Pronto powers up performance and trust with Harbour IT

Case Studies 31st October, 2020

Pronto Cloud Case Study Image

Pronto knows that performance counts for customers – down to the millisecond. The Australian developer of award-winning business management and analytics solutions provides its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software – Pronto Xi – to over 1,800 customers in Australia and abroad. Even extremely brief system outages can mean a major hit to customers’ ability to operate and their revenue.

Seeking to provide the best service possible to its customers, Pronto transitioned its core product, Pronto Xi, to the cloud more than 15 years ago before it became popular. Its infrastructure and cloud division, run by Chris Dickinson, General Manager of Pronto Cloud, has relied on several data centres both in Australia and abroad to host and reliably deliver the application to its customers.

“For Pronto, availability is number one. You don’t get forgiven for two minutes’ worth of downtime. No one wants to say ‘Sorry, I can’t sell you that right now because our system is down’,” says Dickinson. “That could mean a huge revenue loss for our customers.”

Performance and availability above everything

Despite using very reputable storage solutions, Pronto reached a point where system availability was lagging. Inline and firmware upgrades were falling over and major outages were too common. With this in mind, Pronto undertook a transformation to improve the performance of the storage layer of its infrastructure, in partnership with Harbour IT.

After looking around for potential partners and solutions, Harbour IT presented Pure Storage. After a proof of concept that narrowed the solution down to a particular stack, Pronto was ready to commit. Dickinson explains that Pronto needed partners who truly understood the risks of not having fully reliable uptime.

“Harbour IT just showed an ability to understand our needs and articulate that back to us, as did Pure Storage, promising to meet our SLAs of 99.99 percent uptime. We put in a couple of units and it didn’t take long to gain our confidence – the results were almost instantaneous.”

Better performance, stronger trust, less cost to Pronto – and the environment

Since implementing Pure Storage, system performance has increased even as Pronto also began offering an increased level of encryption to customers. The system used to respond in around 60 milliseconds without encryption switched of, or 80-90 seconds if it was. Today, this number has dropped to around 0.23 milliseconds with encryption switched on in the storage layer.

“Having the encryption switched on for all of our storage is very important as it ties in with our key strategic pillar around trust. Previously we couldn’t switch that on in the storage layer because it had a performance impact,” says Dickinson.

Pronto has also experienced a significant reduction in data centre costs. While the previous storage solution involved close to thirty units and took up around three to four storage racks, the new solution occupies six units and around three quarters of a rack. This reduction in footprint also came with a significant reduction of around two thirds in the business’s energy costs and carbon footprint relating to its storage.

“By compressing our overall footprint, we’ve achieved massive savings – around $3,000 a month – which is very beneficial. We’ve got fewer units to power and cool and the units themselves are far more energy efficient. That’s great for cost and for the environment.”

Beyond the reliability of its application performance, Pronto is finding that the implementation of Pure Storage has made an enormous difference by allowing his team to focus their attention on solving other problems.

“Now we know that when we have a problem, we don’t even need to look at the storage and so we can focus our attention quickly. That means that we can turn around issues for our customers more rapidly.”

An automatic choice

In the wake of the storage transformation, Pronto was looking to automate how it establishes and builds ERP environments for customers, increasing its ability to deliver solutions for customers without growing its human resources.  Harbour IT understood this and it didn’t take long for Pronto to decide to push ahead with the implementation.

“We needed more system automation to enable us to set up customers faster, more efficiently and more cost effectively,” says Dickinson.

Dickinson says his biggest learning from these transformations has been the importance of a strong cultural alignment with tech vendors and the power of gaining a business partnership over a transactional relationship.

“Investigating and evaluating new technology is distracting and time-consuming because you need to choose wisely. A good trusted vendor and partner like Harbour IT and Pure Storage help me in my decision-making and buying process by taking away that pain. We trusted Harbour IT very quickly because we could tell they’re smart about what they sell and that has really strengthened our partnership. Our relationship with them is invaluable.” 

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