We've tried several other data centres over the past few years and, although some were cheaper than Melbourne, they all failed to deliver the quality of service we required.
So can you explain that in English for me?
Confluence is an enterprise wiki. Just like Wikipedia.org, which is based on MediaWiki, Confluence makes it easy for users to create, edit and discuss pages. However, it provides a much wider range of enterprise features than MediaWiki such as MS Office integration and extensive vendor support.
The main purpose of a wiki is to enable teams to collaborate more easily and effectively. They provide a “single source of truth” whereby there is only one copy of the information, centrally stored on the wiki, rather than the usual mess of emailed documents or chaotic shared drives. And because wikis are so flexible, they can be used for forums, documentation, intranets, websites, knowledge bases and lots more.
JIRA is an enterprise issue tracker – essentially a tool for keeping track of tasks, bugs, or any other granular items that need to be assigned to someone and then monitored through to completion.
Now what services therefore do you get from Melbourne?
By outsourcing data centre management to Melbourne, we’ve been able to focus on what we’re good at and at the same time provide a much better service to customers. Melbourne also provide cost savings – for example, managed backups and transit routing.
Okay, so would you say that things would be rather more difficult without Melbourne?
Yes. We’ve tried several other data centres over the past few years and, although some were cheaper than Melbourne, they all failed to deliver the quality of service we required.
So, Huw, you were saying that you looked at quite a few companies when you were looking around to change. What were the main factors? Was it price? Was it service, or was it the attitude, was it the ethos? What was the thing that led you?
It was all those factors – price, service, attitude, culture. And Melbourne met all our requirements. We required a company that first and foremost knew how to run a data centre. Other companies couldn’t even get the basics right – like having a clean environment (to prolong server lifespan) and providing advance warning of site maintenance.
The quality of data centre was a huge factor. Most other companies treat their data centre like a warehouse for servers. Melbourne’s facility is literally shiny – it shows extreme attention to detail and everything is very well organised.
We also required a company that understood one very simple concept: The customer matters! It’s amazing how many of your competitors can’t get their head around this simple rule of business. Melbourne have always taken time to make sure our needs are met and our questions answered, without trying to push us in to buying things we don’t need.
Finally, we wanted a company that was a close cultural match with Adaptavist – easy going and laid-back on the surface, but highly skilled and professional underneath. While Melbourne aren’t the cheapest supplier, the fact that they don’t actively screw up our business (like all the other suppliers we’ve tried in the past) more than justifies the extra cost. We feel like Melbourne are part of our team, dedicated to delivering great service to us and our customers.
And have you been proved right?
Yes, many times over. Everything just works. It’s saved us so much time and effort that we can’t imagine going back to a normal facility. All our requests have been dealt with promptly, efficiently and in a friendly manner. This is a stark contrast to all the hosting facilities we’ve used in the past.
Do they ever phone you up and try and sell you something?
No, Melbourne wait until we come and ask for something. Even then they don’t do pushy sales – they simply provide the advice and information we require to help us determine which solution is best for our needs. It’s hassle free and stress free. Melbourne do contact us occasionally, but only to check if everything is alright – there’s never a hint of sales call.
When you do have to phone up, do you just talk to anybody or is there one person? And also if you have a problem, do people say “Oh, it’s nothing to do with me” or how does it work.
We’ve got a couple of account managers that we usually speak to regarding non-technical business requirements. We present our needs and they take responsibility for them and make sure they are dealt with (and they always get the job done).
What about the speed of response? Is it a couple of days or something?
The speed of response is very, very good. Every problem we’ve had so far has been resolved within the day, be it either a billing issue, or a hardware, or an infrastructure issue. As soon as a problem has been raised it’s dealt with efficiently and quickly. It’s a true “fire and forget” service – we don’t have to waste time chasing Melbourne for a response because we know they’ll always get back to us.
You mentioned it before but we’ll talk about it again. Melbourne of course have their own data centres. Is that something that’s important to you?
Yes, it’s vitally important. All the companies we’ve used in the past rent space in a data center so there’s no overarching quality control. With Melbourne everything works as a whole and to the same high level of quality.
One of the most important factors here is that there’s no buck-passing. If there is a problem, Melbourne are the only supplier we need to speak to. With other companies we’ve ended up being passed from pillar to post trying to get resolution on problems – that scenario simply doesn’t exist with Melbourne. It’s a great time saver for us and also gives us a high degree of peace of mind.
We like the fact that Melbourne are also a privately owned company – they don’t have to divert profits in to shareholders pockets and instead re-invest it in the business. And it shows with much higher quality of service and long term sustainability.
What about network speeds and what about outages? Have you ever had any issues?
We’ve never had unexpected outages with Melbourne. We always receive plenty of notification of planned maintenance and this enables us to mitigate any problems caused by small outages during such work. With previous companies, we were often told of planned maintenance only after an outage had occurred during the maintenance!
We’ve been able to provide a much better service to our customers because there are no unexpected “surprises”. Our customers have become much more confident in our ability to host their servers as a result – and that drives more sales.
So what would you say, Huw, to other companies who are looking around, looking for hosting, you know, scanning the market?
Do it. Do it now. You’ll kick yourself for not doing it sooner – we did. The slightly higher costs are more than outweighed by the benefits of hosting with Melbourne. They provide better service than other companies that charge twice as much.