The desktop virtualization juggernaut continues to gather steam as more companies choose to use the technology to reduce costs, improve security, better disaster recovery, easier management and work from anywhere. Numerous Total Cost of Ownership reports have been published and the message from vendors to IT departments is clear – Desktop Virtualization is the way to securing desktops and reducing costs of management.
dinCloud has been making a lot of noise lately in the hosted virtual desktop area with its 100 percent channel-focused cloud-based business provisioning offerings for SMBs. We therefore had to sit down with Ali Din, CMO and Barry Weber, CTO to understand if the noise was pure cacophony in the media or were they really creating music, as their tag line says “Delivering a Heavenly Experience in the Cloud”. What followed was a series of questions and answers. (This Q&A was not sponsored by dinCloud)
What is the unique value proposition that dinCloud brings to the table for SMBs? All providers talk about customer service, understanding SMB requirements, lowering costs, etc. but we want to know what are the 2-3 unique selling points that resonates with SMBs as far as dinCloud is concerned?
dinCloud offers SMBs a fully integrated solution to run their business including backup & recovery, hosted virtual desktops (HVDs), data center security, networking, and servers. Our unique channel centric approach allows SMBs to continue to do business with the local MSP, VAR, and SI they have a relationship with, giving them local hand holding and supplemental services to run their business. Our SMB customers enjoy cost savings of up to 50 percent, enhanced security and compliance, enterprise class IT infrastructure and services, and an OPEX subscription model conserving capital.
How does dinCloud help SMBs assess and design solutions to meet SMB requirements?
We have developed a standard requirements gathering and onboarding process to rapidly migrate our SMBs’ IT infrastructure to their own virtual private Tier 3 data center. In addition, our proprietary cloud orchestration platform, dinManage, automates provisioning and migration tasks including creation and synching of the Active Directory infrastructure. dinManage is often white labeled by our partners.
How much time does dinCloud actually spend with an SMB prior to its becoming a client? What is the typical interaction?
dinCloud approaches the SMB customer through our channel partners. Engagement time varies to almost zero once our VAR/MSP partner has migrated the first of its customers, to several days of discovery for larger more sophisticated engagements.
How much time does dinCloud actually spend with an SMB on an ongoing basis once they become a client?
dinCloud’s channel partners front end most of the customer support activities; typically we will see approximately 1-2 tickets per week per customer.
In your view why does an SMB consider a hosted solution as compared to on-premise?
The SMB customer will enjoy enterprise-class infrastructure, security, and operations possibly for the first time in their history - they will conserve cash only paying for what they need, giving them unparalleled flexibility. They will now have IT compliance as well as backup and DR protecting their business. dinManage offers the remaining IT staff full visibility and control of their virtual private data center. No more HR costs and problems with training and maintaining several IT resources. Hosting in redundant tier 3 data centers not only provides enhanced security and uptime, but environmental factors such as cooling, electricity, and backup power are eliminated. Hardware, software and multiple point solutions no longer need to be purchased, supported, maintained, and managed. The SMB customer will be able to leverage BYOD and anytime, anywhere access. Additionally the SMB customer will immediately realize 30-50% cost savings when compared to a traditional on-premises model.
dinCloud has partnered with many different vendors, with which vendor solution has dinCloud seen more success? Why?
We have had a great deal of success with the purpose built custom high density super-computers by Super-micro giving us extremely competitive pricing and performance on our servers. Additionally, our investment in 100% NetApp has allowed us to leverage their industry leading tools (SnapMirror and SnapVault), as well as very efficient replication of data between our data center and the customer’s primary backup locations.
What are the top challenges you face in implementing virtualization solutions?
From dinCloud’s perspective, there are a couple of challenges. There are so many great hypervisors to choose from today and dinCloud offers customers the choice of either VMware or KVM. We strive to stay current with hypervisor versions but coordinating the right time to upgrade hypervisor versions with customer schedules is sometimes a challenge. While an upgrade should not impact to a customer, they are still very cautious about allowing dinCloud to do this.
What should vendors be doing to help you in offering and implementing virtualization solutions for SMBs?
dinCloud requires next to zero support from its vendors outside of normal bug fixes and some assistance in marketing (Netapp and Microsoft). We work very hard to provide a whole solution for the SMB market. This whole solution includes a private cloud environment with a firewall, selectable IP ranges, integration with AD, HVDs and HVSs, an easy to use cloud portal, choices of hypervisors, monitoring and white glove treatment to help the SMB easily and rapidly achieve their infrastructure goals and optimize operations costs and process. We do not just provide a virtualization solution.
What are your top core challenges with the SMB customer?
The SMB customer is often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to internal IT skills depth and breadth. dinCloud works to make infrastructure and operations easy for the SMB customer by pre-packaging the whole solution, by automating the implementation and by offering services to extend those that exist within the customer. The SMB customer is often faced with enterprise level requirements (PCI, HIPAA, etc.). They are challenged to deliver on these requirements. dinCloud’s challenge and goal is to continuously solve for their future problems. The SMB customer faces not only a budgetary challenge for skilled resources; they may also have small budgets that don’t match the typical costs of achieving the business IT goals. dinCloud works to continuously driving costs down, thereby helping customers protect their budget.
Any final words before we conclude?
dinCloud is gaining rapid momentum through our 100% channel sold model of complete end-to-end “Business Provisioning”. We believe that SMB customers have always relied on local MSPs and VARs and will continue to do so. dinCloud is emerging as the “Cloud Offering of Choice” for these traditional regional MSP/VARs, and more than any other market segment the SMB customer has a perfect use case for cloud-based IAAS, delivered by their local and trusted long time IT resellers.
dinCloud, a reseller has become a service provider. As we have written and presented several times that cloud computing is continuing to challenge the channel forcing them to develop and be trained in new competencies. These encompass service provisioning, billing, data center management, customer support and a whole host of related competencies. dinCloud by standard definition is not an IT vendor like VMware or NetApp but it has developed offerings by combining products from established vendors and instead of selling directly to customers is funneling its sales through its own channel partners.
Most SMBs rely on their local channel partners for maintenance & management of their IT infrastructure as well as for advice on new IT purchases. dinCloud is developing a network of channel partners and providing them appropriate training and skills to sell and manage cloud solutions for their local SMB customers. They are - Educating and training channel partners on what cloud actually means and how it impacts the SMBs; Developing solutions and use cases; Providing an effective and efficient pre-sales support to their channel partners to engage with SMBs.
DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service) is poised for growth and dinCloud has positioned itself extremely well. Techaisle's survey shows that there is a growing SMB intent to use hosted VDI as shown in the chart below. The data compares the current implementation versus planning to implement. The survey shows that there is a 46 percent increase (from current 15 percent to planned 22 percent) in intent to use hosted VDI within mid-market businesses when compared with those that have currently implemented.
dinCloud is a good example of what Philippe Fossé, Vice President of Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Channels, EMC wrote today, “More and more we see service integrators becoming resellers; resellers becoming service providers; and even users becoming service providers. This evolution is unprecedented, but is only the tip of the iceberg”
dinCloud has the right business philosophy, market understanding and product portfolio. They are making noise at the right time. They have had some major wins in the past few months such King Hawaaiin, maker of the number one branded dinner roll in the US which selected dinCloud to implement its hosted virtual desktop, server, and storage services to help IT improve efficiency and better manage operations across all its baking facilities and restaurants.
That noise they are creating could well become an orchestra.