DataHotel

02/04/2015  |  by Parallels
Categories:  Web Management,  Service Automation

DataHotel Logo

DataHotel Logo

Parallels virtualization and service process automation empower DataHotel to deliver customer-centric services at low cost

Tokyo-based DataHotel provides managed, cloud, data center, network, application platform, and Web integration services to more than 8,000 enterprises around Japan. Since its inception, the company has built a strong reputation for its flagship managed hosting services, which combine regular hosting and housing, server creation, and 24/7 server maintenance.

In recent years, DataHotel has built a strong track record in delivering highly affordable cloud, rental server, and other services. One recent product is Ex- Cloud, which delivers flexible scalability, stability, and strong cost performance.

Business Challenges

Hosting through physical servers is expensive and limits user numbers, so DataHotel set about building this key business area by creating self-managed hosting services that would constrain costs and be very scalable. However, the company needed different technologies to achieve this. Jun Oyaizu, manager of the Platform Service Group at DataHotel, says that, “We looked into blade and half servers to save space and accommodate more customers so we could boost revenues. But we gave up the search because we realized that running all this would be too complicated.”

The hardware life cycle was another key consideration for Mr. Oyaizu, as it is vital but time-consuming to shift data to newer servers. He says that, “If you’ve got 1,500 users on physical servers, we would tie up several engineers for six months or so to manually transition data to new equipment.”

Solutions

That’s when Mr. Oyaizu came across Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, an operat- ing system virtualization solution which eliminates the need to install numerous physical servers because it can create multiple virtual servers on just one system. Using this virtualization framework makes it possible to transfer “virtual equip- ment” to new environments, slashing engineer working hours and user costs.

DataHotel chose Parallels Virtuozzo Containers after evaluating the advantages of server virtualization.

But why Parallels?

“For a start,” says Mr. Oyaizu, “It’s not freeware or shareware, so it comes with guarantees if something goes wrong. On top of that, we can’t always resolve customer questions by ourselves, so it’s crucial for us to be able to check with the software developer so we can sort things out.”

Other key factors in DataHotel’s decision-making were the existence of Paral- lels Automation, the platform of choice for managing orders through billing for cloud and hosting services, and Parallels Plesk Panel, the world’s most trusted control panel solution. Mr. Oyaizu says that, “We realized that it would make the most sense to integrate within the Parallels solution stack to attain overall systems automation, not just virtualization.”

DataHotel did not have to spend much time on system verification, freeing it to focus on sorting out operational flows and exploring agreements and service plans. In 2008, the company started a low-cost hosting business that incorporated virtualization and automation technologies. The market reception was initially measured, but demand rocketed once the company began offering a package with a monthly hosting fee below 1,000 yen. DataHotel is attracting 100 new users every month for its hosting service.

Benefits

Delivering ultra-low operating costs through Parallels Automation is pivotal to DataHotel being able to offer such low monthly hosting plans. Mr. Oyaizu says that the lead time from service signup through launch is incredibly quick, add- ing that it would be impossible to provide ultra-low monthly pricing if they were managing orders with a standalone application. “With Parallels Automation, a single click replaces what would normally be a very labor-intensive process of having contract people process agreement information with special software and then request engineers to manually set up servers. Cancellations would similarly require a lot of work.”

An important advantage of completing a task with one click is that DataHotel can secure more business opportunities. “A good example would be where a customer has decided to start a movie campaign site,” says Mr. Oyaizu. “The customer might want the site up by the next day. We can get it done on our system in around 15 to 30 minutes, maybe faster.”

Minimizes engineer manpower

DataHotel has been able to significantly control engineering manpower require- ments because of Parallels Automation. Yoshinori Tabata, a leader in Data- Hotel’s Platform Service Group, notes that, “Even though we’ve continued to expand our customer base since launching our service in 2008, we haven’t had to add more engineers.”

Provides outstanding scalability and simplifies setting changes

Mr. Tabata says that, “We used to have to repeatedly transition data to large servers. Virtualization through Parallels Automation is much, much simpler and delivers two to five times greater scalability at the click of a button.”

Simple scalability under a virtualized environment translates into greater cus- tomer retention for DataHotel by eliminating hassles. With DataHotel greatly increasing the number of customers for its low-cost plans, Mr. Oyaizu says that, “We’re now looking to create higher-end plans that employ virtualization technology so we can further increase revenues.”

Virtualization and automation also contribute to marketing

Mr. Tabata says that, “Parallels Automation has been a boon for our market- ing people because virtualization and automation allows them to offer highly affordable hosting that would otherwise be beyond the budget reach of some customers. That means we can tap an additional source of revenue.”

Helps DataHotel reinforce its reputation for generous support

Mr. Oyaizu says that, “With Parallels Automation, we fly through the application process so we can allocate more resources to technical support. We wish to differentiate ourselves from rivals by providing generous, high-value-added support and services.” DataHotel is leveraging automation and virtualization to deploy new services that transform the industry landscape. Mr. Oyaizu says that, “One fruit of our focus on combining years of data center management expertise with the virtualization technologies of Parallels is our Ex-Cloud service. We commercialized this high quality offering in April 2013 at just one-quarter the cost of counterparts.”