Author Archive for Todd Abrams

10 Reasons Why Migrating to the Cloud Makes Sense

I had the opportunity to attend and speak at recent KANAConnect events in the US and Europe. I was surprised and delighted at the breadth of discussion and focus placed on cloud computing and the forward-thinking direction of many of the attendees.

One thing that was quite clear and different from what I’d experienced at past KANA events was the overall mindset towards the cloud playing a larger role in the future growth plans of the majority of the companies in attendance.

Continue reading ’10 Reasons Why Migrating to the Cloud Makes Sense’

"It was suppose to be a simple, quick move"…

I thought I would leave alone for at least a while the Hostway data center migration saga.  Some time has passed and yes eventually people will forget about this incident as they have with many others (maybe not of the same magnitude) – but did everyone really think it could be successfully pulled off? 

When I heard about this incident all I could say was “WOW”. 

We have been in the infrastructure, and utility computing business for a few years and early on thought that we were extremely smart folks and could migrate 225 servers overnight, within an 8 hour window with little to no extended interuption to any of our early clients.    Boy, were we wrong!!  We had provided the clients their new IP’s, setup the new infrastrucutre, configured the racks, routers, switches and all the space, and the plan was to unplug and then plug back in at the new facility all of a 15 minute drive away.  Let’s just say that didn’t work out so well….  That 8 hours grew into an extended 48 hour workday!!

 The “WOW” response when I heard about the HostWay incident was when I read:

“The planned July 27 data center migration at ValueWeb, a Hostway company, involved moving more than 3,700 servers 270 miles, from Affinity’s Miami hosting facility to a Hostway data center in Tampa, Fla., according to Rich Miller, reporter for Data Center Knowledge, in Lawrenceville, N.J.

What were they thinking? 

These guys are not dumb guys.  I believe after merging with Affinity Internet a few months back they now have operations facilities in over 10 countries with thousands of clients and managaing thousands of servers.

But come on.  While hardware is running, and deemed to be reliable it is often left best untouched.  The old saying applies here, “if it ain’t broke don’t try and fix it”.  When you power down and try to then bring back up boxes there is always going to be a % that will fail. 

I am sure they planned for this but with 3,700 servers being moved at once, I don’t see logically how they expected to deal with the consequences all at once or within the time frame they allotted or thought to be tolerable from a client’s perspective.

Anyways, I feel for Hostway and for the clients that it effected.  The 8-12 hours of planned downtime, seemingly turned into a nightmare for many clients, whose business reputation relies on their provider’s uptime and reliabitlity. 

After our experience a few years back, as I stated above, we swore that we would look, build and develop something that would never make us have to move a physical box from DC to DC ever again. **(unless a client specifically has requested a move) 

A main point we focussed on was being able to move data and applications from one server or facility to another without the requirement to migrate the underlying gear.  With the launch of our VPDC (Virtual Private Data Center) powered by Applogic we have enabled clients to do this.  In the age of SaaS companies, thousands of new applications being put online each day and uptime being an essential part of conducting daily business the expectation of anything less is sub par.

A great example of this is Albert Wu who was faced with a similar facitlity to facility migration.

“The migration turned out to be an extremely simple process, that basically involved issuing a migrate command on the old grid, instructing it to migrate the app to the new grid. The command took some time to finish executing, as it had to move quite a bit of data. But once completed, all we had to do was reconfigure the app on the new grid with new ip addresses for the app, the gateway, netmask and dns ip address, which only took a few minutes. Amazingly, we were then able to fire up our grid app on the new grid! No hardware issues to deal with what-so-ever!”

We continue to focus of how we can provide offerings to our clients that allow them to focus on their business, and not worry about the underlying infrastructure, where it is located, is it up or down, is there a bad drive etc.  Our clients need to be able to provision additional resources on the fly when their applications calls for it, be able to shift and server data and applications to and from mutliple geographic points while not having to worrying about migrating anything physically.  We are making the hardware agnostic, and providing a scalable platform where migrations and growth are only a few short keystrokes away.

I expect to see many more players pushing hard in the marketplace – bringing many new virtualization and utility offerings into the market this year. Ifour competitors do not I believe they will be falling short of clients expectations and requirements.

The dedicated server landscape is changing and everyone involved needs to innovate, adopt and grow.

All good things to come….

Layered Technologies Sponsors WordCamp 2007

Layered Technologies, Inc is proud to be a main sponsor for upcoming WordCamp 2007 taking place in San Francisco, CA on July 21-22nd.

WordCamp is a 2-day conference for WordPress users and developers. The first day will focus on how to be a better blogger, the second on the development and future of WordPress.

The first day will revolve around user topics and the second day primarily on developer topics.  WordCamp is one of the largest, interactive, in-person events held in the blogging community and registration is currently full with attendance pushing 500+.

We are proud to be able to further support the efforts of Matt and his team’s initiatives above and beyond the ever changing and growing requirements of the WordPress infrastructure that we provide.

I will be attending and I look forward to networking with the WP community and learning as much as I can at CAMP over the two days.

Visit WordCamp 2007 for more information on the event.

What impact will Microsoft's new direction have on your business?

I have been in Denver attending the WWPC for the past two days and have sat through many interesting keynotes and business sessions from Microsoft learning more about their plans for new offerings and the changing landscape of how to partner with Microsoft.

 This year the message came through a little differently.  The old message of Microsoft bringing new products and software offerings to channel partners who would then market, implement, create and deploy strategies around building value for their end client while being able to make a specific profit margin was not the underlying theme.  It was still there, to an extent; however this message was far behind the message of new direct hosted service offerings that are being tested and will be rolled out in the near term.

The 3 day event was created to bring Microsoft partners together, network with one another, build strength and trust among groups and learn how to “knock the ball out of the park” and make more money as Steve Ballmer  phrased in his keynote address today.

With Microsoft’s announcements earlier this year surrounding building out their $500 million Data Center in San Antonio and their most recent announcements of purchasing another 2 Data Center facilities from Savvis I don’t think it should be any surprise to anyone that they would announce a direct hosted service offering around all of the major product offerings???

So where does this put you and your business?  If you offer hosted exchange, sharepoint, Dynamics, CRM the list goes on… should you feel the need to re-evaluate your business model, or should you be worried?

Allison Watson, corporate VP of Worldwide partner group tried to reinforce Microsoft’s partner centered focus around the new offerings.  “Microsoft remains committed to creating profitable opportunities for our partners. At the Worldwide Partner Conference we will unveil new partner strategies to help ensure that both Microsoft and its partners continue to anticipate and profit from upcoming business opportunities in an evolving IT industry. We continue our focus on building People Ready Businesses, and will share more opportunities for our partners to go to market with that approach.”

When asked about how revenues would be derived for current and new partners Allison again tried to reassure the audience. “Microsoft will be pointing its partners in a new direction. At the conference, we will outline a framework for how partners can participate and make money with this new opportunity, framing the monetization approach for how partners participate financially within the new software plus services model. As more products become available in the software plus services area, we will continue define the partner revenue possibilities for each.”

I view this as a natural evolution for Microsoft and we all knew sooner or later this would come to surface whether we wanted to believe it or not.

By the glazed looks and many smiles on a few attendees faces I am sure some people were on board.  However,  not all people “drank the Microsoft Managed Services” kool-aid.  As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley seems to not believe Microsoft will leave well enough alone, but will continue to push the envelope.

So for now a Partner is a Partner, but only time will tell, and we will soon see whether the partner plays as an important role in the delivery or certain hosted Microsoft products and services.

Invasion of the iPhone

So the Apple iPhone has had it’s big entry into this new world, and I guess the big question will now be – is it all that, was it worth the wait?

I was surprised to drive along many streets in Dallas, TX and see long lines of people, tents pitched, vendors serving food in front of and around every Cingular store.  Even more surprising was to hear of people trying to buy their way into line, or bribe others already in line for their spot, or to make the purchase of two additional iPhones for them.  I guess that is Capitalism at it’s best!!

One thing that has intrigued me about the iPhone since I first began seeing the ads and reading about it was how it really ties together all the parts of the new economy and wraps these into a small hand-held device – this is not to say, there have not been multitudes of other hand-held devices, the likes of the Blackberry, Treo et, al, but there is just something more intriguing, it has a certain “coolness” factor about it…

Apple seems to have done a great job from the marketing side – the iPhone has been conveyed as a “conduit”, to bring together many of these new economy elements, what I will call the ”5 C’s” – Connection, Communication, Content, Commerce, Colloboration and I guess we will add a 6th C, “coolness”.  (iTunes, YouTube, Video’s, E-mail, SMS, Built in Search, OSX) – more to come…

As with many hot new items and tech gadgets the curb appeal will wear off, however you have to admit, if Apple’s stats are correct and they have sold over 520,000 in the first 3 days at 60% margin they will not be suffering am time soon.

Do I have one?  Not yet, but I will most likely look beyond the $499 price point and bite the bullet. 

Many of our employees are now trying to convince me here at Layered Technologies why they need to switch out the company issued device.  I ask them how it will help them do there job more efficiently and effectively? 

To date I have not been convinced how it will change the world, but anyone that has one might tell you differently.

 We will see….