The Flemish Agency for Entrepreneurial Training, SYNTRA Flanders, has recently purchased a genuine hybrid cloud solution. IT partner Realdolmen is hosting all the core applications in the Rcloud data center. Thanks to the IaaS model, the amount the organization pays for the necessary infrastructure varies monthly according to SYNTRA Flanders' requirements. And the entire IT infrastructure is managed by Realdolmen. This allows SYNTRA Flanders' fairly small IT team to focus on core tasks and the needs of end users and the business. The mailboxes have been migrated to Office 365 and every user has been supplied with a Windows 10 laptop. Now, everyone has state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips and an infinitely large mailbox in the cloud. And single sign-on means that the username and password are now identical for computer, core applications and mailbox.
SYNTRA Flanders is an independent agency of the Flemish Government. Its aim is to promote and reinforce enterprise in the Flanders region through education, training and initiatives that encourage entrepreneurship. There are five accredited training centers for entrepreneurs and SMEs. Every year, more than 80,000 people attend the courses offered by the SYNTRA network.
The cloud has been a buzzword on the IT market for a number of years now.
The advantages of the cloud are obvious: using standard IT services from the cloud and paying only for what you actually use, without any upfront payments. The invoice is adjusted in line with an increase or decrease in requirements. Cloud providers provide the IT services with the necessary SLAs. They are responsible for ensuring that the IT service is available day in, day out and for compliance with the agreed SLAs. The lead time for changes in the cloud is significantly shorter because there are no installations and no materials have to be ordered. As a business, you can therefore respond more quickly to changing business requirements.
Emmanuel Cambron, ICT manager at SYNTRA Flanders, saw the benefits of the cloud straightaway: thanks to the hybrid cloud solution, his team no longer have to spend time setting up, managing and regularly replacing the ICT infrastructure. They are freed up to focus on core tasks and the requirements of end users and the business.
How do you migrate to the cloud?
Migrating to the cloud is a complex process.
Do you opt for the public cloud or a private cloud? Does the data have to stay in Belgium for legal reasons or could it also be stored abroad? Do you choose an IaaS, PaaS or SaaS model? All crucial questions that can have a major impact on your organization.
To prepare for its migration to the cloud, SYNTRA Flanders therefore approached Realdolmen for advice. An analysis of SYNTRA Flanders' situation made it clear that a straightforward cloud solution would not be adequate for the organization's specific requirements and that a hybrid cloud would combine the best aspects of all the solutions.
All SYNTRA Flanders' core applications are being hosted in Realdolmen's RCloud data center in Belgium, in an IaaS model. To take the pressure off SYNTRA's IT managers, Realdolmen is also responsible for day-to-day management of the entire ICT infrastructure. The email platform has been migrated to Office 365, an SaaS model offered by Microsoft.
The location of the various IT services now is transparent to all end users. Moreover, different usernames and passwords are no longer required for the different applications: thanks to Microsoft Active Directory Federation services, users can now log into SYNTRA Flanders' ICT services through a single sign-on.
Finally, a standard Windows 10 laptop for every user means that all employees have access to modern technology with the maximum potential, also mobile - 'anywhere on any device'.
And, last but not least, the hybrid solution is highly cost-effective, because SYNTRA Flanders only pays for what it actually uses.
Collaboration with added value
"In this project, Realdolmen acted as a single source supplier. They gave us excellent advice on how to migrate to the cloud from the outset.
We can rely on Realdolmen for both local hosting of our core applications and public hosting of our mailboxes, and they take the pressure off us by managing these environments on our behalf on a day-to-day basis. They were responsible for migration to these environments as well as the integration of authentication, so our end users can see in a clear and transparent way who is offering which service. Migration to the cloud involves a wide range of skills, and Realdolmen was more than a match for the challenge," says Emmanuel Cambron.