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.
Networks and those who build them are incented to become pervasive and unified. Compute and storage infrastructure longs to be consolidated and centrally managed where it can achieve its highest performance, efficiency, and scalability. And customers are increasingly driven by our economic landscape to trim expenses that are not directly related to core business value.
These factors are driving the cloud paradigm shift. And in the last year, we have truly begun to see the pieces shifting to evolve our fragmented world of business information systems into a connected, hybrid cloud ecosystem.
These trends have brought us to where we are today. But what does the near future look like for the SHI Cloud? Well, there are so many interesting things cooking in the Labs (big data, high performance computing, DR services, Backup as a Service, and the list goes on …), but I am going to focus on a few core initiatives that I feel demonstrate the fundamental value that SHI will bring to our customers in the coming year.
- The cloud is the network. SHI Labs Research Fellow Andrew Rosser once helped demystify cloud for me with that simple axiom. And in recent posts I have given ample consideration to the unique SHI Cloud networking architecture, so I won’t go into it in much detail here. But needless to say, while so many other cloud providers are making customers access cloud resources on the provider’s network, SHI is still ahead of the pack, because we segment our customer networks in such a way that resources hosted in our cloud centers actually reside, securely, on the customer’s network.
- Solutions. While we’ve built a high-performing, secure cloud platform, it’s really a means to an end for our customers. It’s a crucial piece that must be engineered to the highest standard, but we know our customers need even more. Our focus going forward will be to deliver complete solutions through our own professional services, the SHI network of trusted integrators, and vendors that we’ve worked with for many years.
- Supporting our partners. Anyone who has worked at a systems integrator or VAR knows that the process for scoping, closing, and delivering a professional services engagement to a customer for an application deployment can take a very long time. One of the main reasons for this: Customers have had to source, purchase, and set up hardware before the deployment could begin. Today, the simplicity of SHI’s cloud model helps VARs, consultants, and their customers deliver a solution faster than ever before.
- The future of the desktop. SHI has long been known for innovation and expertise in managing our customers’ desktop computing environments. From the management of software assets and enterprise agreements to complete lifecycle management services of the procurement, migration, retirement, and recycling of PCs, laptops, thin clients, and tablets. Now SHI is investing in a game-changing evolution of the desktop. We call it, “Workspace as a Service.”
Now, with our first year done and our cloud bearings set toward even bigger goals, we look forward to learning and growing more with our customers in the future.