GCI Launches Microsoft Azure
5 July 2016
Targeted initially at the Partner Channel, GCI can now resell and support Azure virtual machines, storage and connectivity – either as discrete Azure services, or as a hybrid deployment with its own Accredited IaaS. This new initiative builds on product development undertaken by Outsourcery, whose assets were substantively acquired by GCI on the 16th June.
The leading Managed Service Provider is one of ten UK Microsoft Cloud Service Providers, in the UK who can currently create and manage Azure tenants for partners. Those partners can, in turn, manage and deploy Azure services for their end customers. Partners will benefit from one point of contact and a single contract – with support coming directly from GCI. Partners will also receive just one, consolidated and reconciled invoice to ensure that administration is also kept simple.
Adrian Thirkill, CEO at GCI commented, “Coming only two weeks after our acquisition of Outsourcery’s assets, it is fantastic to see the benefits of our integration starting to be delivered so quickly. The further strengthening of our cloud services, and the deepening of our strategic relationship with Microsoft, is great news. It reflects the underlying quality of the people and assets that are now being integrated into GCI.”
Scott Riley, Chief Strategy Officer at GCI added, “This is a nice addition to GCI’s portfolio. We are already a Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud and Communications, and we already have a substantial footprint in Skype for Business with 120,000 deployed seats. So our investment in our Microsoft partnership runs deep.
We believe that for all sorts of reasons (security, latency, redundancy or sovereignty) customers will invariably have blended infrastructure environment. That hybrid environment may be a mix of private and public cloud alongside on-premise infrastructure. If you properly compare apples with apples, GCI is in fact one of only three UK providers able to provide Azure as a true hybrid deployment. Most providers are in fact pure resellers of Azure, GCI offers more.”
Jon Seddon, Head of Product at GCI picks up the point, “Analysis from Synergy Research Group suggests that 2015 was the year in which cloud became mainstream. They suggest that the growth rate for Public Infrastructure and Platform as a Service (IaaS/ PaaS) services hit 51 per cent – that is great news for Microsoft Azure and GCI. But, it’s important too to recognise that the same report suggested that the private and hybrid market grew 45 per cent in the four quarters up to September 2015.
So, the key point here is that the ability to support public, private and hybrid cloud is really important as organisations of all sizes continue to transform their technology stacks. GCI, unlike most, covers all these bases and adds real value to the project planning and scoping phase via the scale and quality of its product and pre-sales technical consultancy.
Additionally, in GCI’s case, its value-add comes from the breadth of its portfolio. Being able to offer unified communications (Skype for Business and other VOIP propositions) for example alongside the Azure portfolio is a big differentiator. And, of course, the convenience of a channel portal and a single bill makes the services easier to consume and manage.
Finally, from a Channel Partner sales perspective, I also note the research completed by Brocade who surveyed more than 1,200 global Channel Partners. They concluded that channel players can “seize a competitive advantage” by strategically advising enterprises and organisations on hybrid cloud networks. So, whichever way you look at it the evidence seems to suggest GCI is in exactly the right place at the right time to help customers and partners capture the moment.”
James Chadwick, Director of Channel Sales at Microsoft commented, “I am delighted that GCI’s track record and expertise as a Cloud Service Provider is now helping to further broaden the range of partners and customers who can take full advantage of the exciting opportunities offered by Microsoft Azure.”
One of GCI’s Channel Partners, Paradise Computing, has been at the forefront of deploying the new proposition. Jonathan Berg, Managing Director at Paradise Computing concluded, “We have been an early adopter of the new GCI services for Microsoft Azure and our confidence in GCI’s technical team has been vindicated as they guided us through a proof of concept project to reproduce a core system we run for an existing customer. This technical support, working in tandem with the might of the Microsoft infrastructure solution and GCI’s billing clarity, provides us with a new and exciting income route for the future.”