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Altron Karabina understands that success in the cloud requires more than a one-and-done approach. Using CloudCheckr helps Altron Karabina’s customers get control of cloud costs, security, and compliance—and helps Altron Karabina build long-term customer relationships.
Altron Karabina was looking for tools to support customers on their entire cloud journey, from the cloud migration through continual security, compliance, and cost optimization. It partnered with CloudCheckr and white labels the CloudCheckr platform to give customers otherwise inaccessible analytics on costs, security, and compliance. Licensing CloudCheckr’s platform has given Altron Karabina a competitive advantage and helps it build long-term customer relationships based on an ability to help customers not just move to the cloud but understand and optimize their entire cloud infrastructure.
South Africa-based Altron Karabina helps customers modernize their businesses with complete digital transformations, which includes moving infrastructure to the cloud as well as building robust digital workplaces, managing and learning from corporate data, and using technology to improve customer engagement. The company’s philosophy and unique selling point in the South African market is a commitment to looking at the long-term rather than viewing cloud transitions as a project to open and close.
According to Corne Du Preez, Technical Solution Professional for Cloud Infrastructure at Altron Karabina, it’s all about helping and assisting with the entire journey to the cloud. Integrating a cloud monitoring solution into Altron Karabina’s offering made sense as a way to support this philosophy.
“I think the main thing we are trying to avoid for customers is that bill shock,” Du Preez says.
After looking at several cloud monitoring options, Altron Karabina settled on CloudCheckr for several reasons. First, the ability to partner with CloudCheckr and white label the product to its customers was key. Second, CloudCheckr was the only option that offered comprehensive monitoring.
“It was security, it was cost, it was best practices looking at the overall cloud infrastructure,” Du Preez says.
Lastly, unlike some of the other options, CloudCheckr is fast and simple to set up.
“We demo the product and they are basically shocked and say, ‘How did you guys do this?’ You feel like a magician.”
When Azure opened a new data center in South Africa in March of 2019, there was a huge rush among South African companies to move to the cloud and take advantage of the local infrastructure. “Our competitors were saying, ‘how do we make a quick buck and move on?’” du Preez says. “We don’t want to be in that transactional space. We want to help the customer migrate to the cloud quickly, but also to help them navigate the cloud journey.” CloudCheckr is a key tool to help customers optimize their cloud environment in a way that makes sense for their business.
The first test for CloudCheckr was using it to manage Microsoft Azure cloud spend for the Altron Group, Altron Karabina’s parent company.
“One of the key things they said to us was the Azure spend is a little bit out of control,” Du Preez says. “They were looking at ways to prevent spending money needlessly.”
After implementing CloudCheckr, the IT department noticed a spike in costs about 20 minutes after running small internal batch files. Running this batch file was costing about $500 each time. The team went back to see what the issue was and made a couple of tweaks. Now, the same process costs $37.
“Without this cloud management portal in place, these kind of things would have slipped by and nobody would have been the wiser,” Du Preez says. “At the end of the month, they would just get their nice little bill and experience the cloud services shock.”
Of course, Altron Karabina choose CloudCheckr both as a way to help customers contain costs, but also to increase security and compliance. One large customer with offices not just in South Africa but throughout Africa, Europe and Asia, approached Altron Karabina with security concerns. “We think our Azure tenant is secure,” they said. “We think we follow all the best practices, but we’re not 100% sure.”
So a team from Altron Karabina went in to talk with the CIO and walk through the process of monitoring using the white-labeled Cloudcheckr. “One of the key things they said to us was ‘we don’t use SQL.’ I said ‘Really, you don’t SQL at all? He said ‘no, not at all,’” Du Preez remembers.
Du Preez pointed out that there were three SQL servers. The CIO responded with disbelief. Du Preez highlighted the 118 inactive SQL instances. “I thought our environment was set up correctly from a best practice perspective,” the CIO said. “Now it’s clear that it was not.”
Another customer in the automotive industry was struggling with internal billing—it could not get the tagging granular enough to understand how much of the cloud spend was going to each part of the company or if corporate policies were being followed. Using the white-labeled CloudCheckr portal, Du Preez was able to set everything up in under an hour, giving the customer a complete view of the company-wide cloud spend for the first time.
“We see these kind of things on a daily basis when we talk to customers,” Du Preez says. “We demo the product and they are basically shocked and say, ‘How did you guys do this?’ You feel like a magician.”
Opening the cloud provider black box on costs, security, and compliance has paid dividends in terms of building trust. Not only do Altron Karabina’s customers trust the company to manage cloud security, those customers are more likely to transfer more of their digital infrastructure to the cloud. For example, The Altron Group was looking at moving Sage HR and payroll systems to Azure South Africa, and was able to do so confidently because CloudCheckr was already deployed.
“They looked at us and said, ‘We trust you because you have this tool that was so essential in helping us,’” Du Preez says. “So CloudCheckr has landed more business for us.”