ACT invests in a cloud-based future

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[January 26th, 2016] Originally published by the Royal Gazette (link)

So certain is Applied Computer Technologies that cloud computing is the future, it has invested close to a million dollars and spent a year creating and testing a fully structured cloud service that is hosted in Bermuda.

Dave Bart - CEO ACT

Cloud computing is the future: David Bart, chief executive officer of Applied Computer Technologies, is confident that Bermuda’s largest IT company has brought something unique to Bermuda with its ACT CloudOne platform

There are clear advantages to such a homogeneous solution. For instance, any business that wants to avail itself to the benefits and efficiencies that come with cloud computing, while also keeping its data firmly located offshore, in Bermuda, can do so with the ACT CloudOne platform.

“The cloud is on the minds of clients today,” said Dave Bart, chief executive officer of ACT. Cloud computing has recorded stellar growth in recent years, and it is estimated the global market will be worth $67 billion by 2018, according to a Forbes report.

Mr Bart sees cloud computing as a way ahead for ACT. “It is our future,” he said.

The company is Bermuda’s largest information technology company, with about 50 employees. It provides IT support focused on Microsoft, networking, and infrastructure solutions.

However, preparing for a move into cloud computing was the company’s primary focus during the past year, resulting in this month’s launch of ACT CloudOne.

The company, which has offices in Par-la-Ville Road, harnessed the power of global computing heavyweight Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to assist in constructing its cloud platform.

CloudOne is based on HPE’s Helion Cloud system and uses OpenStack software, which grew from a development project involving space agency Nasa.

While there are other firms offering cloud solutions in Bermuda, Mr Bart is confident that none can match ACT CloudOne.

Explaining why, he said the involvement of HPE was a big selling point. That relationship has been built on a professional association with the computing giant that spans more than 30 years.

ACT was founded in 1982 and during its first 20 years was primarily a reseller of Compaq and Hewlett Packard computers. Then, in the early 2000s, it moved into systems integration with service and engineering departments. Today, it offers a wide variety of professional managed and maintenance services, and is one of largest partners of HPE in the Caribbean region.

The company has not rushed to market with its cloud offering. Instead, it has spent a year testing and developing its platform, alongside HPE. Mr Bart said that was to ensure it went to market without any problems. He estimates the dollar value of the investment is “approaching seven figures”.

“What we are bringing to Bermuda is unique,” he said.

Mr Bart believes some clients are likely to run part of their business on the cloud, while keeping core areas in-house.

“There are clients who have their own internal clouds. They can leverage our cloud to offer services to customers.”

Having a cloud hosted in Bermuda is another major selling point, according to Mr Bart. Unlike providers that resell third-party cloud solutions based in other jurisdictions, CloudOne is owned by ACT and is located on the island. Furthermore, it has been designed specifically for the Bermuda market.

A secondary site is being completed in Canada, which will offer an extra level of disaster recovery and back-up security.

The company’s clients range from major insurance and reinsurance firms to small and medium-sized companies and start-ups.

“Our platform has been structured to offer a number of different services including a complete end-to-end solution for customers who do not want to either own or host their own IT infrastructure,” said Mr Bart.

“We have the capability to offer test and development services for customers who need periodic access to infrastructure to test or develop their applications.”

He said the cloud platform can be customised to meet the exact needs of clients.

“We believe we have the best cloud environment in Bermuda,” he added.