It's been a very exciting few months for me since joining Carpathia Hosting (does that make me a Carpathian?). For the past 15 years the focus of my career has very much been on managed services and delivering them remotely where possible. During this time I treated “hosting” as a commodity and a field with very little innovation occurring.
Boy was I wrong. Now I’ve had chance to roll my sleeves up, get connected with my industry peers, and start talking to our customers I see just what an exciting evolution or perhaps revolution is occurring inside the hosting business.
The first area I should mention is facilities/datacenter design itself. The last 3 years has seen more advances in datacenter design than from when the concept of putting computing together in a dedicated room occurred 25+ years ago. With the cost of electricity continuing to rise and the difficulty in many locations to obtain sufficient power, it’s true economic factors are driving these changes. We are now talking about completely new designs for datacenters making use of airside economizers to cool the datacenter for at least a portion of the year with outside (non-chilled) air, containing the heat from IT infrastructure and selectively cooling in racks vs. large CRAC units. A high degree of collaboration is occurring in the hosting industry and customers with significant hosting needs who are building their own datacenters. One such community that’s not just discussing the change but driving them, is Data Center Pulse. Now with over 300 members in 21 countries and in just 90 or so days of forming, it’s obvious how important this subject is and will become to all of us.
The second area is the dramatic change, dare I say paradigm shift is cloud computing. While the term cloud computing has been overused (read abused), the fundamental premise of providing customers access to IT resources as a services is here to stay. While I don’t think enterprise and federal customers will ever migrate completely to a cloud solution, there are many opportunities for them to use burstable capacity for specific workloads to balance their IT costs and operational risks. Over the past few weeks I’ve had several conversations with our ecommerce customer base about how we can enable them to make use of this technology. One such customer asked, “Won’t cloud put you out of business?”. This is a logical conclusion to draw when you consider the fundamentals of hosting. My take is cloud is a huge opportunity for Carpathia both in terms of building private and semi-private clouds for our customers and encompassing cloud and traditional hosting with services to help manage this increased complexity.
The final area I see changing is the services offered by hosting providers. With the new degree of complexity pairing facilities that now need to be actively managed with new workloads/architecture patterns, customers will need services that move up a level from the traditional managed services hosting providers deliver today. With the pedigree of the Carpathia executive team this is a very exciting aspect of the hosting business evolution for us. We plan on embracing this need with a suite of datacenter optimization services. Our first services of this genre are in beta test with customers.
This brings me to another aspect of this blog. In the past, new services and enhancements to existing services tended to be developed very much like the waterfall software methodology in that requirements went in, product dropped out with little interaction with customers. We plan on shaking this up by launching Carpathia Labs, providing customers with early access to solutions and services in development, offering feedback and helping us to continue to evolve. It will also give our customers more direct access to the “Carpathians” making our product and services engineering model much more agile. More to come in a future blog post…