Interview: Dan Ushman of SingleHop Discusses Cloud and Enterprise

In this interview Dan Ushman, CMO of SingleHop, talks about the importance of his company’s platform in the Enterprise Cloud world.

inside-Cloud: Dan, can you give me an overview of what SingleHop’s product line looks like in the Enterprise Cloud environment?

Dan Ushman: Well, there are a lot of different use cases. One common one is to take advantage of the fact that our platform natively supports hybrid configurations. This means that customers are able to deploy a number of different types of infrastructure through one unified interface, to accomplish an end goal. So often times our enterprise clients will have a mixture of infrastructure components, not just cloud components, but also dedicated servers.

That said, the product that enterprise clients use the most is our VMware Enterprise Private Cloud offering. The solution is custom-designed & built for each client, and it offers an enterprise-grade private cloud powered by the VMware platform. Private Clouds have been gaining popularity because they combine the best features of two worlds; dedicated computing resources of managing their own servers with the general elasticity of a public cloud. The result is a higher resource utilization rate, which combined with fixed pricing, makes it a very attractive product for enterprise users.

inside-Cloud: Which segment of enterprise is SingleHop targeting?

Dan Ushman: Over time, many growing businesses find themselves with an in-house makeshift data center tucked away in a spare room or office or utility closet. These patchwork data centers are slapped together with hardware that was convenient, possibly legacy, growing in complication as the need for more IT power grows. The cost of maintaining a proper in-house data center is high in money, in hours of labor, in productivity, and in efficiency. With a patchwork data center it’s doubly so. Running even a server closet requires much of the same expertise, time, and skill that it takes to run a larger data center, a luxury most businesses don’t possess. It also requires upfront capital investment and on-going capital investment. So, when something breaks, it takes a while to fix it, and it costs more money. Therefore, after the data center becomes too much of a strain on finances and personnel, maintenance usually gets outsourced to a local thirdparty.

Strictly speaking financially, upfront CapEx and ongoing OpEx coupled with the operational headaches are steering many enterprises to ditch their in-house data centers and head to the cloud.

When your servers are in your possession, you own them and can do whatever you want with them. This creates peace of mind in many users. Sharing infrastructure with other companies, as you would in a public cloud environment, puts people off. There is a loss of control there. Private Clouds address that directly by offering an elastic product, with a pure OpEx cost structure. Within their Private Clouds they can deploy any workflow or business application or pure computing resources they need. And by reserving an entire cloud, they have a fixed cost structure instead of a variable one. All of these things make Private Cloud a great choice for businesses.

inside-Cloud: A lot of your products use VMware solutions, how did this relationship come about?

Dan Ushman: When evaluating technology partners, we looked at a number of enterprise-grade vendors. We were looking for a balanced product with a mature feature set and a robust degree of enterprise functionality. Something time-tested and proven. After a great deal of work, literally months and months, we decided that VMware offered the best overall combination of technology, cost, and functionality.

We found that there were great synergies that we could realize by leveraging the VMware platform on top of our existing highly-automated IaaS platform. Automated infrastructure deployment coupled with enterprise-class virtualization, managed from SingleHop’s LEAP interface and backed by SingleHop’s industry-leading SLAs and customer service teams. It was clear that this was the right choice for our customers.

When we teamed up we decided we were going all the way in. It’s great to be able to tell customers that everyone in the company has passed at least some level of VMware certification, from VSP in sales and marketing to more technical qualifications on the operations side of things. We are committed to the enterprise and committed to offering the best solutions we can find. VMware fit the bill perfectly.

inside-Cloud: In a technology sense, how has this partnership been important?

Dan Ushman: The combination of technologies is most exciting for us. We operate one of the hosted infrastructure industry’s most advanced automated deployment and server management platforms. Unlike most providers, we built this operating platform from day one by ourselves, not leaning on any third-party vendors for any of its core functionality. The result is we own the experience and we own the process. Layering VMware’s enterprise-grade cloud computing and virtualization technology on top of our infrastructure made a lot of sense. Through the combination of features we are able to offer clients an overall better and more complete experience. 

inside-Cloud: This big thing known as The Cloud is everywhere. When the dust settles, what will be the best/most important applications for it and how will SingleHop be involved?

Dan Ushman: The concept of cloud computing is all about flexibility and speed. Deploy whatever VMs you need, whenever you need them any operating system, any platform, and any workload. So I don’t think that the dust is going to settle. The concept of cloud computing is not new, but its continued evolution enables much of the every day convenience we’ve grown accustom to. If we need music, we download it from a cloud music service or stream it from one. We use Gmail for our e-mail, we use web-enabled applications for CRM, etc. We have cloud services to sort our news feeds, connect our VoIP phone calls and video chats, back up our photos. Want to play a game? Play it on Facebook via Zynga. The list is truly endless and ever expanding.

The one thing that all of these services, and in reality all cloud services in general, depend on is infrastructure, like the kind that is provided by SingleHop. Our platform makes it easy for businesses to deploy infrastructure for any workload, be it a simple website, a backup storage service, or an advertising system.

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