Integr8 IT Consulting has partnered with Softline Accpac, a Softline company and member of Sage Group to provide a Citrix-based security solution for Accpac Online, Softline Accpac’s recently launched cloud-based service offering.
Keith Fenner, vice-president, sales at Softline Accpac says the collaboration with Integr8 IT will assist Softline Accpac to offer customers more freedom of choice when it comes to the management of their data and business applications. “This is a significant offering as it provides online access to our end-to-end business management applications and addresses every aspect of a company's business management needs. Customers ultimately select what data is critical and are thus able to make informed business decisions cost effectively.”
Bennie Strydom, sales director at the Integr8 Group says that Softline Accpac’s cloud offering is unique within the ERP space. “Softline Accpac can now deploy ERP solutions to customers without the huge outlay in CAPEX (capital expenditure) and also will shorten sales cycles.” He adds that the offering can be deployed to all size businesses due to lower OPEX (operational expenditure) costs and that all backup and disaster recovery functionality and infrastructure support is taken care of as a result of its hosted set-up.
The enterprise-wide project featured the integration of several key technologies including Active Directory 2008, Citrix Secure Gateway Server and Citrix XenServer Enterprise Server on a Server 2008 R2. Platform. Strydom says the entire technology environment runs off a platform comprising proven technology and makes use of a breed of globally recognised high level services, which allows multiple virtual machines to run on a single server.
”The virtual machines are entirely isolated from each other, but allow interaction from an Active Directory and application platform. Performing Proof of Concept (POC) and demonstrations are done with ease as is deployment anytime, anywhere over the Internet,” says Strydom. He says new avenues into the retail sector are also a reality due to the fact that the solution can be offered as a hosted onsite service.
Security is an understandable concern in a hosted environment. Integr8 IT devised the Citrix –based solution to take care of all the security aspects, ease of use and policy deployment throughout the environment.
“We also deployed Citrix Secure Access Gateway and Xen Enterprise server. Citrix XenServer is an enterprise-ready, cloud-proven platform solution that contains all the capabilities required to create and manage a virtual infrastructure. It was our first choice purely for the integration of Secure Gateway server. Citrix Secure Access Gateway allowed us to securely publish the Softline Accpac application and Workflow security online,” Strydom explains.
The combination of technologies and level of platform support has resulted in a substantial advantage for Softline Accpac and its SaaS offering.
Fenner agrees. “We wanted our customers to have secure remote access, anywhere at any time. An example is the granular application-level control. We are keeping the footprint low, providing Accpac administrators with a single point to manage the server farm and applications based on both user identity and the endpoint device. This provides customers with better application security, data protection and compliance management.”
Robert Sussman, joint CEO at the Integr8 Group, believes the large-scale project and technology infrastructure integration investment by Softline Accpac has made a difference to the customer, specifically in terms of its ability to service an expanding customer base.
“Our objective with this project and many like it, from a virtual service and cloud-based application management point of view, is to empower our customers and present a far more effective means of control over technical environments. With this implementation and service, our customers can expand the SaaS offering to multiple customers with ease of deployment and access to their online hosted service,” Sussman says.
Additional benefits of the SaaS offering include secure application delivery to Softline Accpac and its customers and consolidated server workloads. “This produces savings in power, cooling, and management costs, an increased ability to adapt to ever-changing IT environments and optimised use of existing hardware,” concludes Strydom.