The SHI Cloud: What’s next

I guess I’ve been in a contemplative mood lately, reflecting on the lessons learned during our first year of offering the SHI Cloud. In remembering one of the most fast-paced years in the history of IT, I am reminded of how deeply our industry’s roots are in a tradition of innovation and service to the businesses we support. The customers we represent at SHI are a constant reminder of how technological change impacts people in their day-to-day efforts to build successful companies. And that is why collaborating with our early cloud customers to build a service that fulfills the needs of production IT organizations has been such a pleasure for the SHI Labs and Cloud Services teams.

Although cloud has become somewhat of an overused marketing term these days, what the cloud is and what it represents is a complete transformation of our industry and one that has been a long time in the making. Computing has always been heading in this direction. Just ask the great-grandfather of the Internet, J.R. Lickider, about the Intergalactic Computer Network. Continue Reading…

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Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: The business model and transformative ease-of-use

If you’ve been watching this space over the past few weeks, you know that my past two blog posts have been part of a series of posts dedicated to reflecting on the first year of the SHI Cloud.

When we launched our cloud offering last summer, we knew that interactions with our customers would validate the true differentiators in our service and help us identify areas for improvement. So far, I’ve covered how our unique networking design has helped us build a successful cloud model for our customers, how we learned that customers prefer simplicity in their cloud service, and how keeping track of every single detail of the cloud for the past year has paid off.

Today, I’m nearing the end of the series with the last two lessons that the past year has taught us: the business model conversation and the importance of transformative ease-of-use. Continue Reading…

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Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Keeping it simple and paying attention to the details

In my last post, I talked about how networking from the bottom up helped us reach success when we built the SHI Cloud. In the second part of our “Lessons Learned” series, I want to stress the importance of simplicity and attention to detail.

Lesson #2: Keep it simple

Customers want the SHI Cloud to provide a secure networking model, world-class virtual infrastructure, and appropriate security controls, all backed by a well-designed operations team with a resilient data center of the highest quality. After that, they want us to get out of the way.

Unfortunately, not all cloud providers do this. Amazon, for instance, has developed their own constructs for cloud computing — their own naming conventions, models, and ways of creating configurations pre-packaged for customers. So application teams, development teams, QA teams, and other functional users of IT infrastructure would have to learn to do things differently if they went with the Amazon cloud.

Customers told us they wanted a cloud that fit with their current processes and operations. The SHI Cloud was built so that customers won’t have to change anything they’re already doing. They have virtual machines running applications or hosting development environments, and they do everything in very specific ways. They’ve invested a lot in their own design, and their own view of computing.

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Lessons learned from a year in the SHI Cloud: Networking

It’s been just about a year since we rolled out the SHI Cloud, a milestone that has made us take a look back on the past year to see where we’ve been, what we’ve learned, and what we see for the coming year.

Since the SHI Cloud debuted, we’ve learned what our customers need from the cloud, how they use the cloud, and most importantly, how we can improve their experience in the cloud. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing the five main lessons we’ve learned in the past year, as well as my predictions for the future of the SHI Cloud. Continue Reading…

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SHI’s customers shape the product: The financial features of the SHI Cloud

In my last post, I shared how our customers are contributing to our improvements of the SHI Cloud. SHI has put a process in place that ensures that every single customer that comes into our cloud gets one-on-one attention with us regarding what they want to achieve, what the SHI Cloud can and cannot support, and gives us feedback on how to improve or extend our service.

The first feature on our tour: Giving customers visibility and control over their expenses in the SHI Cloud.

The most common worry we see from customers is the concern that the use of the cloud is “getting out of control.” They come to us with examples of how those within their own organizations (developers or application groups) go to Amazon or another retail cloud provider and spend too much company money on cloud resources. Once or twice might not be such a not a big deal. But all across the enterprise? Those little charges are starting to add up to a significant amount of money.

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