The Italian ISP Aruba is not the same as the Wi-Fi networking company also called Aruba, but it might find some confusion when it steps outside its home country. The two are unrelated.
The Italian Aruba is a service provider founded in 1994 by the family of Stefano Cecconi, which still lives in the Italian capital. In 1996, it started offering services as an Internet Service Provider under the brand Technet.it, which existed until 2000. At the turn of the millennium, the company expanded its offering to include dial-up Internet, domain name registration, web hosting and email accounts under the new name – Aruba.it.
In 2003, Aruba opened its first data centre in Arezzo. Shortly after, the company started its European conquest, first entering the Czech and Slovak markets, then Polish and Hungarian.
Today, it has 450 employees managing two million domains and over a million active websites. Aruba’s latest products include certified email, e-commerce solutions and most importantly, cloud services. Its clients range from the Italian Chamber of Deputies and Ministry of Defence to famous brands such as Ducati Motors and Brembo.
Aruba’s latest weapon in the fight for European market is a new data centre in Arezzo, with 5,000 m2 data rooms and over 40,000 servers to host its cloud services. All systems are redundant, including power supply, cooling and networking.
To enable the cloud, Aruba relies on Dell’s PowerEdge R610 and R620 systems and EqualLogic storage. The core networking is managed by the Cisco Nexus 7000. For virtualisation, Aruba has long been a reference site for the Microsoft hypervisor Hyper-V, but in Arezzo is also using the market-leading competitor, VMware.
The Cecconi family has also launched another data centre in the Czech Republic and is preparing to invade UK and other European countries.
“In the next 6-8 months, our focus is on internationalisation of the supply of cloud computing in the four major European countries: France, England, Germany and Spain,” Stephen Sordi, marketing manager at Aruba, told us. The difference between the proposals from Aruba and its competitors is it can offer hosting services in countries where data originates, to prevent it travelling across borders.
Of course, there are other pan-European cloud providers. But Aruba believes it is necessary to keep the data in the relevant markets. This is important not only because of the issues of IP location and Google indexing, but also because for many, the cloud remains an intimidating concept and Aruba clients feel more comfortable when they don’t have to think about foreign laws governing cloud deployment.
Recently, Aruba has partnered with Equinix in France, to create a new ad-hoc company. The first data centre born in this partnership has been active since the end of October 2012. It will be followed by a data centre in London, due to be launched in December, and one in Germany, opening its doors by the end of January 2013. The data centre being built in Spain will be completed later in 2013.
The model remains the same: Aruba creates local companies under the Aruba Cloud brand, and employs local personnel for first and second level (as well as commercial) support. The customer can activate infrastructure in other European countries and even the Public Cloud services.
Speaking about Italy, Sordi identifies critical issues, but also latent potential: “Italy is not a mature IT market, but thousands of very small businesses with limited resources can only derive benefits from the cloud, because their risks are limited. Using the cloud reduces complexity (with Aruba managing the infrastructure) and stress.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to explain to SMBs the growth potential hidden in virtualised solutions and the cloud.” As for large-scale enterprises, the message has already hit home – big Italian companies today represent around 70 percent of the cloud consumers.
“All European countries have their own quirks and differences. In England, for example, SaaS services and desktop virtualisation are already at an advanced stage,” continues Sordi.
“It’s true that borders no longer exist, but there are different laws on how the data can travel, or common problems interpreted differently. Just think about the certified email rules, which apply only to Italy,” he adds.
We asked Sordi about his vision for the future: “We are looking at the primordial soup with the earliest forms of life, but this soup is set to become an unstoppable tidal wave. In about 5-10 years, the cloud will be literally everywhere.” Because of this, Aruba is considering expansion into emerging markets. Especially in South America, where Brazil is the driving force.
For the next few years, the eyes of the world will be on Brazil, thanks to the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup. It can be compared to China and India, as a peaceful, democratic country surrounded by interesting neighbours. Not only that, South America is promising for Aruba on a cultural level, because of historic ties and many social similarities. “Data centres consume resources and energy, and Brazil is a real giant from the point of view of energy resources.”
Euro Story: Each week, we publish a selected story from across NetMediaEurope’s network of European sites. This week’s story by Mario De Ascentiis is from TechWeekEurope Italy. It was translated and localised by Max Smolaks.
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