Microsoft’s Canadian data centres are helping transform this solution provider

DMTI Spatial, some might argue, has reached phase three in its two decades of operations.

The Markham, Ont.-based solution provider has a bit of a niche, in that it provides “Canadian location intelligence” solutions to various industries, including but not limited to telco, real estate, insurance and finance.

The company collects data from the government, satellites, real estate, geological surveys, climate data, and other places totaling 7,300 sources to pinpoint trends including flood and wildfire analysis, population, insurance risk, mortgages, weather exposure, cost of development and more.

Its first phase, which lasted maybe 15 years or so, saw the company developing its Software-as-a-Service solutions on client premises.

About five years ago, the company began offering its solutions in the cloud and chose Microsoft as its host.

Like many of Microsoft’s partners, DMTI Spatial chose Azure despite the Redmond giant’s lack of data centres in Canada. This alone allowed the company to reduce the amount of hardware that clients needed on-premise, and offered greater flexibility in provisioning and scaling.

“That’s really fantastic for us,” Mark Lennox, director of engineering and technology told CDN. “Without cloud we wouldn’t be able to do that.”

This wasn’t without a few hurdles.

Data sovereignty concerns meant that solutions often had to be hybrid in nature, with sensitive information still stored on client premises.

All that has changed this month, however, with Microsoft officially opening its Canadian data centres, located in Toronto and Quebec City.

The team of about 30 staff was among companies offered to test the Canadian cloud, and is now able to offer it to customers.

According to Lennox, not only will it help the company push products out faster, but for clients such as in the finance sector – a major market for DMTI – it addresses obvious data residency concerns that are now “largely off the table.”

Hence, phase three for DMTI.

Lennox expects the release of Microsoft’s data centres to have other impacts, such as encouraging more companies to make the leap to cloud, especially in government.

“Many companies with new projects are looking at cloud,” Lennox said. “With the Microsoft Azure Cloud, the last remaining hurdle for us, the last arguments are eroding away. We expect a lot of customers will be reaching out to us.”

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Dave Yin
Dave Yin
Digital Staff Writer at Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel.

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