Prog-It is now a presence in the Irish data centre sector, says MD Lillberg
Delivering enterprise data centre services is no mean feat, but if ever there was a place to use the old IT adage “eat your own dog food”, surely the data centre is it. In plain English, this means that tech service providers should deploy apps and services for clients on a system we ourselves use – and this is precisely Prog-It’s starting point.
Prog-It, which has two major sites in Finland and one in Sweden, has a long history as an operator, and of hosting our own software. The story of why we did this in the first place is because we ourselves needed data availability. As a great many of our clients are in the highly-regulated maritime and logistics sectors, we understood that customs authorities required us to be able to show exactly how their data is handled. Our solution, 20 years ago now, was to have our own datacentre where we hosted our own software-as-a-service.
Having to do things the hard way had one major advantage for Prog-It: it demonstrated the limitations of what else was on the market. When we went to Sweden to build another datacentre there, we realised there was one major problem with many of the hosting sites and hosting companies: support was not truly on-hand in the way it is really needed.
If you have a business critical database which you need to run 24/7, none of the companies we found provided a phone number you can call at any hour. Even if you pay a huge amount of money for an SLA and for maintenance no-one provided a telephone number.
We responded by making, inside our software-as-a-service (SaaS), a new service providing platform-as-a-service (PaaS). The idea was that every client should have 24/7 service and, crucially, a local contact serving them whenever needed – and this contact is not simply helpdesk; it is direct contact with a technical administrator, allowing users to ask complex questions, getting answers that matter.
We are still serving our Swedish clients as SaaS, so once they have our software their data is compliant and secure – they can even come to our data centre and look at what server is running their applications and data. Some users choose to retrieve their virtual machine to a USB device on order to run a local copy of some state of time. This means that we truly show clients how things are done, and we enable them to access their data in many ways that data centre operators usually do not.
Looking toward the Irish market, Prog-IT has launched a new site: PGNet.ie
“The idea was that every client should have 24/7 service and, crucially, a local contact serving them whenever needed – and this contact is not simply helpdesk; it is direct contact with a technical administrator, allowing users to ask complex questions, getting answers that matter”
The unique selling proposition is that we are offering three pre-made packages, though we are also able to provide bespoke and build-to-order options.
PGNet.ie follows from our Swedish site PGNet.se and is part of the Prog-It network. We are also Ripe members and Autonomous System (AS BGP4) compliant in our own right.
In the end it is all about confidence; it is not about the vendor fixing something that they have no control over, but the most important thing is that you have someone to contact who can take action and protect the data. What we are looking at is true 24/7 native support and maintenance operations.
What we are now doing in Ireland is making a call for action to companies to tell us if this kind of service needed in Ireland; asking if we should restrict this data centre for use only by our software clients.
Jani Lillberg is managing director of Prog-IT