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An energy service provider requires cloud flexibility and scalability

Customer Profile


Energie-Agentur.NRW is a service provider with broad expertise in the field of energy – from energy research, technical development, demonstration, market launch and energy consultancy to continuous vocational training. Many of its activities focus on energy efficiency and climate protection. In times of high energy prices it is more important than ever to forge ahead with the development of innovative energy technologies and to highlight from an impartial point of view how companies, local authorities and private individuals can handle energy more economically or make appropriate use of renewables.

The client and CloudSigma collaborated for the Enfolio project, portal software with several portlets that allows users to import and edit sheets and content of sheets (pictures and multimedia-elements). In this portal users can use a global repository of images to build new presentations. Users can tag elements with meta-information for example licences of pictures or catchwords.

In order to realize the project, Energie-Agentur.NRW harnessed the services of Brockhaus AG – an IT consulting company. Brockhaus AG has been advising companies in the digitization of their business processes for more than 30 years.

The Challenge

The project’s implementation has been in the works for several years when during the beginning stages of the setup, the client encountered a number of challenges. First, the IT consulting company realizing the project ran out of resources in its data centre. Energie-Agentur.NRW also faced issues with availability, the quality of services, the flexibility and ease of scalability its provider supplied. Ultimately, the company decided to change its provider.

The most important feature that the Enfolio project required was flexibility. As the project was at the beta stage and with only 200 platform users, the client was in need of a flexible cloud platform. The platform had to accommodate the resource capacity that the live version would eventually require.

Another problem that Energie-Agentur.NRW was facing was that the provider offered pre-defined server configurations. This restricted the constant development processes in terms of the software and its usability. The client planned to continuously add new features and changes to the project. Thus, it needed a provider that allowed to set the size of the resources independently of each other for cost and performance optimization reasons.

“What turned out to be a big challenge for us is that we needed support in order to offer development, testing and production environments. We wanted to offer a full-featured sheet-editor for the web (like Impress or PowerPoint for Fat Clients). Additionally, we wanted to offer a web solution without the need for additional software-components from the end-users. In order for things to run smoothly, we required acceptable response times.”

The Solution

When Energie-Agentur.NRW made the decision to switch providers, it went on a search for a more suitable cloud provider. It was quickly sold when it came across CloudSigma’s IaaS offering. What attracted the client to the offer was the high scalability, service flexibility and resource unbundled pricing in which all resources are independently billed on a 5-minute interval.

“Unlike other cloud providers we were considering, CloudSigma allowed us to define cores per CPU and GHz, size of RAM and HDD/SSD storage independently of each other. This enabled us to optimize the server configurations while only paying for what we needed. It directly matched dedicated private colocation environments. Thus, it made our IaaS expense comparable to the capital expenditure of our in-house solution, with all the additional benefits of the cloud.”Dirk Brockhaus, CEO at BROCKHAUS AG

In terms of service flexibility, CloudSigma was able to facilitate the growth that on-demand Energie-Agentur.NRW required and to optimize the cost/performance efficiency. We offered a transparent and flexible cloud pricing model. This included a rebate on long term subscriptions with ad-hoc usage available on a burst pricing model.

“By establishing a proper purchasing strategy with CloudSigma, we were able to achieve an optimal minimum cost level.”

Another benefit of CloudSigma’s solution is that it does not place any restrictions on the operating systems running on virtual server instances.

“As a customer, we enjoy full configuration and administrator/root access. CloudSigma’s cloud infrastructure guaranteed us maximum platform flexibility in terms of capacity configuration, freedom to configure additional services such as operating systems and applications without having to modify any of these to match CloudSigma’s platform.”

The Impact

CloudSigma’s platform proved to be an ideal solution for the client. It offers one of the fastest networking performances of all IaaS cloud providers on a consistent basis. The performance is strong both internally and when accessing externally, thanks to its strong peering relationships and its internal network configuration and management.

The issues Energie-Agentur.NRW had with reversibility were also solved as CloudSigma does not lock-in users’ data. Moreover, it could easily manage load balancing and deploy an array of front-end and back-end servers with load balancing, bring them online or shut them down whenever necessary throughout the day in order to manage both back-end or front-end server load.

Using CloudSigma enabled Energie-Agentur.NRW to greatly improve the service for its customers. It could set up resources much more quickly. The company’s clients have also greatly benefited from the improved delivery, performance and service flexibility.

“Since deploying on CloudSigma, our customers feel more confident in our capabilities. We’re now able to get them up and running much more efficiently. For instance, we are able to quickly respond and determine goals to meet our customers’ needs. That would never have been possible using our own data center services or another IaaS provider; it would have taken much more time. But, with CloudSigma, we were easily able to meet our customers’ demands and get them up and running in as little as one day.”Dirk Brockhaus, CEO at BROCKHAUS AG

With CloudSigma, the client has continuously received proper assistance in the constant development of the project, along with a stable environment for any additional changes.

“Overall, it’s a much faster process in CloudSigma’s IaaS environment. As we always say, time is money, so CloudSigma has been a real advantage for keeping us up and running.”

The Future

The future looks bright for Energie-Agentur.NRW. The company looks forward to finishing the beta stage of the project and continuing to expand its functionalities and features. With a reliable partner like CloudSigma, the client is excited for the road ahead. It has no doubt that the project will be successful. The perfect price-performance ratio, combined with the flexibility and scalability that CloudSigma provides is a winning collaboration that could lead to further partnerships.

“The CloudSigma environment gave us the foundation to meet our specific and constant requirements. it is providing us with the possibility and flexibility to grow when necessary. In the future, we’re looking forward to completing the beta-testing stage of our project. We are sure that the control we have and the abilities we are granted to combine pricing models will only help us further grow and sustain the overall requirements.”

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About Zhenya Mocheva

Zhenya is a Digital Marketing Expert at CloudSigma, focusing on brand strategy, social media marketing and digital marketing campaigns. She is passionate about the continuous innovation within the digital environment and the endless growth opportunities that inbound marketing brings.