Every year, around Thanksgiving, my beautiful wife and I send an email to each other listing what we are thankful for. To make it extra cheesy, we list them by spelling “Thanksgiving”. Without further ado, here’s what I’m thankful for at HOSTING, as the Chief Technology Officer.
T – Team. I’ve been with HOSTING for 11 years. Long hours, numerous plane flights, and thousands of meetings to create the best customer experience are worth it because of the people. I’m privileged to work with everyone at HOSTING and am here for one reason — the team.
H – High Availability. With our upcoming launch of HOSTING Managed SQL 2012 Always On Service, I’m excited to boost our commitment to providing the best availability in cloud computing. The days of simply installing software license keys, and expecting customers to manage it, are coming to a close. At HOSTING, our team works with customers to identify problems and opportunities, and then brings in solution architects to build a highly available infrastructure.
A – Automation. HOSTING invested heavily in this area in 2013 with a focus on getting new cloud VMs into customers’ hands quicker. This doesn’t mean just a base virtual machine either. Our customers told us they wanted their managed services to be ready when they got their device. In response, we ensured that packages like patching, backups, and packaged software are ready to go when customers get their VM.
N – New Portal. Did you know that HOSTING spent a good chunk of its 2013 product development efforts on building a new and amazing customer experience in the HOSTING Customer Portal? No longer will customers experience slow load times or an inconsistent look and feel, depending on the module they are in. If you aren’t using our Customer Portal beta now, you are missing out!
K – KPI. In speaking with many customers this past year, it was apparent that we needed to provide our customers with more metrics around the predictability of their business. Among other things, HOSTING launched HOSTING Application Monitoring — a new product that is fully integrated with our new Customer Portal. This empowers customers by showing trends on their applications over time.
S – Storage improvements. A Cloud Spectator report was completed earlier this year, and compared HOSTING’s public cloud to Rackspace and Amazon. Not only did we outperform them then, we improved performance by launching a new storage platform. Again, I’m thankful for our continued efforts to create the best customer experience.
G – Getting more sleep. This year we enhanced HOSTING Enterprise Backup with greater data retention periods and a stronger customer experience, so I don’t have to worry about our customers’ data integrity. Coupling this with the re-launch of HOSTING Cloud Replication, which provides more alerts to our staff if there are any replication blips, has me sleeping better. I never like hearing about outages experienced by prospective customers with other cloud service providers.
I – Insight from our customers. Did you know that our product managers invite our customers to monthly development demonstrations? We are fortunate to have amazing customers — what we call Market Teams — that provide direct feedback and insight. This enables us to pivot our efforts to remain on target with our product development roadmap, and develop solutions that our customers need.
V – Visibility. HOSTING made it a goal to be more visible with customers in 2013. We did so by redesigning our Customer Portal to offer HOSTING 360° Reports, more monitoring capabilities than ever before, and a more real-time Portal ticketing system to converse better with customers.
I – Iterative releases. In 2013, our engineering team set out to release quicker than ever before, without compromising on quality. We achieved this by employing methodologies such as Agile, SCRUM, ITIL (think change management), automated testing, and more monitoring than I care to mention. I feel professionally accomplished when a customer asks me for a feature and I know it’s already in the works, and will be made available in the near future.
N – Never close. While I wouldn’t mind less e-mail, knowing that we are staffed 24/7/365 with onsite technicians and system administrators that are dedicated to keeping our customers online, at all times, is a great thing! Think about those scary times when you get a call at 2am on a Sunday because your application is suffering an outage and you don’t have resources readily available to execute a plan. That doesn’t happen at HOSTING and is one of the key reasons that HOSTING exists — to be an extension of our customer’s IT infrastructure.
G – Getting ready for 2014. I am tasked with developing and owning our technology roadmap. This year, I’m thankful that we are well ahead of schedule. We are actively in R&D and strategizing on where we are going as a company. From building an easier ordering experience, to looking at how to enable some of our dedicated appliances in the cloud for our customers, we are ready for a big year in 2014.