Founded in 1996, Claranet Group is a leading European provider of managed network, hosting, and application services. The company works with customers of all sizes to design, build, and manage infrastructure and tooling for mission-critical operations. The company, which recently acquired five other firms dedicated to cloud-related services, has 1,800 employees serving almost 6,500 customers from 20 offices in Europe and Brazil. With annual revenues of about US$400 million and more than 100 employees holding Amazon Web Services (AWS) certifications, the company has been an AWS Partner Network (APN) member since 2013.

Claranet’s journey to the cloud started in 2010, when it was working with a social gaming startup company with millions of active users on Facebook. Frédéric Atlan, group business development manager at Claranet, explains the challenge of provisioning for this kind of customer. “You never know if a new game will be successful,” says Atlan. “We needed to be instantly ready for high demand in case the game turned out to be popular, yet we didn’t want to be committed to a large number of new licenses and servers for an application that might no longer exist a few months later.”

To mitigate the risk of overprovisioning, Claranet wanted to offer this customer a pay-as-you-go solution with flexible scaling.

Claranet built a hybrid infrastructure for the gaming application using its own data center resources and Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) resizable computing capacity. This way, Claranet knew the solution could handle traffic spikes of any size by calling up additional Amazon EC2 On-Demand Instances. For more predictable spikes, the company could purchase Amazon EC2 Reserved Instances (RI) and save as much as 75 percent compared to On-Demand Instances.

As Claranet continued to explore and invest in the AWS Cloud, the company found that it was well-positioned to help not only aggressive startups like that gaming company, but also mid-market and Fortune 500 firms with more traditional IT strategies. “We were not born in the cloud but instead chose to move there, and we have experienced firsthand how such a move affects not only infrastructure but people, organizational structures, and business processes,” says Atlan. “We feel this experience helps us provide even more value for our customers that need to do the same thing.”

The more experience Claranet gained on the AWS Cloud, the more it came to consider AWS as key to its future success. In 2013, it sought an even closer working relationship with AWS by joining the AWS Partner Network (APN). In September 2016, Claranet became one of the first 10 European AWS Managed Service Provider (MSP) Partners to achieve Premier APN Consulting Partner status.

Premier APN Consulting Partner status recognizes significant investment in a company’s AWS practice; extensive experience deploying customer solutions on AWS; employment of well-trained, certified technical consultants; demonstrated project management skills; and strong revenues generated on AWS. Claranet holds a number of AWS Competencies, like the Marketing and Commerce Competency, DevOps Competency, and Migration Competency, and is a part of programs like the AWS Managed Services Program. Claranet is also an Amazon CloudFront and AWS Web Application Firewall (WAF) Service Delivery Provider, and an AWS Authorized Commercial Reseller.

With Premier APN Consulting Partner status, Claranet has access to special APN Partner benefits and tools, including the support of a dedicated AWS Partner Solutions Architect, attendance at AWS Professional Service Bootcamps, and the execution of go to market activites in collaboration with AWS.

To demonstrate the importance of the Claranet relationship with AWS, Atlan points to the strong growth that the company is seeing through its AWS offerings. “Revenue from our AWS offerings and services tripled between 2015 and 2016, and we expect it to triple again in 2017,” Atlan says. “Last year alone, we took on 70 new customers looking for AWS-related services.”

Atlan says that AWS MSP Partner Program resources help Claranet deliver even more value for new and existing AWS customers alike. “As an AWS MSP Partner, we have access not just to the AWS tools and services but to training and detailed documentation based on customer and partner feedback, and those help us strengthen the technical services we offer,” he explains.

Claranet has also found the AWS MSP Partner Program helpful as the company seeks to maximize the value of its recent acquisitions. “The AWS MSP Partner Program audits and training resources are helping us navigate some of the structural challenges of absorbing the five companies we acquired in the last two years,” says Atlan.

The AWS commitment to innovation and excellence challenges Claranet to keep learning. “AWS is always launching new services that help us further improve our customers’ businesses, and these are opportunities to grow and sharpen our skills,” he says. “Earning an AWS Certification demonstrates you have really learned something which is an immediate and concrete benefit for our customers—it’s not just a piece of paper.”

Cloud computing is also helping Claranet satisfy a strategic goal of breaking into new geographic markets. “We used to have to deliver services near our data centers,” says Atlan. “Because AWS is global, we have already begun expanding outside of Europe and we can keep doing so, wherever it makes business sense, without being limited by data center location.”

That’s a good thing, because Claranet anticipates that customer interest in AWS will only keep growing. “AWS is a clear choice for a lot of our customers,” says Atlan. “With so many services available on AWS, we’ve never yet encountered a customer workload we can’t accommodate on the AWS Cloud. And it’s not just the variety our customers value—they also appreciate that AWS is very mature and offers robust security features.”

That’s why Claranet, as a Cloud Managed Service Provider, places such a strong emphasis on AWS. “Most of our customers are moving to the cloud, and we want all our employees to be involved and knowledgeable,” says Atlan. “We see the AWS Cloud as central to our overall strategy, not just as one of our practices.”

Learn more about Claranet by visiting the company's Partner Solutions Finder profile