Supporting Dynamics Development and Delivery


AlfaPeople is one of the largest Microsoft Dynamics specialists in the world, with over 400 employees based in 14 countries.

They focus on designing and delivering bespoke Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP solutions and work with customers like Allianz, Du Pont, Konica Minolta and Scania, to name but a few.

Secura work closely to support AlfaPeople with flexible, scalable hosting and managed services that allow them to focus solely on the design, development and delivery of their customer projects.

Custom Built CRM and ERP

Microsoft Dynamics is one of the most popular CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) packages on the market, with millions of end-users using the system worldwide.

AlfaPeople specialise in the seamless integration of Microsoft Dynamics into organisations, as well as designing and deploying industry and customer specific customisations to make the application a more comfortable fit for a particular client’s requirements.

This tailor-made, bespoke approach allows customers to benefit from the powerful native features of Microsoft Dynamics while incorporating special features and functionality that will optimise the performance for their business.

AlfaPeople are currently one of the top 10 Microsoft Dynamics partners globally and for their sales and service excellence, they have been recognised as members of the Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle and have been members of the Presidents Club since 2005.

The Challenge

For AlfaPeople, flexible hosting infrastructure that can be quickly deployed to support the development and testing of customer solutions is of paramount importance.

Every solution they develop is different in terms of both size and scope, so they needed the ability to resource individual projects differently for optimum performance, with the flexibility to add and remove resources quickly as a brief changes and new projects start and finish.

Licensing Complexity

With any development rooted within the products of a large vendor, there comes significant licensing administration, particularly when developing multiple customer projects across multiple virtual instances.

Keeping on top of this administration and ensuring the correct licensing levels at all times across the full range of project and development environments is a key consideration and something that the team at AlfaPeople were keen to have managed effectively.

The Solution

The solution designed and built by Secura is based on our Virtual Private Cloud platform. It offers the kind of flexibility and rapid resource scaling AlfaPeople need to quickly respond to the changing demands of their customer development projects.

Built using powerful Dell server infrastructure, Dell Compellent storage and Juniper networking technology, the Secura VPC is a multi-tenant platform that features dedicated isolated networks, dedicated virtual firewalls and dedicated virtual machines for each distinct customer solution.

These features create the segregation and security offered by traditional private cloud hosting but as the platform has ‘shared’ resources available, it offers AlfaPeople incredible flexibility and scale, creating hosting infrastructure that can be aligned closely with the business’s needs at any given time.

Commercial Elasticity

The scalability of overall resources within the solution maximises its performance from a business perspective, allowing increases or decreases in the infrastructure’s footprint to reflect the development pipeline.

To cope with several large projects simultaneously, resources can be scaled-up in key areas. When development is complete, those resources can be scaled back accordingly. This kind of flexibility coupled with resource based pricing, means that AlfaPeople only ever pay for what they need, with no waste.

It creates commercial elasticity within the infrastructure, allowing the platform to be shaped directly by the current order book, with resource expansion in comfortable, gradual increments that reflect the actual requirements, rather than the big hit associated with a new hardware purchase.

Simple Interface. Rapid Deployment. Guaranteed Performance.

As the VPC uses VMware vSphere virtualisation software and the vCloud Director interface, it is incredibly simple to deploy secure virtual environments. A new demonstration environment for a client presentation for example, can be created in a matter of minutes with correct resource levels and software templates assigned with just a few clicks.

This means each ‘server ‘or virtual machine (VM) can be perfectly sized for each development project or projects. The right amount of CPU, RAM and storage will always create the optimum foundation for that particular development.

Guaranteed performance levels for CPU, RAM and storage ensures that development is never impacted by contention. Multiple resource tiers are available to allow customisation and tailoring of performance to the precise needs of each project.

For example, multiple storage tiers offer different I/O guarantees, with higher IOPs available for resource intensive applications. If during development, it becomes apparent more or less I/O is required, application data can be moved seamlessly between different storage tiers.

Backup Protection

The AlfaPeople solution is fully protected against any data loss with regular copies of their data created and stored securely offsite.

The Secura Backup as a Service solution integrates seamlessly with the virtual private cloud to provide the reassurance that if a problem should occur, critical data can be recovered quickly.

Pricing is clear and based per TB of data protected. As with all elements of the VPC, the amount of data protected can be scaled up and down at any time to keep pace with the requirements of the solution.

Licensing and Patching Support

The solution that Secura provides AlfaPeople is fully managed and as part of that overall service wrap, the service desk team handle the administration of the applicable Microsoft licensing.

This allows the team at AlfaPeople to focus on creating the very best Dynamics solutions for their customers and not become bogged down in the calculation of their licensing requirements for Windows Server and Microsoft SQL.

The Secura service desk also take responsibility for update and patch management of these two key pieces of software, liaising with the team at AlfaPeople to schedule any maintenance windows required and to assess the potential impact of updates on current projects.

This again removes an onerous but essential administrative burden from the shoulders of AlfaPeople, letting them focus on creating better CRM and ERP solutions, not keeping their virtual machine real estate patched with the latest security and performance updates.

The Results

The flexibility of the AlfaPeople Virtual Private Cloud platform gives them the perfect development foundation for their Microsoft Dynamics projects.

It has proven incredibly successful and as a result, AlfaPeople now recommend the VPC as the perfect environment for their customers live solutions when development has been completed.

The kind of scalability that is required when building CRM and ERP solutions is an ideal fit for live systems that expand and grow naturally overtime within an organisation, as new users and functionality are brought online.

The solution and service we receive from Secura has been fantastic. They worked really hard with us to put together a package that makes our development easier.

The hosting is responsive and can be made to fit our requirements and the service elements have really helped to remove some of headaches associated with Dynamics development.

Robert Ubee, Managing Director, AlfaPeople


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