We are able to offer the same managed hosting solution for $89/month, adding up to $1, 068 for a managed hosting solution. For an unmanaged hosting solution, we are able to offer packages as low as $390! Even our highest managed solution plan adds up to $3, 108 annual cost – $1, 932 cheaper than the minimum physical dedicated server solution from our competitor. This allows small businesses to make the most out of their budgets by focusing on their core business. The resources can now be focused on strategic aims, increasing revenue and profitability in areas like business development.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s sales or revenues. What changed? Provide evidence of measurable improvements in sales, revenues, cost reduction, etc.
We measure our success in numbers. How effective has our solution been to the business and will they keep coming back? Our goal is to create virtual IT solutions that profit small businesses, creating an earth friendly IT infrastructure all around. We have many client success stories, but we’d like to share specifically a client whom we were able to provide increased efficiency and revenue – Luxor CRM. We have worked very closely with Luxor in creating a (green) IT growth plan and strategy for the small business, strengthening our personal relationship along the way. In 2009, Luxor CRM came to Atum in hopes of cutting down their costs so that they can invest more money into their software development team. Luxor CRM is an online CRM provider meaning their whole business depends on hosting performance. If there’s ever any downtime, their business suffers because their clients need to have access to the software 24/7. Luxor was previously paying around $500 per each server plus extra fees such as maintenance, network and internet. It was clear they were spending too much money on their IT infrastructure and wanted a change, that’s why they came to Atum for a plan to virtualize their infrastructure from a physical server environment. It’s a hassle getting rid of server hardware, especially for a smaller business who feels they’ve invested a lot of money into it so Atum always offers to buy the hardware from the migrating client. Atum purchased Luxor CRM’s server hardware, reusing some servers while making sure the others are recycled properly (in an effort to reduce toxic waste). As mentioned, the online CRM application is required to be online without network downtime 24/7 and Atum provides this guarantee. Since Luxor uses Atum as its trusty network backbone, they are able to provide better customer service as Luxor’s clients are able to use the application without any interruptions. Quantitatively speaking, Atum was able to decrease overhead and overall per year costs by 90% with a yearly cost deduction of $200, 000. In terms of measurable kilowatts, Luxor saves an average 231 264 killowatt hours per year including data center and additional costs. As for CO2 savings, the end savings were 531, 907 lbs of CO2! Luxor no longer had to worry about hardware, networking equipment, and security. We provided them with a solution that was tailored to their business, giving them a fixed cost. Luxor no longer had repair surprise costs and was able to properly budget for their IT needs on a monthly basis. This 90% cost reduction resulted in the company adding to their sales team and improving their revenue.
Describe the improvement this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative made to the customer’s efficiency. What changed? Provide evidence of how customer efficiency was increased.
As mentioned in the question above, Luxor CRM is an online application that’s required to be online without network downtime 24/7 and the small business feels trust in Atum that is able to provide this guarantee. Since Luxor uses Atum as its trusty network backbone, they are able to provide better customer service as Luxor’s clients are able to use the application without any interruptions. Atum has upgraded Luxor’s back up and scalability as well as increasing performance and speed of their application due to VPS hosting. Dedicated virtual private server hosting are superior to traditional dedicated servers in many ways. With VPS, we are able to guarantee no downtime because we set up balancers across multiple virtual servers ensuring that resources are utilized, response time is minimized and overload is avoided. Unlike traditional servers, dedicated VPS is also able to offer instant scalability. Atum can instantly allocate any amount of RAM or CPU needed for a smooth running infrastructure without the inconvenience of a shut down or reboot. In the case like Luxor where a business depends online, it is essential to have instant scalability. Luxor CRM also received 24/7 network monitoring by Atum’s IT staff where as previously, the network would be unattended past work hours resulting in decreased performance. Lastly, Luxor CRM received superior back up service. In the event of an operating system failure, the back up would be running within minutes again guaranteeing no downtime. We have the most up to date technology performing scheduled daily, weekly and monthly backups of servers. We are also able to restore custom databases, web servers and integrated applications by simply moving servers over to a different virtual host and replacing it without a waiting time. There is even an option to back up already “backed up” files designed specifically to make clients feel safe about data hosting. We have also provided Luxor with an IT strategy and support. Since Luxor is our client, we are able to offer them server administration included in their plans free of charge. The small business was previously paying an extra $500 in network and server administration fees that was fully cut as soon as Atum took on Luxor CRM onboard.
How did this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative improve the customer’s ability to serve its internal and/or external clients? Provide evidence of the improvement.
Our customers have improved the ability to server their clients because we are a trusty hosting backbone. This extends to our customers’ clients who count on technology. Many of our customers include small business software companies who rely on technology and can’t afford a hosting failure. This is why we provided Luxor CRM with a network that is fully redundant and excels in speed, reliability and security for their peace of mind and for them to be able to deliver the best results to their clients. We promised them to deliver zero downtime providing each server with a UPS and backup generators with 24×7 monitoring by our network operations support. We also guaranteed Luxor that their server related hardware (servers, CPU’s, cabling, firewalls, load balancers, storage area networks) will work or will be replaced at no cost within one hour. Luxor CRM experienced great results and was able to deliver superior service to their clients due to a fast performance network and no downtime, increasing their referrals and business.
In what ways does this Solution, Service Provided, or Initiative go above and beyond industry norms and expectations?
Virtualization is a new IT trend that is the future of server hosting. We like to view ourselves as pioneers in the Canadian IT industry who set the standards for dedicated virtual hosting. We provide top notch hardware and software from partners such as Microsoft and IBM that provides the small businesses the ability to compete at an enterprise level. Atum also makes sure not to just talk the virtualization talk but to also engage in a variety of environmental incentives internally and with our clients. The greatest financial benefit Atum’s customers receive with Atum is the cost saving from virtualizing their IT infrastructures. The money saved can now be distributed to integral departments and allow the business to focus on core areas. As Atum takes care of the business IT needs, the customer has now more money and time dedicated to growing and flourishing. Another way Atum increases financial benefits for clients so that converting to green IT is easier is through our recycling program that purchases client’s hardware. If a client wants to switch to a virtual infrastructure but doesn’t know what to do with their physical servers, Atum will buy the servers either recycling them properly or reusing them in an effort to assist the client and the environment. Similarly, if a client is hesitant to switch to a dedicated VPS box, unlike many other hosting companies Atum will provide a 30 day no obligation trial to help make the change for the client easier. Lastly, we’re a green office. Starting out small in the office we have a no paper cups/ wasteful materials policy as well as turning off all computers at the end of the day. Moving on outside of our office, we participate and support recycling and cleanup programs in our office tower. Finally, on a macro scale we are part of the Ontario Electronic Stewardship program. The OES program operates under the Waste Diversion Act requiring providers to pay fees for electrical and electronic equipment supplied to Ontario which in return are used by OES to operate the program. To us, virtualization means making the most efficient use of available system resources. It has transformed our mindsets into thinking green & virtual in our everyday lives. Our clients & potential clients are astonished at how efficient and powerful virtual systems operate whenever we discuss VPS. We feel it’s about time that IT has begun to examine its role to corporate responsibility and start implementing strategies that not only decrease consumption and optimize performance, but also achieve overall corporate sustainability goals.
Optional Question: How does this solution further your customer’s green or environmentally friendly plans?
We work with our clients to develop green IT strategy with virtualization. To get a better understanding of the IT and server impact on the environment, let’s take the following into consideration. A small business is usually required to host on average 10 applications. Industry Canada reports that in 2001, there were 2, 190 278 small business in Canada. This means that if everyone followed a traditional IT infrastructure, there would have to be roughly 21, 902, 780 single physical servers just for the small business market segment. Not to mention, the medium sized businesses and large corporations would each more than triple the final number! It’s scary to even think about. It has also been stated that most servers are idle running at highest at or below 3% peak average utilization resulting in IT equipment accounting for 4% of global carbon emissions. Sure, 4% may not seem like much but if businesses continue to use traditional IT infrastructures reports show that by 2011, IT equipment would overtake air travel as a polluter. This all because less than 1/3 IT departments actually know their power consumption and don’t understand the significant impact of IT on the environment. The data center space, power, cooling, equipment, and hard drives traditional IT infrastructures need is not efficient and only provides harm to the environment. This is unnecessary waste that can be stopped. One of our clients is the Green party of British Columbia who had a need for a hosted application that didn’t have any boundaries. The green party came to us because they needed a partnership with a host that cared about the environment and we are now developing a referral program with the political party being their ‘go to’ server host recommendation that shares their beliefs. Atum provided the Green Party with a single dedicated server solution saving 90% of traditional server costs, and 85% in energy use. This allowed them to have a solution that utilized our existing infrastructure, resulting in significant savings of hardware, power and space. As you can tell, this significantly decreased energy costs, toxic waste (no new servers were bought), as well as eliminated a need for recycling. This resulted in energy savings of 14, 454 kilowatt hours per year and also resulted in 33, 244 lbs of CO2 saved per year! * All of Atum’s clients including the above mentioned also receive a green IT strategy with a future growth plan. We validate how successful our solutions are when we’re able to use green methods to deliver such results and these have all been significant energy savings! *Formula: (1.65killowatts x24 hrs x365days). *2.3lbs per CO2/kilowatt hour