Imagine this scenario: your business rests entirely on delivering cloud-based software to your customers, but the company hosting all your IT equipment and data tells you they are divesting their data centre business – within weeks. 

In late 2023, that’s what happened to Bruce and Rhona Aylward, who co-founded Lower Hutt-based programme and project management software start-up Psoda in 2006.  

The locally-developed software is used by government departments, councils, and customers across the health, energy, and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sectors. Psoda’s feature-rich software and great customer service has seen it beat out multinational project management software vendors, becoming a shining example of the capability within our software industry. 

But Psoda’s entire business faced disruption when its colocation data centre provider was bought, with the new owners moving quickly to shut down the data centre operation.  

Urgent lift and shift

“We were given less than a month's notice,” says Rhona Aylward. 

“Psoda can’t operate without its IT equipment in a highly secure data centre with 100% uptime for power and cooling, so the clock started ticking on finding a suitable replacement.” 

Within hours of Bruce submitting an enquiry about data centre hosting via the Datacom website, a plan to help was hatched. The Datacom data centre team arranged for Psoda’s key staff to visit Datacom’s Wellington data centre, with network engineers on hand to discuss the company’s needs. 

A critical requirement was for there to be minimum downtime during the switchover, with Psoda customers relying on the management tools being available at all times. Datacom was able to have all Psoda’s IT equipment – which hosted its data and applications – transferred and operational within two weeks.  

The switch-over took place over a weekend.  

“The way it was handled was incredibly professional,” Rhona says. 

“It wasn’t entirely a plug-and-play job, there were some networking issues that had to be sorted out. But Datacom’s network engineers worked through them skillfully. They got everything up and running super fast. Our customers didn't even notice.” 

For Daniel Grimshaw, Associate Director of Data Centre Operations at Datacom, the strong capability and enthusiasm for working collaboratively with customers to resolve technical and networking issues, is just part of the Datacom way of doing things. 

“The priority was getting Psoda set up and delivering their software via the internet from our data centre as quickly as possible. We pulled that off thanks to the efforts of our data centre technicians and networking engineers, working hand in hand with the Psoda team.” 

Our pledge: 100% uptime

Psoda’s cloud-based software continued to operate smoothly, and the Aylwards have noticed improvements in speed and reliability since the move to Datacom’s Wellington data centre – known as Abel. Psoda will soon have an additional presence in Datacom’s Hamilton-based Kapua Data Centre, as part of its disaster recovery strategy. 

For a hyper-local startup serving New Zealand businesses, there are numerous benefits to opting for hosting arrangements with a trusted, New Zealand-owned provider, says Rhona. 

“Data sovereignty was a big factor for some of our clients when they came on board, and it still is,” she says. 

“We made the conscious decision to have our own equipment, hosted in New Zealand, which served us incredibly well through the Kaikoura earthquake and the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

Other benefits include long-term cost savings compared to public cloud platforms, and the close relationship forged with the Datacom team. 

“You can talk to the data centre technicians, rather than an account manager. We love that access and the ability to talk through our future plans.” 

Datacom Data Centre customers not only enjoy access to world class infrastructure and expertise, but a service level agreement offering 100% uptime for power, cooling and security. 

“Our data centres have full back-up power on site, and other resilience measures to ensure we can deliver uninterrupted service 24/7, 365 days a year,” says Daniel. 

Into the AI-powered future

Those plans include infusing artificial intelligence through the Psoda product suite. The Sonar AI application already gives users “horizontal visibility” across the organisation, surfacing information it deems could be useful for project management purposes. 

“As we look to build AI into the system more extensively, security and scalability will be key,” Rhona says.  

Datacom is ready and able to deliver both, within timeframes that work for customers of all sizes. 

“Some of the other companies we approached about hosting took so long to come back to us that we were already in Datacom’s data centre by the time they responded,” says Rhona. 

“The responsiveness of Datacom in comparison, was the start of a great relationship that gives us confidence in Psoda’s future hosted with Datacom.”  

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