As the global demand for a business grows, so does the need to extend its data center operations to other countries. But there are significant challenges involved in taking an offering overseas, particularly if the services you provide rely on the availability of reliable, scalable local infrastructure.
Finding the right data center provider to partner with to establish a Point of Presence (PoP) in another country is critical, yet not all infrastructure providers are created equal in terms of the range and depth of solutions and services they provide.
In addition to tangible, measurable data center and network connectivity capabilities, there are also intangible elements to be considered that can make the difference between a positive and negative experience, between strong business performance and failure — considerations that differentiate standard data center providers from true infrastructure partners.
Here are some critical factors to consider when searching for a local infrastructure partner:
Flexible, scalable infrastructure solutions: From colocation to bare metal to interconnection options including direct access to Tier-1 carriers, major internet exchanges and the cloud ecosystem — you will need a local partner who can support your evolving infrastructure needs.
Expert staff: Since you will be relying on a remote staff, it is critical that their skill level and technical knowledge be high and that they be available 24 x 7 x 365.
Language skills: Operating in a foreign country can be demanding given cultural differences. Make sure that the remote staff is able to communicate with you in a language that is common to both parties.
Familiarity with importation regulations: Bringing in your hardware into another country can pose all sorts of challenges in terms of customs regulations, taxes, processes, etc. This can be particularly challenging in countries where the importation process is complex.
Agility and speed: Your business is agile and needs to be able to respond quickly to shifts in the marketplace. Your infrastructure likewise will need to be agile as well in order to be able to support these shifts.
Responsiveness and accountability: It is unrealistic to think that IT problems will not arise. The question is how will they be handled when they do come up, particularly when you are not able to monitor firsthand. A strong partner should be responsive, transparent, and accountable.
Going the extra mile: You are not on familiar soil, so having a partner who has your best interests in mind, who is willing to go the extra mile and step in as needed to help with unexpected needs, whether that is procuring some parts locally or offering strategic recommendations is key to having peace of mind.
Importation-related challenges in Brazil
While it can be challenging to find the right data center facility in a foreign country, what can really make things challenging is the task of bringing in all your equipment (servers, storage, etc.). Navigating customs, dealing with local laws and regulations, taxes, and processes can be extremely frustrating and time-consuming.
Brazil, the world’s sixth-largest economy, is an emerging digital hub with 162 million internet users in 2021 and that number is expected to reach 185.57 million by 2026 per Statista Research. Yet Brazil is one of the most complex and expensive countries when it comes to importation of IT hardware. Taxes are very high and the customs process is extremely bureaucratic, requiring the completion of copious paperwork to obtain the necessary licenses.
Having a trusted local partner to guide the way who has deep knowledge of Brazilian laws, codes, taxes, and tariffs can make the importation process faster and less stressful. This is where working with a unique, customer-focused provider like Latitude.sh that offers more personalized services and custom projects can make a significant difference.
Acronis required agility and speed
Latitude.sh recently helped Acronis, a leading global data protection and cybersecurity company, establish and scale up its business in Brazil. Acronis provides a cybersecurity platform that offers backup, disaster recovery, data protection, and related solutions for businesses.
Acronis had originally identified a different provider to work within São Paulo but they shifted to Latitude.sh due to the company’s greater responsiveness, speed, and agility and their extensive experience with custom deployments.
“After several months of negotiating the agreement with another provider we decided to try Latitude.sh and things happened much faster! We agreed on the terms and started the business within a couple of months,” said Viktor Dzhokin, Procurement Specialist at Acronis.
Stellar customer service
Acronis was also deeply impressed with the level of customer service they received from Latitude.sh which made the experience of doing business in Brazil much smoother. Unlike many data center facilities in Brazil, the Latitude.sh staff is fluent in English, facilitating communication. Latitude.sh helped Acronis with many aspects of doing business locally, including navigating the complexities of the importation process and advising them every step of the way.
“Latitude.sh helped us with customs clearance and this is not a usual service provided by data centers. Most data centers can’t provide such services,” said Sergey Gurin, Acronis Infrastructure Architect.
Help with post-importation challenges
Even after imported hardware clears customs and arrives at a local facility, there can be challenges in the form of support for the equipment. Given that not all manufacturers of IT equipment used domestically have a presence in the country selected for a new point of presence, finding spare parts can be a challenge. Acronis was faced with this issue and Latitude.sh was able to address it quickly.
“They were very friendly and helped us with local procurement of small parts we needed to operate our infrastructure. Their customer service was exceptional…they basically assisted with whatever we needed,” added Gurin.
Flexible infrastructure options to support local business growth
The Acronis engagement began with a single colocation rack at Latitude.sh's state-of-the-art MH1 data center facility in the heart of São Paulo.
Acronis’ powerful suite of products protects environments from cloud to hybrid to on-premises, offering cyber protection for data, applications, and systems with innovative next-generation antivirus, backup, disaster recovery, and endpoint protection management solutions. Several services including Acronis Cyber Backup Cloud and Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud were very well received by Brazilian audiences, leading to rapid growth.
“We had a rapid growth of one of our services and we needed to source hardware somewhere fast. In this case we decided that it would be better to go with Latitude.sh hardware which can be ordered fast,” explained Gurin.
Acronis needed to meet new customer demand in a matter of 3-4 weeks, vs. the 3-4 months it would have taken to import their own additional hardware. This is where Latitude.sh's Custom Deployments capability saved the day.
Latitude.sh was able to address Acronis’ specific server configuration requirements by quickly buying and importing servers with the needed specifications, racking and stacking them, and then selling them as a service by adding them to the Latitude.sh automated bare metal platform. The custom deployment also established seamless integration between colocation and bare metal ensuring a flexible, hybrid infrastructure environment for Acronis.
Fast and consistent bare metal server deployment
The Latitude.sh bare metal cloud platform makes single-tenant server deployment easy for fast-moving global businesses like Acronis. Servers can be deployed within minutes and can scale on demand using Latitude.sh's intuitive self-service portal. Clients can easily manage and scale their environments, taking advantage of a range of powerful functions offered by the platform including custom Operating Systems, SSH keys, OS reinstalls, IPMI access through a secure VPN, and more.
Clients can easily establish and maintain a global bare metal infrastructure through the powerful and consistent Latitude.sh automated platform which is available in 11 locations around the world.
Poised for explosive growth: Brazil and 5G
Despite some of the challenges discussed, this is a very exciting time for companies to be expanding their business to Brazil as the federal government is planning to roll out 5G technology in 2022 to all 26 Brazilian states, starting with São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
This will significantly increase connectivity and internet usage in the country and expand business opportunities for providers of digitally-based content and services. The anticipated proliferation of data will result in an acceleration of high-performance, low-latency related use cases that can be optimally addressed through the power of bare metal computing.