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Claremont is a leading Oracle Managed Services Provider (MSP). Founded in 2004, it serves customers in the UK and beyond, offering managed services, cloud hosting and specialist Oracle consulting, including for Oracle E-Business Suite, Oracle Cloud Applications and Oracle software.

Claremont specializes in Oracle’s back-office systems, including HR, Finance and Procurement systems for large clients in the public and private sector.

The company has plans for 15% annual revenue growth over the next few years and wants to increase its margins even further. Managed Services represents half of its revenues, with plans to increase that to 75%. Hosting now plays an essential part in Claremont’s goals, having dedicated a whole business line separate to its managed services operation.

Claremont provides hosting and MSP services but relies on third-party providers to provide the back-end infrastructure. It adds value through its Oracle expertise, client-focused ITIL-based service processes, and firm support.

“THEY DESIGNED NOT JUST THE TECHNICAL SOLUTION, BUT ALSO DESIGNED THE SERVICE. That meant by the time we signed the contract; we understood exactly how everything was going to work and had a lot of confidence in the people that we would be working with.”
Jonathan Stuart, Delivery Director, Claremont

Business Challenges

As a company mainly serving large corporate clients, Claremont faces constant pressure to meet strict operational requirements quickly and efficiently. Delivery Director Jonathan Stuart originally joined the company to establish and grow its managed services business and as the hosting part of its operation grew, he became responsible for taking this side of the business to the same levels of success.

This means guaranteeing service levels that fit customers’ ever-evolving needs. “Relying on a single provider for that agility risks creating service bottlenecks for Claremont’s clients,” Stuart explains.

He needed to be able to call on another provider in addition to Claremont’s incumbent infrastructure company to help the hosting operation stay agile and able to service the needs of a rapidly growing client base.

The company needed to improve the underlying infrastructure supporting its cloud hosting operation. In particular, it wanted backup services that were separate from its incumbent IT service provider to enhance resilience.

“As part of our expansion and growth, we need to make sure that we’ve got that business continuity and resilience nailed down,” he says. “High service levels, responsiveness and agility are all part of that.” Claremont had asked its incumbent provider to create a backup solution for its cloud-based hosting service, but it was unable to create one that supported Claremont’s business needs.

Claremont wanted a leased disk arrangement that would provide simple, secure, redundant disk storage. This arrangement would provide the flexibility it needed to back up its cloud hosting data at a price point that made sense for its business.

“As part of our expansion and growth, we need to make sure that we’ve got that business continuity and resilience nailed down. High service levels, responsiveness and agility are all part of that.”

The Solution

When Claremont realized that it needed to approach another provider for its backup solution, it contacted Aptum due to its customer service and proven expertise in delivering and managing IT infrastructure from its data center locations in the UK.

The relationship between Claremont and Aptum’s team was so strong, that Aptum was happy to share considerable risk on the project. Our Engineer and Professional Services teams conducted extensive design work on both the backup and the cloud hosting beginning in February 2019, before even signing a contract.

Aptum provided a backup solution that Claremont’s incumbent provider could not - an array of leased disks. These sit in a shared storage area network connected to an Oracle Backup Server for Claremont at Aptum’s London data center in a fiber channel storage area network.

Aptum provides managed infrastructure for Claremont at its Portsmouth data center, which hosts three Oracle virtual machine servers managed by a fourth Oracle VM Management Server.

Stuart recalls that the SolidFire storage was crucial to the success of the contract. Whereas the company just needed a large collection of leased disks for its backup system, it had more nuanced needs for its critical cloud hosting storage. Leased disks didn’t provide the flexibility that they needed to support a cloud-based service that scales storage to suit changing customer needs.

The cloud hosting assets are connected via an internal 10Gb fiber network for maximum performance. Aptum also connects the Portsmouth and London sites via its own MPLS-based redundant core routing network.

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Business Benefits

  • Personalized Service

“The quality of service has always been there,” he says. “The local team seems to have just the right amount of freedom to give us what we need, how we need it. It also clearly wants to deliver a high level of quality service for us.”

Without its technology infrastructure, Lovespace wouldn’t be in business. As such, the back-up and disaster recovery services provided by Aptum are essential to its continued operations.

Continuity is key for Aptum, which quickly brought in a technical account manager and a customer experience manager to ensure that it could handle all of Claremont’s needs. It did this early in the project to build relationships during the pre-sales period and ensure that Claremont felt looked after from the beginning. This made things smoother by the time the companies reached the service delivery phase.

Under Aptum’s model, a service manager handles everyday services, ensuring that Claremont gets fast, consistent responses to its service requests.

  • Flexible Commercial Relationships

“It created commercial solutions that worked for me, and that continued beyond the first contract being signed. That’s the way I like to do business, and for me that’s a sign of a real partnership.”

Commercial flexibility was a crucial component of the Aptum-Claremont relationship. Claremont did not have a customer primed for migration to the new system during the cloud hosting deployment phase, but it still wanted to press ahead with the solution. Aptum created a flexible pricing model to reflect the extra time that Claremont needed to ready its first customer for migration.

Aptum demonstrated this long-term commitment further by referring new business to Claremont when signing clients of its own. This partnership-based approach benefits both companies in the long term.

  • Technical Flexibility

“The experience is that things just work. When there’s something to be done, it’s done quickly, and it’s done right first time. Don’t underestimate the number of organizations out there that just miss the mark.”

Oracle’s licensing requirements around virtual machines are especially complex, with per-core pricing that varies across different processor architectures.

Claremont’s cloud hosted at Aptum ensures Oracle license compliance while minimizing license costs for customers.

  • Lower Risk Through Higher Resiliance

“We’re now operating out of four different locations, which means customers’ systems are distributed in multiple data centers across two different partners. That’s an incredibly powerful proposition for our clients.”

With Aptum’s infrastructure now powering both cloud hosting and backup services for Claremont, Stuart has peace of mind. He knows that his solution extends beyond mere network connections and storage to cover the human element. He has service he is happy with from a team that he is confident in.

With the support of Aptum, Claremont can take its hosting business to the next level of success.

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