UpCloud partner programme member and software company, Montel Intergalactic, delivers DevOps expertise to clients across all parts of the software lifecycle and creates future-proof cloud infrastructure for clients on UpCloud.
We spoke to Lauri Kainulainen, CTO of Montel, to explore how beneficial a tight-knit partnership is for cloud computing, and why the businesses who switch their cloud computing infrastructure are now optimising their costs and gaining better performance.
Two years ago a fellow Helsinki-based business, Montel Intergalactic, became an UpCloud partner. That partnership has grown over that time, and Montel is now as close to the UpCloud team professionally as it is geographically.
“We’ve been using UpCloud in some capacity since day one, but our partnership started in 2021,” said Kainulainen. It was during that time when UpCloud moved to offer Cloud Native products, which is at the core of Montel’s service offering.
“Prior to that we only partnered with Google, but moving to partner with UpCloud was a very obvious win-win situation for us.
“Google is great, but of course, with the size difference we didn’t get the benefits of working with somebody more nimble and agile as we do now.”
A trusted partner
Kainulainen says UpCloud’s customer service is a crucial part of the partnership, and the ability to work closely with technical members of the team is an advantage not just to Montel, but to its customers, too.
“I think one of the big differences compared to when we worked with Google is that, while you do have your own personal account manager, it’s not comparable to the way we work with UpCloud.”
“We have a Slack channel where I can contact the UpCloud team, and often they will be directly sitting next to the developer. And they can just ask him my question then and there! We also use Slack to get in touch with UpCloud if our clients have any issues, and because of the direct link we have with the team it’s super fast to resolve them.
“For example, a lot of our questions, especially those that arise during migration projects, are very technical. So having a non-technical middleman is a massive waste of time and effort. The direct connection with the technical side of UpCloud is definitely a massive win here.”
Kainulainen says Montel’s trust in the team at UpCloud shows through to its customers, who are in turn put at ease by the close relationship Montel has with their cloud service provider.
“The trust we have in UpCloud really resonates with our customers, especially the ones that have a dev team in-house. Customers are reassured when they know the UpCloud developer who is working on their project by name.”Lauri Kainulainen, CTO of Montel
“I can give you a real-world example: I’m working on a highly complex migration for a customer which requires absolutely zero downtime. Because of the complexities of the case, it really helps to have that bridge between UpCloud’s developers and the client’s developers, and we talk to both of them to come up with the right solutions.
“When our clients work with large hyperscalers, it’s a bit like the old saying: ‘Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’. You know it’s safe because everybody else is using it, but in reality, it may not be the best solution.”
Total cost optimisation
That’s not an uncommon situation for Montel’s customers, with many looking to switch cloud service providers not just for more responsive support, but to optimise their expenditure too.
Recently, UpCloud’s Erik Rehn wrote about the need for businesses to optimise their costs, and Kainulainen says Montel’s customers are having similar problems.
“With the current market situation, we’re seeing a lot of cost saving where customers now want to switch their infrastructure from larger US companies to more nimble ones. Especially in Europe where UpCloud is GDPR compliant and everything will be secure. When you also save money, it’s kind of a no-brainer.
“In the very short history that we’ve had with UpCloud, there’s already been a handful of cases where we are already working on moving existing customers from other clouds to UpCloud.
“When you look at just the raw price of a server cost from UpCloud versus a server from one of the hyperscalers, that will already give you quite a large saving.”
But cost optimisation isn’t based on raw server price alone, with businesses also looking to ensure their spending is as streamlined as possible across their whole balance book. That involves cutting back on expenses they don’t actually need, but potentially also paying now for savings later.
That’s why Kainulainen says another type of typical customer isn’t just looking to make the switch to a more cost-effective cloud provider. He also says Montel is actively recommending UpCloud to some customers for better reliability and functionality, which will in turn save on costs further down the line, where they might have missed out on sales before because of server downtime.
“We also work with other cloud providers, some with lower prices than UpCloud, who also have European servers. The major factor for our customers who then move from these providers to UpCloud is the 100% Service Level Agreement (SLA), where UpCloud offers virtually no downtime. So some of our customers who are on cheaper plans are actually ready to double their spending just to attain that last 1% of uptime.”
While Montel recommends UpCloud to a host of different customers for a variety of reasons, UpCloud can also rely on Montel when it comes to providing services requested by clients that aren’t part of our core offering.
“We only work with Kubernetes,” said Kainulainen. “We won’t touch any other kind of infrastructure setup unless we’re migrating it to K8s. But of course, UpCloud can do anything with its hardware. So UpCloud can call us into cases where it’s obvious that the client wants to run a very modern infrastructure based on Kubernetes. They’ll say ‘Let’s call the Montel guys’. And because we have a set fixed price, the client knows exactly what they’re getting.”
With the launch of UpCloud’s Managed Kubernetes platform, how does Kainulainen think this will help Montel?
“It’s another mutual win-win because, with the partnership programme, we were granted early access to Managed Kubernetes in Alpha which allowed us to test it. UpCloud also benefits from any of the insights we then provide during testing.
“We’ve been setting up Kubernetes on top of our infrastructure for years. For us the impact of having UpCloud Managed Kubernetes is that it takes a small chunk of the work that we do, and moves it to the infrastructure side, allowing us to focus more on what actually runs inside the cluster and how we manage the whole ecosystem around it.
“That really helps us, and we already have our first project running on top of it, which will go to production this summer. I know we’ll be using it more and more because we know it will result in fewer moving parts for us and our clients.”