Olga Sokolova
General Director of Linxdatacenter in Russia
03.12.2021

Retail, banks, industry, and startups: what can cloud solutions do for them?

Today's cloud solutions are evolving towards virtualized environments with built-in tools that allow companies without advanced IT competencies to launch new digital products. Olga Sokolova, General Director of Linxdatacenter, talks about current cloud capabilities using examples of business cases.

Olga Sokolova
General Director of Linxdatacenter in Russia

Today's cloud solutions are evolving towards virtualized environments with built-in tools that allow companies without advanced IT competencies to launch new digital products. Olga Sokolova, General Director of Linxdatacenter, talks about current cloud capabilities using examples of business cases.

The global recession has forced businesses to squeeze the maximum efficiency out of existing resources, including IT systems, Потребовалось применение новых экономически эффективных решений. Облачные вычисления стали идеальным инструментом для этих целей, получив новый импульс развития.

Заметным трендом становится желание бизнеса запускать внутренние процессы и создавать новые решения на базе ИТ-инструментов, не будучи при этом профессионалами в цифровых решениях. Одна из новых целей цифровой трансформации сегодня – позволить бизнес-департаментам инициировать новые процессы и бизнес-модели на базе digital.

Бизнес стремится обойтись без разработчиков, получая необходимый инструментарий в специальной среде для максимально быстрого развития. В этом плане следующей целью облачной трансформации можно назвать предоставление клиентам услуги «масштабирование как сервис».

Retail is a mirror of cloud capabilities – зеркало облачных возможностей

Хороший пример эффективности облаков  ритейл. Торговые компании традиционно являются одним из главных драйверов цифровизации: сегмент e-commerce показывал высокие темпы развития и до пандемии, а в условиях перманентных локдаунов приобрел статус социально значимого направления.

Меньше походов в магазины – больше покупок онлайн, а, значит, и более высокая нагрузка на ИТ-системы ритейлеров. Облачные ИТ-ресурсы помогают поддерживать безотказную и стабильную работу важных приложений, не допуская сбоев и простоев на стороне покупателей (доступность каталогов и форм заказа) и бэкенд-систем продавцов (системы учета товарных остатков, проведение платежей, CRM).

Cosmetics company Faberlic has used Microsoft Azure cloud since 2014 to host SAP solutions, mission-critical applications, and systems. This architecture allows to scale operations and enter new markets quickly.

Faberlic maintained a 10% growth rate for its e-commerce segment despite the pandemic, including through 18 large-scale online sales in more than 40 countries. andнтернет-магазина в более чем 40 странах.

Еще один пример: кейс компании Rive Gauche, которая перенесла экосистему SAP-решений из среды on premise в облако, что уменьшило показатель совокупной стоимости владения ИТ-системами (TCO) в 2 раза. При этом скорость масштабирования вычислительных ресурсов при пиковых нагрузках выросла в 4 раза.

Moving to the cloud allowed M.Video-Eldorado Group to reduce the time of implementing changes when working with data without increasing the cost of processes. Lower capital expenditures on IT infrastructure allowed to reallocate 50% of the costs of a business project to the products currently relevant to the company.

In particular, the company's specialists were able to conduct quick experiments with data using the cloud solution consisting of a basic IT infrastructure, a data platform, container development, and ML / AI tools.

«Магнит» с помощью облака вывел в продуктив 5 проектов, связанных с онлайн-заказом и доставкой покупок в период пандемии. Некоторые из этих проектов выросли в 10 раз за первые 6 месяцев после запуска, и только функционал автомасштабирования в облаке помог выдержать высокие темпы и объемы нагрузок на ИТ.

Cloud solutions are in it to win it

Банковский сектор – еще одна отрасль, активно задействующая передовые возможности современных облачных ресурсов. Это объясняется растущей ролью банковских услуг в B2C и B2B-сегментах, а также пропорциональным увеличением требований к работе финансовых учреждений в цифровой среде.

Помимо цифровизации классических банковских сервисов и продуктов развитие digital-парадигмы стимулирует появление принципиально новых решений для конечных клиентов, а также инструментов для межбанковских расчетов, взаимодействия с регулятором и т.д. Наиболее востребованные технологиand здесь – искусственный интеллект и машинное обучение. 

Так, «Райффайзенбанк» cоздал голосового помощника для работы на горячей линии обслуживания клиентов на базе нативного облачного МL/AI-решения для обработки человеческой речи и естественных языков, так называемый SpeechKit. Результаты внедрения – полная обработка 80% входящих звонков ресурсами помощника без привлечения специалистов колл-центра and снижение затрат на эти задачи на 65%.

«АльфаБанк» в Казахстане с помощью облака развернул решение Qualtrics – систему управления опытом сотрудников для их вовлечения в рабочий процесс. Развертывание в масштабах всего филиала было выполнено за один месяц собственными силами ИТ-департамента без поддержки интегратора и вендора – благодаря высокой степени интеграции продукта в облачную среду.

Облака еще далеко не исчерпали потенциал использования в банкинге. По мере того, как регуляторы финансового сектора в разных странах будут согласовывать взаимодействие с ИТ-системами банков, размещенными в облаках, мы будем наблюдать появление новых, все более продвинутых сервисов.

В ряде стран эту нишу заполняют финтех-стартапы, предлагающие актуальные цифровые решения под потребностand физических и юридических лиц. Практически любой успешный проект в этой сфере – облачное решение. 

В России многие развитые в цифровом отношении банки становятся драйверами цифровизации экономики в целом за счет способности выстраивать экосистемы продуктов, сервисов и партнеров с опорой на ресурсы облаков.

Cloud optimization for industry

Облачные решения широко используются и для нужд предприятий в сфере производства. Так, промышленная группа НЛМК развернула в облаке корпоративные ИТ-инструменты для управления персоналом, реализации программ обучения, наставничества и аттестации сотрудников.

Помимо оптимизации ТСО в рамках проекта облака предлагают важный для HR-задач компонент – новую эргономику систем, с которыми работают люди. Это нативные облачные решения, максимально соответствующие современным требованиям с точки зрения удобства интерфейса и полноты функционала. Проект позволил обеспечить уровень вовлеченности персонала в рабочие процессы группы на 96%.

Компания Renault в России поставила задачу ускорения разработки новых продуктов. Благодаря переносу процессов проектирования и расчетов в облачную среду и использованию нативных инструментов значительно ускорились циклы разработки. Время выделения необходимых ИТ-ресурсов сократилось с нескольких часов или дней в традиционной среде до нескольких минут в облаке.

The migration allowed both companies to significantly optimize their investments in developing their IT infrastructure.

Startups as ideal cloud clients

Проверка бизнес-гипотез без капитальных инвестиций в инфраструктуру необходима для минимизации рисков в условиях экономической непредсказуемости. Использование стартапов – один из очевидных сценариев.

For instance, the car-sharing startup Belkacar skyrocketed primarily due to their quick start in the cloud. It launched a prototype in a short time in 2016, and was able to scale quickly after the business model proved effective.

The development strategy of Belkacar is based on various sources of data (the historical user stories analysis, predictive analytics) deployed on a massive IT platform in the cloud. The near-cloud-reliance approach allowed the company to reach 50% higher travel volumes within the year of the pandemic.

Если бы проект начался с закупки оборудования, настройки всех необходимых конфигураций, интеграции необходимого софта – никакого быстрого запуска не произошло бы.

В XXI веке главное конкурентное преимущество – в скорости выхода на новый рынок, способности найти и мгновенно занять нишу. Одна из примет времени на облачном рынке сегодня – обращение к нативным облачным инструментам по отраслевым задачам или технологическим направлениям. Для многих современных бизнес-моделей недопустимо застревать на уровне отладки инфраструктурных тонкостей.

Применение инструментария Cloud Native позволяет максимально быстро просчитать экономику проекта и принять решение о развитии продукта или сервиса для завоевания рынка в экономически эффективном ключе.

News and publications

Article
09.08.2022
IS in scarcity: a big transition strategy
News
01.08.2022
Linxdatacenter is in the TOP10 of the largest DC service providers
News
25.07.2022
Linxdatacenter launches its own PaaS tools
News
20.07.2022
St. Petersburg cloud Linxdatacenter passed the certification on ...
Article
30.06.2022
How we optimized customer data center management
News
27.06.2022
Linxdatacenter: Russian Cloud Market to Grow in 2022...
News
26.05.2022
Anna Malmi has been appointed the regional director of Linxdatacenter...
Article
20.05.2022
Cloud Edge: What's Happening in the Russian Market - Linxdatacenter
News
13.05.2022
The new CEO of Linxdatacenter is Andrei...
Article
03.05.2022
Unit per monoblock: the modular UPS revolution in data centers

You may also be interested in

Linx Outsourcing
Audit, upgrade and optimize your server capacities
read more
Data-center management outsourcing
Linx Network
Ensure network resiliency and uptime
read more
Network services
Linx DraaS
Protect your IT systems today!
read more
Disaster Recovery as a Service

Write to us

How we optimized customer data center management

Data center is a complex IT and engineering object, which requires professionalism at all levels of management: from managers to technical specialists and executors of maintenance works. Here's how we helped our client put operational management in corporate data centers in order.
 

Taras Chirkov, Head of Data Center in St. Petersburg  in St. Petersburg 

Konstantin Nagorny, chief engineer of data center in St. Petersburg.  in St. Petersburg 

Data center is a complex IT and engineering object, which requires professionalism at all levels of management: from managers to technical specialists and executors of maintenance works. Here's how we helped our client put operational management in corporate data centers in order.  

Management is in the lead 

The most advanced and expensive IT equipment will not bring the expected economic benefits if proper processes of engineering systems operation in the data center, where it is located, are not established.  

The role of reliable and productive data centers in today's economy is constantly growing along with the requirements for their uninterrupted operation. However, there is a big systemic problem on this front.  

A high level of "uptime" - failure-free operation of a data center without downtime - depends very much on the engineering team that manages the site. And there is no single formalized school of data center management.  

And there is no single formalized school of data center management.    

Nationwide  

In practice, the situation with the operation of data centers in Russia is as follows.  

Data centers in the commercial segment usually have certificates confirming their management competence. Not all of them do, but the very specifics of the business model, when a provider is responsible to the client for the quality of service, money and reputation in the market, obligates them to own the subject. 

The segment of corporate data centers that serve companies' own needs lags far behind commercial data centers in terms of operational quality. The internal customer is not treated as carefully as the external customer, not every company understands the potential of well-configured management processes. 

Finally, government departmental data centers - in this regard, they are often unknown territory due to their closed nature. An international audit of such facilities is understandably impossible. Russian state standards are just being developed.  

This all translates into a "who knows what" situation. "Diverse" composition of operation teams composed of specialists with different backgrounds, different approaches to the organization of corporate architecture, different views and requirements to IT departments.  

There are many factors that lead to this state of affairs, one of the most important is the lack of systematic documentation of operational processes. There are a couple of introductory articles by Uptime Institute which give an idea of the problem and how to overcome it. But then it's necessary to build the system by your own efforts. And not every business has enough resources and competence for that.  ⠀⠀  

Meanwhile, even a small systematization of management processes according to industry best practices always yields excellent results in terms of improving the resilience of engineering and IT systems.  

Case: through thorns to the relative order 

Let's illustrate by the example of an implemented project. A large international company with its own data center network approached us. The request was for help to optimize the management processes at three sites where IT systems and business-critical applications are deployed.  

The company had recently undergone an audit of its headquarters and received a list of inconsistencies with corporate standards with orders to eliminate them. We were brought in as a consultant for this as a bearer of industry competence: we have been developing our own data center management system and have been educating on the role of quality in operational processes for several years.  

Communication with the client's team began. The specialists wanted to get a well-established system of data center engineering systems operation, documented on the processes of monitoring, maintenance and troubleshooting. All this had to ensure optimization of the infrastructure component in terms of IT equipment continuity.  

And here began the most interesting part.  

Know thyself 

To assess the level of data centers in terms of compliance with standards, you need to know the exact requirements of the business to IT systems: what is the level of internal SLA, the allowable period of equipment downtime, etc.  

It became clear right away that the IT department did not know exactly what the business wanted. There were no internal criteria of service quality, no understanding of the logic of their own infrastructure.  

Colleagues simply had no idea what the permissible downtime for IT-related operations was, what the optimal system recovery time in case of a disaster was, or how the architecture of their own applications was structured. For example, we had to figure out whether a "crash" of one of the data centers would be critical to the application, or if there were no components affecting the application.  

Without knowing such things, it is impossible to calculate any specific operational requirements. The client recognized the problem and increased coordination between IT and the business to develop internal requirements and establish relationships to align operations.  

Once an understanding of the IT systems architecture was achieved, the team was able to summarize the requirements for operations, contractors, and equipment reliability levels.  

Improvements in the process 

Our specialists traveled to sites to assess infrastructure, read existing documentation, and checked the level of compliance of data center projects with actual implementation.  

Interviews with the responsible employees and their managers became a separate area of focus. They told what and how they do in different work situations, how the key processes of engineering systems' operation are arranged.  

After starting the work and getting acquainted with the specifics of the task the client "gave up" a little: we heard the request "just to write all the necessary documentation", quickly and without deep diving into the processes.  

However, proper optimization of data center "engineering" management implies the task to teach people to properly assess the processes and write unique documentation for them based on the specifics of the object.  

It is impossible to come up with a working document for a specific maintenance area manager - unless you work with him at the site continuously for several months. Therefore this approach was rejected: We found local leaders who were willing to learn themselves and lead their subordinates.  

Having explained the algorithm of documents creation, requirements to their contents and principles of instructions ecosystem organization, for the next six months we controlled the process of detailed writing of documentation and step-by-step transition of the personnel to work in a new way. 

This was followed by a phase of initial support for work on the updated regulations, which lasted one year in a remote format. Then we moved on to training and drills - the only way to put the new material into practice.  

What's been done 

In the process, we were able to resolve several serious issues.  

First of all, we avoided double documentation, which the client's employees feared. To this end, we combined in the new regulations the regulatory requirements applied to various engineering systems as standard (electrics, cooling, access control), with industry best practices, creating a transparent documentation structure with simple and logical navigation.   

The principle of "easy to find, easy to understand, easy to remember" was complemented by the fact that the new information was linked to the old experience and knowledge of the employees. 

Next, we reshuffled the staff of service engineers: several people turned out to be completely unprepared for the change. The resistance of some was successfully overcome in the course of the project through the demonstration of benefits, but a certain percentage of employees turned out to be untrained and unresponsive to new things.  

But we were surprised by the company's frivolous attitude to its IT infrastructure: from the lack of redundancy of critical systems to the chaos in the structure and management.  

In 1.5 years the engineering systems management processes have been pumped up to the level that allowed the company's specialists to successfully report "for quality" to the auditors from the headquarters.  

With the support of the operating component development pace the company will be able to pass any existing certification of data centers from leading international agencies.  

Summary 

In general, the prospects of consulting in the field of operational management of data centers, in our opinion, are the brightest.  

The process of digitalization of the economy and the public sector is in full swing. Yes, there will be a lot of adjustments in the launch of new projects and plans for the development of old ones, but this will not change the essence - the operation should be improved at least to improve the efficiency of already built sites.  

The main problem here: many managers do not understand what thin ice they are walking on, not paying proper attention to this point. The human factor is still the main source of the most unpleasant accidents and failures. And it needs to be explained.  

Government data center projects are also becoming more relevant now and require increased attention in terms of operations: the scope of government IT systems is growing. Here, too, the development and introduction of a system of standardization and certification of sites will be required.  

When the requirements to public data centers in Russia at the level of legislation will be reduced to a standard, it can be applied to commercial data centers, including for the placement of public IT resources.  

The work in this area is ongoing, we are participating in this process in consultation with the Ministry of Digital and by building competencies for teaching courses on data center operation at the ANO Data Center. There is not much experience on such tasks in Russia, and we believe that we should share it with colleagues and clients. 

Retail, banks, industry, and startups: what can cloud solutions do for them?

BEST, money transfer and payments operator

business challenge

The customer faced a technical issue with a persistent BGP session flag with Linxdatacenter hardware. We examined the problem and found out that one of customer’s hosts was under a DDoS attack.

Because of the distributed nature of the attack, traffic couldn’t be filtered effectively, and disconnecting the host from the external network wasn’t an option. The attack stopped after changes in the server configuration, but resumed the day after. A 5.5 Gbps attack overloaded the junctions with internet providers, affecting other Linx Cloud users. To mitigate the effects of the attack, we employed a dedicated DDoS protection service.

Solution

To ensure the continuous availability of resources hosted in Linx Cloud, we rerouted all the customer’s traffic through StormWall Anti-DDoS system. The attack was stopped within half an hour. To prevent future cyberattacks, we organized all connections to the customer’s resources through the StormWall network.

client:

BEST, money transfer and payments operator

business challenge

The customer faced a technical issue with a persistent BGP session flag with Linxdatacenter hardware. We examined the problem and found out that one of customer’s hosts was under a DDoS attack.

Because of the distributed nature of the attack, traffic couldn’t be filtered effectively, and disconnecting the host from the external network wasn’t an option. The attack stopped after changes in the server configuration, but resumed the day after. A 5.5 Gbps attack overloaded the junctions with internet providers, affecting other Linx Cloud users. To mitigate the effects of the attack, we employed a dedicated DDoS protection service.

Solution

To ensure the continuous availability of resources hosted in Linx Cloud, we rerouted all the customer’s traffic through StormWall Anti-DDoS system. The attack was stopped within half an hour. To prevent future cyberattacks, we organized all connections to the customer’s resources through the StormWall network.

Thank you for your inquiry, we will get back to you shortly!