Archive for the 'SAAS' Category

Capturing Conversions: Why Milliseconds Matter to the Bottom Line

There’s an old saying we all deal with every day: time is money. On the Internet, money can be measured pretty well by one important metric: page load time. Research has shown consistently that user experience is important and functionality is useful, but nothing will cause a customer to jump ship quicker than a slow website.

In fact, Microsoft claims that 250 milliseconds can be the difference between a return customer and an abandoned checkout cart.

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iHT2 Health IT Summit Preview: Three Hot Topics

Hi, I’m Steve Chu from Layered Tech. Next week I will be attending the iHT2 Health IT Summit in Austin, Texas along with Jeff Reich, Layered Tech’s Chief Risk Officer.

The Health IT Summit is one of several regional events conducted by the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2). We look forward to attending this summit and engaging in discussions about the rapid evolution of technology in the healthcare industry. Continue reading ‘iHT2 Health IT Summit Preview: Three Hot Topics’

What You Need To Know About Application Performance Management

I have seen a shift in responsibility for overseeing and managing applications. Application monitoring and management is increasingly moving from application architects and developers and into IT operations. Our clients’ IT management folks are expected to be responsible for ensuring application health and performance and therefore are increasingly relying upon Layered Tech to provide management information and dashboard.

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IT Doesn’t Matter?

Ten years ago, Nicholas Carr wrote a paper entitled “IT Doesn’t Matter” published in the Harvard Business Review.  He might not have realized the far-reaching effects but in many IT shops, and with many senior executives, it signaled a shift from focusing on compute, storage, data centers and networks to applications.  This also coincided with the rise of enterprise applications and, as a result, CIOs spend a lot of time discussing packaged applications, integration, and implementations, resulting in the treatment of the fundamental engine of their business as a commodity.  But in most companies, packaged applications represent less than 20% of the overall footprint.

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Should You Care About Application Performance Management?

Every customer running revenue-critical business applications should consider adding application performance monitoring and management.  For this reason, we have taken our experience deploying application performance monitoring tools for our customers and released a standard managed solution.  Our new Application Performance Management (APM) service, powered by AppDynamics, offers a “managed with” model in which we integrate APM with our customers’ managed hosting and cloud service. We handle the deployment, configuration, monitoring and assist clients with utilizing the APM solution.

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"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….

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.

Designing SaaS or Web 2.0 apps? Get to market faster and scale further with Layered Technologies’ the GridLayer Enablement Program

The GridLayer Enablement Program

Layered Technologies is the SaaS / Web 2.0 enabler: recognized as an industry leader; with a large investment in utility infrastructure and a substantial and active customer base of providers. We are in the business day-to-day, actively supporting SaaS/Web2.0 companies. We provide technology that gives our clients a pay for use financial asset that is significant and transformational for their companies and investors. Our aim is to help them deliver SaaS and Web2.0 offerings to the market years ahead of the competition. 

For companies interested in porting their applications to TGL we are now offering a unique TGL Technology Enablement Program. The GridLayer Enablement Program is where the magic happens – where people, ideas and technology come together. The Enablement program gives access and advice. Your CEOs, CFO, CTO, IT Directors and Managers team up with our Engineers, Architects, and Specialists to discuss the porting of new or existing SaaS or Web2.0 application to TGL utility computing. The outcomes:

Deployment: The GridLayer is easily deployed in a highly scalable online service in under 60 days, at a fraction of the cost of a managed hosting provider. 

Reduce Risk: Completely eliminate the complexity and risk of building a multi-tenant application.

Application control: Gain complete control of your application to deliver SaaS offerings to market ahead of the competition.

The GridLayer Enablement Program will be different for each company that participates. Contact us if you are interested in porting a SaaS or Web2.0 product (or one under development) to the TGL. We can help you move your project ahead with an Enablement Road Map incorporating utility computing resources, expert technical and business planning advice.

For more information email or call at 469-252-3490.

Back Story: mobileStorm Inc.

A recent McKinsey survey shows that 63% of enterprise CIOs plan to adopt at least one Software as a Service (SaaS) app in 2007. IDC estimates the SaaS market’s compound annual growth rate to be 20% between now and 2010. Credit Suisse’s projections are even more optimistic: 36% annual growth between 2006 and 2011. We enable companies to thrive in this sector. Here is one story – mobileStorm IncTM.

Layered Technologies, was chosen by mobileStorm Inc. of Hollywood, CA. to enable its Digital Marketing focused SaaS offerings. mobileStorm currently provides a range of hosted messaging solutions designed for organizations ranging from small businesses to Global 2000 enterprises to quickly, easily and reliably create, deliver and analyze successful Digital Marketing campaigns. They are thought leaders in Digital Marketing, the practice of marketing services, products, and other items using digital tools and techniques. The company’s on-demand products and services currently enable organizations to think outside of the inbox to maximize email, sms, voice, fax and/or direct mail marketing efforts. Since their founding 8 years ago they have delivered 1 billion + messages and have executed 500,000 campaigns for a roster of highly visible clients such as Qantas Airways, MGM Grand, Palms Casinos, Carl’s Jr., Squaw Valley Ski Resort and Crobar Nightclubs. mobileStorm is now leading the revolution in SaaS Digital Marketing – highly scalable communications technology backed by utility computing environments that enable automated marketing platforms. Their technology vision is to use
The GridLayer Virtual Private Datacenters to remove the heavy lifting of system administration, networking, and load balancing techniques and deploy a new generation of feature rich SaaS Digital Marketing offerings that reach more people, build brands, and drive sales.

Companies like mobileStorm can rapidly deploy new innovative on-demand hosting and utility computing services providing all the controls of collocation without the start up costs, the commitments, and the challenges. The GridLayer is so efficient, that for the first time SaaS and Web 2.0 companies can scale to profitability without requiring large investments in infrastructure and IT operations. This is the core of the disruptive technology – the revolutionary advance! Virtual Private Datacenters allows for a huge leap forward in the ability to build new applications and implement new SaaS and Web 2.0 systems – where real value is created.

Top Issues Being Addressed at LT PACT

Cutting edge topics include:
- Understanding Grid Computing and the Utility Hosting Model.
- SaaS and Your Revenue Future.
- Is Your Business Web 2.0 Ready? Web 3.0 Ready?
- Permission Based Messaging as Part of Your Marketing Communications.
- Blogging and the Marketing Potential.
- Managed Services vs. Hardware-as-a-Service: what is the difference?

Many of our Industry sponsors (Microsoft, HP, AMD, Savvis, SWsoft, 3Tera, Cpanel and others) as well as our WHIR are currently preparing insightful information for you to learn, implement and turn into profit!

Fight your way out of the coliseum of hosting competitors with real industry power: Gain industry insight to use at your command! 

Register Now (links to