Tag Archives: scale computing

The Cherry On Top

IT departments are cost centers. Technology is necessary to do business in the 21st century economy. We accept it but we should also do our best to control our costs in acquiring the technology we need. Too often IT spending can get out of control and we end up with lots of pricey extra features and functions that we don’t really need. How does this happen so easily? Let me explain with couple metaphors.

On a hot summer day you may feel like having some ice cream to cool off. You order two scoops or your favorite flavor and the ice cream vendor asks if you would like whipped cream and a cherry on top. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. You didn’t know you needed it or even thought about it until the vendor mentioned it. It is available at no extra charge, so why not? Well, whether you get it or not, the cost is already factored into the price of the ice cream. You end up paying for it whether you use it or not.

Maybe you are just someone who lives for the whipped cream and cherry, so let me try another metaphor, the McRib. The McRib is a pork sandwich from McDonalds that has barbecue sauce and is roughly rib shaped. It seems like people love or hate the McRib but when it comes down to it, it is just a pork sandwich. I happen to like it and think it is very tasty. I have no illusions about it being equal to a slow cooked, succulent rack of ribs, but if I were hungry it meets the need. I don’t need to spend $20 on a rack of ribs every time I am hungry. I can be perfectly fine with a McRib for a few bucks.

In business expenditures, we rarely need the whipped cream and cherry or the $20 rack of ribs. Instead, we need to control costs everywhere we can to prop up the bottom line. Make sure you are looking closely at the real needs of the IT infrastructure and that you are not wasting money on unnecessary features, products, and services. Be careful though, because being frugal should not prevent you from investing in new technologies. In many cases, new technologies can be a better investment in lowering costs than holding on to older technologies.

Technology changes quickly.  From mainframes to servers, from virtualization to cloud, it can be harder to change our habits and way of thinking than it can be to change our hardware and software. We’d once gotten used to the idea that IT had to be complicated and now, as traditional virtualization gives way to hyperconverged infrastructure which will give way to hybrid cloud, many struggle to adapt. Software, hardware, virtualization, and storage no longer have to be the separate, complex components they once were.

Take a good look at your current expenditures on servers, SANs, hypervisors, and especially software licensing on infrastructure and then compare to a hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) solution like HC3 from Scale Computing. Don’t buy another SAN and hypervisor, no matter how much whipped cream and cherries the vendors put on top, until you see what HCI can do and what it can save you. Take a look at how HCI is making hybrid cloud and hybrid IT more accessible to business of all sizes. That’s the only way your next IT investment story is going to have a happy ending.

 

HC3 Cloud Unity with Google Cloud Platform

Today we announced HC3 Cloud Unity℠, a new partnership with Google that has been two years in the making. Both companies have committed significant resources and technology to make this happen, and we’re super excited to announce it

So what is it? Simply put, HC3 Cloud Unity puts the resources on Google’s cloud onto your local LAN.  It becomes a component in your infrastructure, addressable locally, which your applications can interoperate with in the exact same way they would with any local system.

The impact on operations is significant. For example, this takes the concept of cloud-based disaster recovery to a whole new level, because again, those cloud resources are part of the local LAN. This means the networking nightmare that is typically present in DR is gone, and an application which fails over to the cloud resource will retain the same IP address that it had before — and all the other systems, users, and applications will continue to communicate with the “failed” resource as though it never moved.

This also enables you to think about DR in a completely different way. Usually we think of DR as “site failure” — and certainly that could hold true here.  But, in addition, we can now think of using this type of cloud-failover for individual apps and not necessarily entire sites.  Again, since those apps failover into the same LAN, retaining IP addressing, they will work in either location.

Those are two concepts, simplified networking and DR, that we think customers will gain immediate benefit from. In addition, those examples should point you to something very new and exciting: true hybrid cloud. With everything on the same network, an application which may use several VMs can have those VMs spread across both their on-premises systems and the cloud, without any change in configuration or use.  Furthermore, moving an application to the cloud is as simple as live migrating a VM between on-prem servers, because from a networking perspective, the cloud is “on prem.”

To accomplish this we have combined technology with Google, and both sides have also introduced new tech. On the Google side, this uses the resources of their cloud combined with newly launched nested virtualization technology.  On the Scale side, we are using the HC3 platform with Hypercore and our SCRIBE SDS layers, and have now added SD-WAN capabilities to automatically bridge the networks together into the same LAN.

The end result, in-line with all Scale products, is extreme simplicity. These cloud resources are there on your LAN. Any VM can access them, use them, and move in or out of the cloud without reconfiguration or cloud awareness. We know our customers are often running a wide mix of workloads, some of which may be older, legacy systems. Whether old or new, these apps can now run in the cloud with a simple click in the UI.

When we first were approached by Google two years ago, we both immediately saw the similarities of our platforms and approaches. From KVM to software-defined storage, there was a lot that was already “in alignment” that enabled our platforms to work so seamlessly together.

Delivering this type of hybrid cloud functionality is the road we’ve been driving our customers down for a long time. From first coining the term “hyperconvergence” in 2012, to now bringing customers into this cloud-converged environment, we will continue to innovate to meet customer needs while maintaining the ease of use and interoperability that is fundamental to the Scale platform.

Ring the Bell

Happy Friday! Today is officially the last day of Summer and next week is not only the first week of Autumn, but also the last week of the fiscal quarter for many businesses. The end of a quarter can be a stressful time for employees. For some it may mean long hours helping close deals or hit deadlines, but sometimes what is most stressful is when employees are kept in the dark about sales revenues and financial stability. We do things a little differently at Scale Computing.

Here at Scale, all employees are notified of every deal that closes. We all know our sales goals and where we are in relation to our goals at any time. This knowledge lets us celebrate every deal and know with which new or existing customers we are doing new business. It is knowledge that IT departments like yours are choosing HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure and that knowledge is exciting. That’s where the bell comes in.

At our Scale Computing headquarters here in Indianapolis, we have a special bell. A large group of our sales team has desks in this office. When someone from our sales team closes a deal, they ring the bell which can be heard throughout the entire office. Every time the bell is rung, applause and cheering erupt through the office. It is the opposite of stress. It is joy.  

We celebrate every new deal because we know our solutions and services are enhancing the IT experience of an IT department like yours. We know our solutions are simplifying operations and lowering costs for that customer, allowing them to do more with less. We know that HC3 is being deployed again because it is the hyperconverged infrastructure solution we promised it would be. Lately that bell has been ringing more than usual and we have a lot to celebrate.

Now, before you start asking us for our financial information, we are a private company and do not disclose that kind of information publicly. What I can tell you is that if you choose to make an investment in an IT infrastructure that can lower your costs with simplicity, scalability, and availability, we will ring that bell for you. There is nothing that motivates us more to keep building bigger and better solutions than knowing we’re helping customers like you make IT better. Here’s to another happy end of quarter for your business and ours. Ding Ding.

You Have Questions, We Have Answers

Hyperconverged infrastructure is a fairly new but rapidly growing technology. It’s natural to want to research new technologies like hyperconvergence and unless you are an insider, you likely have questions. Here at Scale Computing, we are experts in hyperconverged infrastructure. We were not only an early innovator in hyperconvergence but we were the first to combine a purpose built hypervisor with a hypervisor-embedded storage system designed specifically for hyperconverged infrastructure.

Between our Product Team, our R&D Team, our Systems Engineers, our ScaleCare Support Team, and really everyone else, we have the expertise you need to learn whether hyperconvergence is right for your IT department. Our award-winning HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure solution is not only one of the most innovative, but definitely the easiest to use. It is so easy to use, in fact, that not everyone can believe it.  We are here to assure you that it is real and we’ll answer all your questions to prove it.

We’ve taken the time to compile some our most frequently asked questions into our helpful new FAQ for HC3. Hopefully this document helps answer some of your initial questions. As you can imagine, we get a variety of questions ranging from general hyperconvergence concepts to specific questions about third party solutions. If you don’t find an answer in the FAQ, we’ll be happy to answer your questions by email, phone, or in person at one of the many events we host or attend.

If you are an existing customer, new customer, or just extra curious, we also have put together our helpful new FAQ for ScaleCare Support. This document will answer nearly all your questions about our expert support, how to use it, and what’s included. Our ScaleCare Support Engineers are experts at everything HC3 and much more. We are happy to help answer any questions about your new or existing HC3 system.

There is no such thing as a stupid question, especially when it is about new technology and platforms that run our businesses and industries. Feel free to ask away. Contact us at 877-SCALE-59 or info@scalecomputing.com.

 

Trust Me, I’m a Doctor

Okay, I’m not really a doctor, but my nickname here at Scale Computing is Doctor P.  Regardless, your trust is very important to me and everyone else here at Scale. We work hard to provide products like HC3 along with services and support you can trust.

Trust can be hard to quantify but I believe our ratings and reviews we receive from our users and partners are a good reflection of that trust. Having been involved for several years in the online user community of Spiceworks, we have received 49 reviews from users and partners. All 49 reviews have given Scale Computing a 5 out of 5 star rating. Those reviews are all available on Spiceworks here.

More recently, we’ve joined TrustRadius to learn how our users and partners rate us in a more comprehensive way.  So far on TrustRadius, we’ve received 56 ratings and reviews. As a result of these ratings and reviews, we’ve earned an overall rating of 9.4 out of 10 on TrustRadius. Those ratings and reviews are available on TrustRadius here.

If you’re still on the fence about hyperconverged infrastructure or HC3 from Scale Computing, we welcome you to let us earn your trust. The trust and satisfaction of our users and partners is what keeps us working hard each day to keep improving our products and services. We’re committed to revolutionizing IT infrastructure with simplicity, efficiency, and lower costs of ownership. If you haven’t already, join one of our live demos to see for yourself what makes Scale Computing different.

 

Aligning the Stars and Planets

This week, on Monday, there was an alignment of the Earth, Moon, and Sun that caused a total solar eclipse across North America. Here in Indiana we didn’t get the total eclipse, but I sat on my porch and watched it with my eclipse glasses, anyway. It was pretty cool. Another thing that happened this week was a call with an IT shop that wasn’t ready to adopt hyperconvergence because of too many sunk costs. These seemingly unrelated events clicked with me on a topic I have been talking about a lot recently. When is it time to make a change.

Here is a photo of the partial eclipse peeking through the clouds, taken from southern Indiana and courtesy of Jana Bowers.

Many years ago, my best friend called me to ask for advice. He and his wife were thinking about having kids but weren’t sure if they were ready. He needed some guidance and I got the impression he was waiting for the stars or planets to align. I still don’t know why he asked me. I was not married and did not have kids at the time. I was not even close to be married or having any kids. But, I gave him the best advice I had. I told him, “You are never going to be ready. You will always be able to find a reason not to do it. So just go for it and figure it out as you go.” It seems to have been great advice because they have 2 great kids and make a great family.

The stars and planets occasionally do align and those looking up get to see some cool astronomical effects. However, if your business plans include waiting for a number of factors to align naturally before you take action, you are probably costing yourself more than you think. What makes things worse, is that many of these factors are controllable, but you might feel trapped by decisions you’ve made in the past like the sunk costs I mentioned earlier.

What is a sunk cost? It could be a number of things. It could be some equipment you purchased that has not yet been fully depreciated. It could be an employee you hired with a specific set of skills. It could be a contract you signed with a service provider to maintain some current systems. It could be a specific software solution you implemented that has proven complex enough to dictate many of your other IT solution decisions. The burden of these past decisions can make it seem impossible to change, especially when these decisions have only made your IT environment more and more complex.  

Hyperconvergence takes the approach of simplifying IT infrastructure. Maybe you hired Bob because of his expert storage skills and Susan because of her expert virtualization skills. Moving to a hyperconverged infractructure (HCI) solution that simplifies both storage and virtualization will undermine your investment in Bob and Susan, right? Well, you probably also hired Bob and Susan because they were expert problem solvers and innovators, as well. They likely have the capacity to add great value beyond their initial skill sets. Instead of having to use their skills to maintain an overly complex storage and virtualization system, wouldn’t you rather they focus their energies on improving IT and business processes and implementing a better set of applications?

What about that hardware you already bought? Was it servers? Was it storage appliances? Both? It hasn’t lived out it’s useful life yet so why replace it? Well, you have to replace it eventually. Are you really getting the value out of it that you intended, or is it just another part of an overly complex architecture for which you needed to employ those experts like Bob and Susan to maintain? When you bought that hardware, you probably didn’t know how much you could potentially save by switching to HCI because HCI was still emerging in the market. Could the savings of HCI actually offset the sunk costs of the hardware even without depreciation? They very well might.

And what about that service provider you are contracted with for your IT solutions? That relationship doesn’t necessarily need to go away, but as with Bob and Susan, perhaps the focus of the work can be shifted to more productive activity than maintaining complex, expensive systems. Your service provider still wants your business, and you likely have more power than you think in dictating how their side of the service contract can be utilized more effectively for you.

Finally you may have that one software system that seems to only work with that complex IT infrastructure behind it. Is it really worth continuing to let that system drag so much complexity and cost behind it or are there alternative solutions you can look to that can be implemented in truly software-defined, virtualized environment without specialized storage, servers, or networking?

If you are waiting for all of these factors to align themselves at some point so that you can change to a simpler, more cost-effective solution that will start saving you now and in the future, you’ll likely end up continuing down the same path. Instead, you really have the ability to decide to start simplifying and saving now, forcing those other factors to align as you go forward. As for the eclipse, that happened at it’s own time and place, completely out of your control. With your IT infrastructure, you have the control over when change happens regardless of sunk costs. It’s up to you to align those factors by being bold and making simplicity and cost savings a priority over feeling trapped by past decisions. 

If you want more information about how HCI can lower costs by simplifying IT, contact Scale Computing at 877-SCALE-59 or info@scalecomputing.com to schedule a free TCO assessment.

What Shirts Taught Me About Scale Computing

When I started at Scale Computing everything seemed pretty normal. There was a startup vibe. There were Nerf guns everywhere. There was an open office concept going on. It wasn’t until a few days went by that I noticed something that seemed odd. My new coworkers were wearing Scale Computing branded shirts to the office nearly every single day.

Were there some special events going on? Special visitors to the office? No, it turned out that these guys and gals just preferred to wear these shirts. No one talked about it, and it was not suggested or required. It was just part of the culture.

Ok, at my former employer, where I worked for 17 years, I had built up quite a wardrobe of company branded shirts. Because of that, I did end up wearing them fairly often. It wasn’t the same as what was happening at Scale. People were making a point to wear their shirts to represent Scale Computing. From this gesture, I really got the feeling that my coworkers believed in the company in a way I had not experienced before.

Of course, it wasn’t just the shirts. It was more. It was the shared idea that we could create the best solution in IT infrastructure. It was the positive attitudes. It was the high-fives. It was the encouragement between coworkers that lifted everyone up. It was the cheers every time we closed a deal. It was everything. But for me, it started with the shirts. And I wasn’t the only one who noticed.

Recently when having lunch with a partner who was visiting our office, the partner asked why everyone was wearing Scale branded shirts in the office. What was the occasion? It gave me a great sense of pride to explain that it was just a normal day at Scale Computing. It is more common to see a Scale employee in a Scale shirt than not. It’s just who we are.

I know these are just shirts. Every company has shirts. I just know they mean more at Scale Computing. Wearing my Scale shirt is a source of pride in a company I believe in, where I love working, and where I feel at home.

The Price Is Right

The Price Is Right is of the longest running game show on television and one of the most beloved. I grew up watching it hosted by Bob Barker and it is still going today, hosted by Drew Carey. The show features a variety of challenges for players but most of them involve guessing at the retail price of various products ranging from groceries all the way up to vehicles and vacation packages. The concept of guessing at prices reminded me of shopping for IT solutions.

I’m sure most of you know what I am talking about. You start researching various hardware and software solutions but you quickly find that the price is not readily available. You have to contact the vendor for pricing. Why? Often they can’t even give you a ballpark estimate. Why? The answer is simple, but awful. They want to charge you the highest price possible and the only way to do that is withhold pricing until they have sufficiently worked you over with a double whammy of sales and marketing.

IT is a cost center. We all accept this. Organizations don’t want to spend any more on IT than is necessary, but it is necessary, at least to a point. These vendors want to artificially build up that need for more and more before they hit you with a price because they want you to spend more.

Personally, I hate this practice of withholding pricing. I want to have an idea of what a solution costs up front when I am researching. I don’t need a sales guy smooth talking me to soften the blow of the price. I’m an adult. I know how money works. This practice is all too common in IT solution sales. That’s why I love Scale Computing. We are different.

Did you see what I did there? Pricing for our HC3 systems. Not all the pricing. We have a lot of configuration options and it would be a feat of engineering to try to show everything. Base pricing to give you a starting point. Pricing that includes 1 year of maintenance and support. Why are we different? Well, we just think our pricing is fair to begin with. We don’t want you to have to guess. Don’t guess. Those are per node prices and we gave you a couple examples to get you started. We just want you to get a great solution at a great price.

Can you afford it? We will work with you to get you exact pricing on the configuration you need and nothing more. We can do an assessment of what you need and show you some of the costs of integration, management, maintenance, and support that come with or without our HC3 solution. If the numbers don’t add up, that’s fine. We won’t sell you a solution that you can’t afford, don’t want, or won’t work for you. We think you will want it and probably can afford it. In fact, you might find out that you can’t afford NOT to have it.

By the way, that pricing is available in our HC3 Sales Brochure right on our website. For more information on some of the tertiary costs of IT ownership, check out this white paper, “How HC3 Lowers the Total Cost of Infrastructure”.

City Government Runs on HC3

City governments face unique unique IT challenges, supporting a number of departments ranging from emergency services to parks and recreation. With limited budgets, these organizations look at technology to reduce the costs of the services they provide. Hyperconverged infrastructure is a great fit for city governments because it not only can be implemented at a low cost, but the cost savings continues through reduced operational and management costs.

But don’t just take it from us. These three videos let our customers speak for themselves about HC3 hyperconverged infrastructure.

City of St. Cloud

City of West Allis

City of Noblesville

HC3 is a great choice for any IT organization looking to modernize for simplicity, scalability, availability, and disaster recovery. Our customer’s success is our success at Scale Computing.  We want to help you be successful too. Let us know how we can help.

TSANet Member Spotlight

This week we were pleased to have our Scale Computing Support Team featured in the TSANet Member Spotlight! We don’t really talk about our own support team enough and how awesome they are here at Scale Computing, maybe because if we did, they are so awesome that we’d be talking about them all the time. So, it is nice when someone like TSANet takes the time to highlight how great they really are.

So, rather than try to tell you in my own words, let me give you the link to the Spotlight feature and a couple snippets below. Click the image below for the link.

TSANet interviewed Blake Rodier, Technical Support Manager, Dave Demlow, Vice President of Product Management and Support, and Lynanne Gibel, Director of Support and Professional Services at Scale Computing.

“Our support renewal rate is around 93%. That says something about the support organization. We consider ourselves as a part of the product. A lot of our customers want to come back because of the support they receive and I consider that a huge acknowledgement for our team,” said Lynanne.