The Digital Infrastructure Challenge came about as a response to feedback from Sparrows CIO Brian Docherty. Brian felt that many in the Aberdeen IT community were left confused by what different infrastructure vendors actually provided. In addition to this lack of clarity, he felt that if vendors worked together more, it would make things much simpler for customers.

Last week brightsolid had the pleasure of speaking alongside some of our fantastic partners and customers at the ScotlandIS Digital Infrastructure Challenge.

How did the event come about?

The Digital Infrastructure Challenge came about as a response to feedback from Sparrows CIO Brian Docherty. Brian felt that many in the Aberdeen IT community were left confused by what different infrastructure vendors actually provided. In addition to this lack of clarity, he felt that if vendors worked together more, it would make things much simpler for customers.

With the help of Allan Sutherland, brightsolid, Converged, ClarkIT, Converged and  SureVoIP came together in a collaborative effort to share their knowledge with Aberdeen’s IT community.

Brian Docherty, Sparrows

Key message: Take infrastructure off my agenda by collaborating more

Brian Docherty was first on stage, presenting his feedback to the vendors and sharing his successes and challenges in his cloud journey.

One of Brian’s key goals has been to reinvent the role of his IT team, with a distinct focus on deploying applications. Explaining his use of a Dynamics CRM and his trialling of Microsoft Project Online, Brian explained he was an advocate for internal IT adopting an experimental and iterative “fail fast” approach. Brian’s focus has been on innovation, transforming the role of his IT staff to solutions architects.

He proposed a challenge to vendors: work collaboratively to provide a seamless service and allow internal IT to feel secure about their infrastructure.

Richard Higgs, brightsolid

Key message: Collaboration is the key to our past, present and future

brightsolid’s CEO, Richard Higgs was the first to respond to Brian’s challenge. In his opinion, the gains we’ve made since entering the Aberdeen market have been made possible through the power of collaboration.

When exploring what data centre requirements would meet the needs of Aberdeen’s IT community, many from the Oil and Gas sector reported the presence of “Meet Me Rooms” at American Data Centres, something brightsolid took on board when building of Aberdeen. Collaborative relationships were also essential in connecting major Telco providers to the data centre.

Since opening the Aberdeen Data Centre in 2015, feedback received from collaboration with partners is still making major improvements.

Finally, Richard looked to the future. He stated his vision of an SLA with 99.999998 % uptime for brightsolid clouds by 2020. An ambitious vision, which can only be realised through collaboration.

Neil Christie, Converged

Key message: Understanding customer needs and vendor collaboration is the way to solve infrastructure issues

Neil Christie from Converged was quick to address some of the issues and pitfalls that many customers face by hosting their infrastructure on premise, from a lack of redundancy and resilience to budgetary pressures.

As an alternative, he argued that forward-looking suppliers who understand their customer’s goals are able to provide scalable, flexible, cost effective and simple infrastructure solutions.

Neil was also able to produce an example of how they had used collaboration to benefit one of their customers. Centurion Group benefited from dark fibre connectivity supplied by CityFibre and a server migration to brightsolid’s Aberdeen data centre. Neil claimed that through this collaboration, Converged have forecast a five figure saving for their customer.

Austen Clark, ClarkIT

Key message: SMBs need to take their cyber security more seriously

Clark IT’s managing director, Austen Clark, talked of his experience with the small and midsize business market. He stated that cloud presented a huge opportunity to scale and compete with larger businesses. While it was a huge opportunity, Clark emphasised the need for trust to underpin a vendor’s relationship with a customer.

A serious concern of Austen’s is that small businesses are not investing enough in cyber security. Whether it be because they don’t have the budget, or because they don’t believe their data will be of interest to cyber criminals, many small businesses have been putting the issue to one side. Clark believes this has reached a tipping point, and that for these businesses “putting your head in the sand is no longer an option”.

Security is something we’re extremely passionate about hear at brightsolid. One thing we’re particularly excited about right now is Shielded VMs.

Gavin Henry, SureVoIP

Key message: Reliable infrastructure is essential

Gavin Henry talked of the need for enterprises to perform their due diligence when looking at infrastructure providers and suggested some useful and completely free tools to allow businesses to do so.

They include:

  • RIPEstat
  • Hurrican Electirc BGP Toolkit
  • PeeringDB
  • Ping/ Traceroute
  • Looking Glass

To find out more about our work in Aberdeen, read out about our Aberdeen Data centre here.