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Australian renewable packaging company Opal Group has undergone a major cloud transition after its previous provider, Fujitsu, said it would stop supporting its data storage network.

The company said that left unattended, it risked Opal’s ability to manufacture and deliver products to some of Australia’s largest retail and FMCG companies, who rely on Opal to provide essential goods to often lockdown-stricken communities.

Australian telco Macquarie Telecom and Microsoft Azure stepped in, and migrated huge volumes of data tied to Opal’s most critical operations, including financial systems.

Phil Boon, chief information officer at Opal said the company now has a “direct line” to the “very coders putting together the next generation of services”, and says the new system will have a “hugely positive influence” on the company, which operates out of 80 sites across Australia and New Zealand.

Opal was advised that part of the business had previously suffered from major outage issues with its data centre provider, and further identified a substandard storage area network and disaster recovery posture, which left unattended risked its ability to manufacture and deliver products to customers.

These include some of Australia’s largest retail and FMCG companies, which rely on Opal to provide essential goods and services to often lockdown-stricken communities. The company had targeted it for early replacement but was given a further post-acquisition issue with the late advice on storage support.

“We essentially had three months to tender, prepare and contract, and three months to transition,” said Boon. “This was petabytes of data, 85 virtual machines, and it was all tied to our most critical workloads, including SAP financial systems and operational applications.

“We reviewed options from a range of providers tied to each major cloud player, and the Macquarie and Azure combination stood out. We had confidence in their partnership and the dual accountability that came with it, their sensible proposal, commercial flexibility, and – most importantly – confidence in their ability to get the job done under a tight deadline.”

The Macquarie and Azure team worked closely with Boon’s team, as well as manufacturing technology partner Realtek, which helped manage SAP applications to successfully transition services and workloads into Macquarie’s cloud environment. This was stored within its sovereign Data Centre Campus, and delivered on time and on budget.

Headquartered in Melbourne, The Opal Group, owned by Nippon Paper Group, has 4,500 staff, and specialises in sustainable fibre packaging and paper solutions. It exports Australian-made products to 70 countries across the world. 

Buoyed by the successful transition and what it says is a much-improved cloud environment, Opal is now looking at how it can leverage Macquarie and Azure’s ecosystem to focus more on applications, and how it can improve its business processes. This has timed with Macquarie’s recent Azure Expert MSP status, which gives customers like Opal greater access to Azure’s roadmap.

“The Macquarie and Microsoft partnership was already a huge drawcard,” added Boon. “Now it’s like we’ve got a direct line to Azure, to the very coders putting together the next generation of services. It’s clear this is going to have a hugely positive impact on our business as we continue to grow.”

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