Complexity in Midmarket IT Solutions Driving Need for the Hyper Converged Infrastructure; Interview with Scale Computing Part I

IT staff in midsized organizations face a peculiar challenge: it is expected to be masters of the technology in use at the organization as well as being up-to-speed on all internal business initiatives. To accomplish this twin feat, they need a new type of product that takes the best technologies available today, packages them as a single SKU and then makes it easy to install and manage. Scale Computing has brought just such a product to market. In this interview series with Scale Computing’s Global Solution Architect, Alan Conboy, and EVP and GM, Patrick Conte, we discuss what makes Scale Computing’s HC3 platform unique in the market.

Jerome:
Alan and Patrick, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to chat with me. One of your resellers, Strategic Storage Solutions, has been telling me a lot of great things about your solution and how it is such a great fit in the midmarket. So I wanted to reach out to you and learn more about it.

Patrick: Thanks for reaching out Jerome. As Strategic mentioned, the midmarket space is all about a virtualization platform that is easier to use and faster to deploy. In fact, a lot of the things that are important to these organizations came out in a recent survey done by an independent organization called ApplicationContinuity.org.

It had 3,300 people respond to it and it had some interesting findings have confirmed and corroborated some of our feelings about the mid-market as we went forward. 74 percent of them had five or less IT specialists so it speaks to the fact that people are doing a lot with very little resources. Notice that these are not Fortune 1000 guys as none of the Fortune 1000 companies responded.

Another interesting piece of feedback from this survey is that 90 percent of the respondents felt it was critical to keep their key applications and data in house and not running out in the cloud in some form or fashion. It was interesting to find out that they were also strongly in favor of keeping critical applications and data in-house for security as well as data control reasons.

This study confirms why here at Scale Computing we feel very strongly that if you are a midsized company – which we define as a company with 20 to 500 employees – that traditional storage is dead. We also think VMware is dead for the mid-market and that they never need to buy a SAN or a NAS again. All of this infrastructure is just too complex and time consuming for midmarket companies to manage.

I realize this may mess up your research but you never need to buy separate servers again. You do not need to worry about implementing clustering or complex management schemes or any of that stuff. Instead you will buy HC3 from us.

Scale was founded in 2007 and started shipping product in 2009 so it has actually been out in the market for a good bit of time. Though Scale is still a young company, it is not brand new as it has four generations of its software deployed in the marketplace on over 1,200 clusters. That represents between 5,000 and 6,000 appliances, and over 200,000 users in twelve (12) countries around the world who have their critical data on Scale products.

One key item to note when looking at the founding team is that all four of the individuals who started Scale have at one point or another been the head of IT of a small or medium sized company. Scale is all about building technologies to solve for the needs of the midsized IT shop. Therefore it is no surprise that 90 percent of our customers have fewer than 500 employees and 5 or less full time IT staff. That just tells us that we have successfully targeted our product.

In terms of the problem that Scale is trying to solve, it is trying to create a very, very simple and easy to use management interface. One that results in a very quick time to value so that these organizations can get it out of the box and working within an hour with high availability built in. The IT guys in midsized organizations have the same challenges as those in large IT shops: they have to keep the infrastructure up and running 24/7 yet with a smaller set of resources and usually a more limited skill set.

Over the course of the last four years, the overwhelming majority of what Scale sold in the market is scale out storage that is very innovative, easy to use, and enables administrators to snap on additional resources as they go.

But over the last seven months or so, we’ve become the market leader in hyper converged infrastructure. This is sometimes referred to as a data center in a box as it is the integration of server, storage and virtualization, all in one appliance.

In part 2 of my interview series with Scale Computing, we are going to discuss some of the specific requirements that midmarket companies have for a hyper converged infrastructure solution.

In Part III of this interview series, we discuss how Scale Computing drives out costs in its scale-out architecture.
In part IV of this interview series, we discuss how Scale Computing delivers the high levels of availability and reliability  that nearly every SMB seeks in its computing environment.

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Jerome M. Wendt

About Jerome M. Wendt

President & Founder of DCIG, LLC Jerome Wendt is the President and Founder of DCIG, LLC., an independent storage analyst and consulting firm. Mr. Wendt founded the company in November 2007.

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