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Q&A: Interview with Netsolus, Talking Cloud Services and the use of Egenera

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Bryan Ballard, CTO of Netsolus, to find out more about the company and what they are doing in the cloud, as well, how they are using Egenera technology to provide some of their services.

VMblog:  Can you start by telling us a little bit about the history of Netsolus and about the services that you've been providing?

Bryan Ballard:  Absolutely, Netsolus was founded in May of 2000 and we've been in business for about 14 years. We originally started out as a consulting firm doing systems integration, Linux work and project-based systems. About seven years ago, we launched our data center and began to transition away from project-based work to a truly managed services based system. In the last two years, we've continued that transformation focusing on providing our services through reseller channels, with the goal of enabling our clients (the MSPs and channel partners) to deliver cloud services to their end users in more of an automated and self-service way.  We chose Egenera's orchestration platform because it does just that - it allows us to cost effectively automate provisioning and manage day-to-day maintenance.

VMblog:  How has your business been impacted by the cloud's growth in the last couple of years?  And what are you starting to see happen out there?

Ballard:  We've seen a dramatic increase in cloud service providers that initially took away a segment of the managed services customer base. Now that businesses are increasingly using cloud services, they are coming to understand the complexities involved and are beginning to turn back to managed service providers to help manage the various vendors and services and act as intermediaries.  With that being the case, we are experiencing our own growth in parallel to the growth of cloud services.

VMblog:  When was the moment that you realized Netsolus needed to enter the cloud services space?

Ballard:  The defining moment came about two years ago. We were working with a lot of customers to begin integrating cloud services, but it was very custom.  We were delivering VMs by hand, doing everything at a very low level, and started to see that the way we were providing our service coupled with the volume was driving our costs up.  At that point, we knew we needed a provisioning system that could offer the physical piece while still managing the VM and cloud components in a way that would be easy enough for clients to maintain themselves.

VMblog:  In today's cloud world, it's about being able to differentiate yourself.  What are you doing to differentiate the Netsolus cloud?

Ballard:  One of the great things that Egenera has enabled us to do is develop custom solutions for people that don't necessarily work in Rackspace, Amazon or Azure. We're able to take legacy applications and special needs from clients and deliver a specialized solution. Egenera was the only platform that allowed us to keep that genetic piece of who we are, to customize the environment and still deliver a stable, standardized platform. That was the driving force behind using Egenera.

VMblog:  Why should someone sign up for Netsolus' solution?

Ballard:  Speed of deployment is key for us. For basic VMs and physical servers, our provisioning happens within minutes and we offer instant quoting. Resellers can go into their platform, build it out and immediately get a quote to their salesperson. We also enable cloud service delivery at a lower cost.

VMblog:  You initially started out focusing on your infrastructure as a service offering.  Are you planning on adding any other cloud services to your portfolio?

Ballard:  Yes, we think the demand for disaster recovery as a service will rapidly increase in the immediate future.  Outages happen, and with all the headlines these outages receive, organizations that suffer from them experience a lot of negative publicity, along with potentially significant customer and financial losses. With this being at the top of the list of concerns for organizations throughout industries, we are working on plans for not just national, but global availability zones providing large-scale load balancing capabilities. We are working toward the ability to replicate between data centers and use the Egenera orchestration platform to move workloads between sites. We believe that this will also help us compete with some of the larger players while still maintaining the smaller more personal feel that many organizations look for with their IT providers.

VMblog:  Great.  Is there anything else you'd like to add that we haven't covered?

Ballard:  We are also working on the ability to offer a cloud in the box where we'll be able to deliver cloud nodes in the data centers or into client prem and treat it as a natural cloud node but have it there on site for the client. We're seeing an increased demand for this within the banking industry and some of the HIPAA compliance components that are really keeping people from moving to more of a public cloud. As a result, we're working with several resellers to design the ability to deliver a small rack form factor Egenera in a box, if you will.

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Once again, a special thank you to Bryan Ballard, CTO at Netsolus, for speaking with VMblog.com.

Published Thursday, May 15, 2014 7:06 AM by David Marshall
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