virtualDCS has recently celebrated its ten year anniversary, and for us it’s been both a time of reflection and a time for looking ahead to what the next ten years might bring in the cloud.
We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. What started out as a few conversations in a coffee shop is now a thriving business with 16 staff, including five recruited in the past 12 months as part of our major growth plans. Our team is like a family and we have very little churn, which for our clients means continuity and the guarantee of a familiar friendly face.
We’ve had 50% growth year-on-year for the past five years, with one of our customers being a very large retailer with £2bn turnover across 500+ stores. Having enabled their back end systems, that £2bn now goes through our infrastructure.
Another big highlight for us has been working with interesting organisations, like the Royal College of Physicians, getting involved in their businesses and understanding how they work.
Innovation remains at the core of what we do, so we’re always thinking about how we can solve our clients’ future problems.
From being the first UK provider to offer Veeam Cloud Connect Backup (now one of the largest in Europe) and the first VMware Service Provider Enterprise partner, virtualDCS has continued to innovate and push boundaries.
Plans for this year include being the first provider to release a fully customer driven 365 solution – so watch this space!
Therefore, in this blog post we’re going to explore some of the key challenges that we see IT Managers facing now and in the future – and look at how they could potentially be solved or mitigated.
(1) Data governance, security and privacy
According to Forbes, 2019 will be a critical year for data governance, security and privacy. This has always been a key concern for IT Managers, particularly around cloud based solutions – and it’s one we take very seriously in everything we do. But with Brexit on the horizon, data security concerns have come into sharp focus.
Ransomware is another concern we are hearing more and more about. Businesses have always protected against viruses, but with increasing numbers of office smartphones and BYOD “bring your own device” policies, corporate IT becomes more difficult to protect.
Many businesses are now using our Veeam cloud backup service to give them that air gap, which means if Ransomware is on their network, it can’t reach ours and corrupt their data.
For more information and advice on this, you might find these posts useful:
We’ll also be exploring cloud solutions risks Vs benefits in detail in another blog post soon, so do look out for that.
(2) Cloud network issues
Also in the top five Forbes 2019 ‘industry’s biggest challenges’ list are cloud network issues. Digital transformation has seen many organisations moving their workloads into the cloud. But building the right cloud network to support your data processing requirements is also vital.
It’s important to find a strategic partner who can work across your whole business and advise you an appropriate IT infrastructure model, rather than one who simply seeks to sell you a flashy “off the shelf” solution you don’t need.
A key differentiator of virtualDCS, compared with other cloud hosting providers, is that we are not exclusively wedded to the cloud. We have a mix of customers with both on premise and cloud based setups. This provides an interesting challenge for a techy like our Operations Director John, and gives our team variety which keeps everyone interested in different types of projects. But crucially it also gives us an insight into how we can really make a difference and fully understand a client’s architecture.
For example, when J R Rix & Sons asked us to migrate its 30+ physical servers onto the cloud to deliver lower operating costs, we knew exactly what needed to be done. We migrated the servers to a VMWare vSphere platform consisting of three high-spec hosts using HP Proliant servers and an expandable HP fibre channel storage solution, initially with three disk shelves.
Rix IT Manager Paul Codd said:
“This allows us to vMotion across the hosts when demand for CPU/RAM is needed without any impact on our users, specifically the successful outcome we were seeking. … Additional benefits included a power reduction to the server room, which helped to reduce our carbon footprint and lower our operating costs.”
“One of the most satisfying aspects of this project was that we achieved all we had set out to accomplish with virtually no down time.”
Our approach is to work in partnership with our clients to ensure that their infrastructure is also ready to exceed the service currently demanded by their business.
(3) Quantity of data versus GDPR
When we talk to CIOs and CTOs, a lot of their current issues are around the
quantity of data they have to manage. Storing data is cheap, so the tendency has been to hoard it. You can buy a 1TB USB flash drive for just for a few pounds. Consequently, companies have tons of data in lots of different places.
But with GDRP you can no longer hoard data without reason. And with cyber security issues frequently resulting in data being extracted from these companies, the financial penalties are huge. Potentially it could bankrupt a company that doesn’t manage its data carefully.
Basically it’s all a big headache that needs cleaning, organising and securely storing. You can do this yourself, but most companies now choose a specialist partner who can do all this more cost effectively and more securely than they can.
(4) Managing backups for multiple operating systems
Businesses are increasingly running multiple operating systems and environments, with more Apple Macs being used as part of the mix. Apple Mac virtual machine users have had to use Apple’s own cloud backups or a separate system for disaster recovery. Of course this equates to additional cost, time and management, with all the complexities that integration between various systems can bring.
We knew there had to be a better way. So we developed integrated apple failover protection for Veeam, becoming the first company globally to offer Veeam Virtual Apple Mac Replication. Our system removes all the costs and hassle of separate disaster recovery backup systems. It provides complete control over all data, effective protection and flexible backup using Veeam Cloud Connect.
For us, the next ten years will see us become more internationally focused. Brexit will probably generate challenges for some of our clients, but the global nature of cloud computing makes it easy to accommodate and diversify.
We will continue to research the best solutions for our clients. For example we’re already heavily involved with Microsoft Azure, but we expect to see huge growth in that are in the next five to ten years.
As a company we will continue to innovate the technologies and we’ve tried to stay quite specialist with that, hopefully that will continue.
If you would like an informal no obligation discussion about finding solutions to your current IT challenges, call us today on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk