Tuesday, 07 September 2021 10:25

Macquarie Telecom assists Opal Group with their cloud transition


Telecommunications company Macquarie Telecom has helped renewable packaging company Opal Group with an urgent cloud transition, following its previous provider Fujitsu’s advice that it would stop supporting the company’s storage network.

Opal is poised to benefit from Macquarie’s recent Azure Expert MSP status awarded by Microsoft as the transition is now complete and the partnership is established.

On that, Opal was advised that part of the business had previously suffered from major outage issues in its data centre provider, and was informed that it incurred a substandard storage area network (SAN) and disaster recovery (DR) posture, which, if left unattended, risked its ability to manufacture and deliver products to customers.

These include some of Australia’s largest retail and fast-moving consumer goods (FCMG) companies, which provide essential goods and services to often lockdown-stricken communities. The company had targeted it for early replacement but was given a further post-acquisition issue with the late advice on storage support.

“We essentially had three months to tender, prepare and contract, and three months to transition over the Christmas period,” explains Opal Group chief information officer Phil Boon.

“This was petabytes of data, 85 virtual machines, and it was all tied to our most critical workloads including SAP financial systems and operational applications,” Boon recalls.

“Macquarie and Azure combination stood out. We were confident in their partnership and the dual accountability that came with it, their sensible proposal, commercial flexibility, and their ability to get the job done under a tight deadline,” Boon says.

The Macquarie and Azure team worked closely with Phil Boon’s team, as well as manufacturing technology partner Realtek which helped manage SAP applications to transition services and workloads into Macquarie’s cloud environment.

This was stored within its sovereign Data Centre Campus, and delivered on time and on budget.

Azure Expert roadmap access
Building on the transition and a better cloud environment, Opal is eyeing how it can leverage Macquarie and Azure’s ecosystem to focus more on applications and how they can improve their business processes.

This ties in perfectly with Macquarie’s recent Azure Expert MSP status, which gives customers like Opal greater access to Azure’s roadmap.

“The Macquarie and Microsoft partnership was already a huge drawcard,” adds Boon. “We’ve got a direct line to Azure, to the very coders putting together the next generation of services. This will positively impact our business as we continue to grow.”

Macquarie is among the 100 organisations in the world that hold this accreditation. The credential required a huge four-month effort of more than 1,000 hours from 40 members of Macquarie’s team across its cloud services, telecom, data centres and government divisions.

“We bring the biggest benefits to our customers, and it would be hard to find a better example of that anywhere in the world than Macquarie and Microsoft,” says Macquarie Telecom group executive Luke Clifton.

“This is about trust, collaboration, and giving great service to companies left out in the cold by providers more interested in underservicing and overcharging. We are trusted by Microsoft and customers because we subscribe to the opposite.”

Macquarie customer ITW construction’s segment IT director Scott Lancaster commends the Expert MSP status: “We value simplicity, service and strong relationships and Macquarie has these in spades.

“In cloud we often see attempts to be ‘all things to all people’, i.e., providers talking up connections to all the major cloud providers. What Macquarie has with Azure is a far deeper relationship, which clearly shows us the business outcomes they can deliver for us.”

“Macquarie Telecom was able to demonstrate its compliance with the Azure Expert MSP program successfully,” says Information Security Systems International (ISSI) cloud consultant Amar Gutta. ISSI is the third-party auditor responsible for validating the accreditation.

“In addition, Macquarie Telecom's Azure Managed Services portfolio is powered by a wide spectrum of innovative automation, tooling and industry assets, thus rendering the ability to deliver significant thought leadership and operational efficiencies for customers in Azure Managed Services,” Gutta adds.

“Only the most high-fidelity cloud managed service providers are awarded the Azure Expert MSP badge, intended to give customers confidence when selecting a partner to help them meet their digital transformation goals,” notes a Microsoft spokesperson.

Headquartered in Melbourne, The Opal Group, owned by Nippon Paper Group, has more than 4,500 staff and 80 sites across Australia and New Zealand. The company specialises in sustainable fibre packaging and paper solutions, and exports Australian-made products to 70 countries across the world. The current business was born out of a $1.72 billion merger.

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