A big project with global vision
Until recently, the hosting industry was all about big sheds full of hardware, powered up and connected to the internet. Customers rented the capacity they needed and took their own responsibility for operating systems, software, deployment and so on. Needless to say, things have changed. Today, cloud services offer customers a complete package — from apps to monitoring to back-up — that they can switch on and off at will.
A breakthrough idea
As one of the UK’s largest hosting service providers, Iomart provides everything from infrastructure as a service (IaaS) to managed hosting. Their customers love the flexibility and configurability of the cloud, but many of them are wary of privacy, security and other issues. They also value the cost savings and support they got from Iomart’s worldwide network of datacentres.
In 2016, Iomart had a brilliant idea. They decided to develop a simple graphic interface that allowed their customers to configure, manage and deploy their own services. This diagramming tool would let users design networks in the browser to their own specific requirements. They could deploy hybrid services, with some components delivered in Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure, and buy equipment for other datacentres or their own premises. The process would be slick and efficient. They would save time and always be aware of how much their network would cost.
We went to three or four digital agencies and it became very clear that we needed someone who understood the vision and goals. When the team at Isotoma were finishing my sentences and asking questions that we hadn’t even considered, we knew we’d found a real partner.Neil Christie, Managing Director, Iomart
Once a customer had designed and priced their network, Iomart would build it at one of their data centres. Iomart called this HAPPI: Highly Automated Procurement and Provisioning of Infrastructure. It would be unique to Iomart and make them stand out in a highly competitive market. And it would give them a smoother, faster sales process. The only problem was how to make it work.
Neil and his colleagues chose us. They had a clear vision of what they wanted but were keen to let us work out the nuts and bolts. We listened hard and quickly learned a lot about Iomart’s business. We understood what they were trying to achieve commercially, but we also appreciated the technical constraints and requirements.
Together we started fleshing out the concept. We worked in React because it gave us a rich environment where we could build a desktop app on the web. We went through a process of rapid prototyping; seeking out the hardest most contentious issues and grappling with them first. Working quickly and flexibly we designed the product and then built, tested, deployed and supported it in production.
We’re delighted to be working so closely with Iomart on a project that has a really exciting long-term vision: to connect every data centre with the world’s infrastructure users.