Coworkers sitting in conference room looking at presentation

Innovating with Azure: How Atmosera is using cloud technology to bring enterprise-level pipeline solutions to SMB customers

Download case study


Shifting with the landscape

United States CSP partner Atmosera understands the nature of the evolving technology landscape better than most. Founded in 1995 as a traditional ISP, Atmosera shifted their focus to provide customers with colocation and managed services in the early 2000s. In 2010, they pivoted yet again, working to provide their customers with multi-tenant and private VMware-based cloud solutions while supplementing managed services on top of those environments. Throughout all of these permutations and evolutions, Atmosera has always been committed to providing excellent, 24x7x365 service—a standard that they still hold today.

In 2012, Atmosera merged with a similar company and both were acquired by a private equity firm out of New York. Atmosera was quick to evolve yet again—fixing their vision on the potential of hybrid environments with the objective of building the world’s leading hybrid cloud platform.


Weighing the options

Prior to this most recent shift, Atmosera had been primarily a private cloud provider, leveraging three of their own datacenters. Deciding to pursue a hybrid cloud offer, they knew they needed to find a public cloud option they could trust and that could deliver seamlessly on the hybrid promise. Perhaps more importantly, they knew that their public cloud provider had to be aligned to their vision.

Initially, Atmosera investigated the possibilities of using Amazon Web Services (AWS) but quickly realized it was a poor fit for their hybrid cloud vision.

“We saw right away that they wanted everything to live in AWS. At the time, they didn’t believe in the hybrid cloud message and didn’t take to the potential partnership in the way we would have wanted.” – Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera

Beyond their differing visions regarding the viability of a hybrid cloud platform, Atmosera also found that AWS lacked a strong tie-in with the enterprise and traditional business markets that made up at least 50 percent of Atmosera’s customer base. Pivoting from their initial position, Thomsen and Atmosera began pursuing the possibility of a partnership with Microsoft.

“When we started looking into the possibility of using Azure and working with Microsoft we loved what we heard – particularly regarding their hybrid vision. We also loved what Satya was doing to develop a partner-friendly collaborative culture. The idea of being able to combine a seamless hybrid cloud solution that we could easily pivot to a full public Azure offering via CSP provided us the flexibility and value we were looking for.” – Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera

When we started looking into the possibility of using Azure and working with Microsoft we loved what we heard—particularly regarding their hybrid vision. We also loved what Satya was doing to develop a partner-friendly collaborative culture.

- Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera

Azure-Certified for hybrid cloud

Embracing Azure as their public cloud platform, Atmosera became one of the first CSP partners. Having made the commitment, they began building out capabilities around Managed Azure, and were the first partner globally to deploy an Azure-certified for hybrid cloud offering. Since making that transition, Atmosera has been working to build out a number of capabilities on Azure through CSP, working towards their goal of being the number one partner for managed Azure.

“We always knew that eventually we would want to build out our own products leveraging Azure and over the last year we have built out a number of different products and SKUs designed to increase the utilization, benefits, speed and functionality of Azure for our customers. This includes successful migration IP we refer to as ‘escape from AWS,’ a migration service enabling our new customers to easily switch platforms. We will continue to build IP, unique solutions, and functionalities against the Azure platform—over 50 percent of our customers are ISVs or SaaS providers and we understand there is a unique opportunity with Azure to best serve those whose entire business model is the application or a web-based platform.” – Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera


Simplifying the development lifecycle

One of Atmosera’s more exciting, recent innovations is their Release-Management-as-a-ServiceTM. The service, targeted at Atmosera’s extensive network of ISV customers, is a best-of-breed platform-as-a-service designed specifically for Azure and enables their customers to take their applications and web development projects from inception to reality in an automated DevOps approach.

“Typically, in the past, when we managed software development teams, we would need to staff a release management or DevOps engineers. For larger clients, this isn’t a problem. For our smaller customers, however, our Release-Management-as-a-ServiceTM is a very attractive option as they are able to receive all of the benefits and best practices of a DevOps engineer but have it instead deployed in a pre-packaged, affordable, managed service environment.” – Scott Harvey, VP of Engineering, Atmosera

OFC16 Conference 006 260x260

[…] For our smaller customers, however, our Release-Management-as-a-ServiceTM is a very attractive option as they are able to receive all of the benefits and best practices of a DevOps engineer, but have it instead deployed in a pre-packaged, affordable, managed service environment.

- Scott Harvey, VP of Engineering, Atmosera

Atmosera’s services take advantage of powerful automation tools native to Azure. Atmosera works with their customers to identify intended behavior and functionality in their websites or applications. They then use automated tools to test for the intended functionality, allowing the application or page to progress to the next stage of the DevOps or release pipeline only if the conditions identified by the customer have been met.

With this method, the customer retains control by determining the conditions by which their application passes from one stage of development to the next, while offloading the burden of testing and staging to automated processes.

Benefits of working with Microsoft

As one of the first CSP partners, Atmosera has worked very closely with Microsoft and has been on the front lines as Azure continues to grow and evolve. Their decision to choose Azure over AWS, a decision initially rooted in Microsoft’s hybrid cloud vision, has paid dividends in the value they have seen from the business partnership.

“Microsoft has been incredible over the last three years and has demonstrated strong partnership values. We are a managed account and the support we have received from the US Cloud and Hosting teams, the WW team, and MPN have all been outstanding.” – Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera

Working on the front lines with Microsoft’s newest technology, Thomsen and Atmosera are the first to admit that the experience hasn’t always been smooth sailing—with new technology, deployed in complex ways, there's always a learning curve. Atmosera understood that going into the partnership with Microsoft over three years ago. Atmosera also knew that being somewhat of a pioneer, that as Azure technologies advanced, they flattened their learning curve, and became experienced Azure experts, Atmosera would be in a great position to deliver the power of Azure to its customers. Working with Microsoft has been a partnership that has enabled both partners to thrive while providing great value to their customers.

Microsoft has been incredible over the last three years and has demonstrated strong partnership values. We are a managed account and the support we have received from the US Cloud and Hosting teams, the WW team, and MPN have all been outstanding.

- Jon Thomsen, CEO, Atmosera

More like this

Woman standing in office looking out window

Nimble

Learn how one ISV is working to modernize the partner community.

Man and two female coworkers talking and working on tablets

Insentra

Learn how Insentra has grown their business through a unique, partner-only business model.

Coworkers talking in conference room

Schneider IT Management

Learn how Schneider IT Management works to maximize the value of MS Workspace for their SAM engagements.

Woman smiling for picture

Kloud

Learn Kloud’s roadmap for success in building enduring customer relationships with managed services.