STA Cargo, a logistics operator that provides transportation and safekeeping services, hosts its warehouse management system in CROC’s cloud. The cloud resources allow STA Cargo to avoid significant IT infrastructure investments during a period of rapid business growth and economic uncertainty.
STA Cargo has been in the market since 2011, with its business growing rapidly. Indeed, over the past five years the company has created a diversified portfolio of services for retailers, telecom companies, car and car component manufacturers, as well as customers from other industries while also increasing its workforce twelve-fold and opening offices in nine Russian cities.
One of STA Cargo’s flagship solutions is a proprietary automated warehouse management system, (WMS) Matrena. The system is designed to effectively manage supply chains and stock, keep accurate records of goods traffic, automate warehouse processes, exchange information with customers’ record-keeping systems in real time, etc., and is one of STA Cargo’s key competitive advantages.
The customer decided to host the business critical WMS Matrena system in CROC’s cloud in order to ensure the provision of a reliable and high service level with small one-off investments—an option that would not be possible if the customer were to opt to build its own IT infrastructure.
«As a modern, forward-looking company leveraging cutting-edge technologies, we are not only a consumer but also an active developer of business automation solutions. As a result, the cloud advantages were clear to us and we did not face a dilemma as to whether to build our own infrastructure or use a cloud. The answer was simple,» says Anton Dorofeev, Director General, STA Cargo.
«A new business is fast-paced and not always predictable and it is not always clear how much money should be invested in IT in the short-term and mid-term perspective. The cloud eliminates the risks of excessive or, on the contrary, insufficient infrastructure spending. If necessary, the cloud infrastructure allows us to quickly ramp up the number of WMS users in line with business growth and to reduce resource consumption during a recession without quality degradation—something which is extremely critical to cost optimization,» says Philipp Kashket, Head of IT Department, STA Cargo.
For the future, STA Cargo is considering the adoption of a hybrid approach whereby less critical services will be hosted using existing in-house resources for IT cost optimization, while critical services, including WMS, will still be hosted in CROC’s cloud.
«The key factor in selecting CROC’s Virtual Data Center was its reliability. A company’s investment in its own high-performance and fault-tolerant data center cannot always be justified due to high construction and operational costs. CROC’s cloud is based on the TIER III certified data center, protected from a wide range of threats and the ideal option for a fast growing business,» says Maxim Berezin, Head of CROC’s Virtual Data Center.
IT upgrade as an urgent problem
If, for example, a company purchased computing hardware in 2014, then it has to upgrade it not later than in 2019 and at much higher prices than five years ago. Infrastructure upgrade has become hardly affordable, which is why more and more companies opt for migrating their services to cloud. This way, they also solve infrastructure maintenance issues and optimize associated expenses (for example, on licenses). Moreover, customers do not always limit themselves to cloud services only, opting for a hybrid model: combination of on-premise, cloud, and HaaS in a commercial data center. Such an approach pays off in case of variable load services. Customer uses physical capacity, with cloud resources coming into play to cope with peak loads.
Transparent and predictable IT spending
What is good about cloud? You always use a pay-as-you-go model and know beforehand the cost of computing resources to be consumed depending on possible load on business systems. For example, if expecting the number of your online store visitors to double, you can allocate necessary resources in advance to ensure uninterrupted website operation. You can also shut down unused VMs at night, thus saving up to 50% of cloud service bills. We have such a case in our track record: a medical organization is thus reducing IT costs by managing them manually.
A per-hour cloud billing system allows a product manager to develop a clear financial plan for IT projects with by-project cost breakdown. Such an approach is used by a ticket, hotel, and tour booking portal.
Customers know that cloud is a secure environment, often much more secure than any local infrastructure. Large providers, which care about their reputation, do ensure that all advanced security tools run properly, all emergency processes are documented and drilled, and cloud platform security is regularly checked. For example, CROC Cloud recertification for compliance with PCI DSS includes biannual pentests, i.e. cloud platform hacking simulations.
Let me say a few words about infrastructure certification issues. As a rule, customers, which are hosting restricted access services, obtain regulatory compliance certificates all by themselves. However, we are ready to provide a document package on the cloud platform, so that you can dramatically accelerate certification.
One of the recent trends is growing interest in cloud services on the part of foreign companies launching business in Russia. This is confirmed by iKS-Consulting research stating that Russia is becoming a cloud service exporter. Foreign customers resort to Russian clouds for two reasons. First, cloud penetration in the Western countries is higher than in Russia. That is why foreign customers often favor a cloud model of resource consumption and use it more comprehensively: they transfer services and infrastructure of their entire multinational corporation to the cloud. Second, their decision to use a cloud is influenced by the Russian legislation, in particular Federal Law on Personal Data #152-FZ. IT system localization in Russia is usually part of new office establishment or M&A activities, when a foreign company inherits services hosted on sites outside Russia. Thus, SK Operations logistics company transferred its data to the cloud so that to further aggregate it on a single platform after the acquisition of another business.
Focus on core tasks
To avoid recruiting and keeping IT professionals on staff, many companies simply outsource everything related to their infrastructure support and development. This is particularly demanded by foreign companies with a head office comprising just a couple of dozen managers supervising the work of many external contractors. Outsourcing in the form of a managed service allows companies to get required expertise from the market without any incentive effort as in case of their own staff and focus on strategic tasks without wasting time on routine.