Author Archive: Arielle Morris

February 27, 2013

The Three Most Common Hosting-Related Phobias

As a member of the illustrious the SoftLayer sales (SLales) team, I have the daily pleasure of talking with any number of potential, prospective, new and current customers, and in many of those conversations, I've picked up on a fairly common theme: FEAR. Now we're not talking about lachanophobia (fear of vegetables) or nomophobia (fear of losing cell phone contact) here ... We're talking about fear that paralyzes users and holds them captive — effectively preventing their growth and limiting their business's potential. Fear is a disease.

I've created my own little naming convention for the top three most common phobias I hear from users as they consider making changes to their hosting environments:

1. Pessimisobia
This phobia is best summarized by the saying, "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't." Users with this phobia could suffer from frequent downtime, a lack of responsive support and long term commitment contracts, but their service is a known quantity. What if a different provider is even worse? If you don't suffer from pessimisobia, this phobia probably seems silly, but it's very evident in many of the conversations I have.

2. Whizkiditus
This affliction is particularly prevalent in established companies. Symptoms of this phobia include recurring discomfort associated with the thought of learning a new management system or deviating from a platform where users have become experts. There's an efficiency to being comfortable with how a particular platform works, but the ceiling to that efficiency is the platform itself. Users with whizkiditus might not admit it, but the biggest reason they shy away from change is that they are afraid of losing the familiarity they've built with their old systems over the years ... even if that means staying on a platform that prohibits scale and growth.

3. Everythingluenza
In order to illustrate this phobia of compartmentalizing projects to phase in changes, let's look at a little scenario:

I host all of my applications at Company 1. I want to move Application A to the more-qualified Company 2, but if I do that, I'll have to move Applications B through Z to Company 2 also. All of that work would be too time-consuming and cumbersome, so I won't change anything.

It's easy to get overwhelmed when considering a change of cloud hosting for any piece of your business, and it's even more intimidating when you feel like it has to be an "all or nothing" decision.

Unless you are afflicted with euphobia (the fear of hearing good news), you'll be happy to hear that these common fears, once properly diagnosed, are quickly and easily curable on the SoftLayer platform. There are no known side effects from treatment, and patients experience immediate symptom relief with a full recovery in between 1-3 months.

This might be a lighthearted look at some quirky fears, but I don't want to downplay how significant these phobias are to the developers and entrepreneurs that suffer from them. If any of these fears strike a chord with you, reach out to the SLales team (by phone, chat or email), and we'll help you create a treatment plan. Once you address and conquer these fears, you can devote all of your energy back to getting over your selenophobia (fear of the moon).

-Arielle

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June 28, 2012

Never Break Up with Your Data Again

Wouldn't it be nice if you could keep the parts of a relationship that you like and "move on" from the parts you don't? You'd never have to go through the awkward "getting to know each other" phase where you accidentally order food the other person is allergic to, and you'd never have to experience a break up. As it is, we're faced with a bit of a paradox: Relationships are a lot of work, and "Breaking up is hard to do."

I could tell you story after story about the break ups I experienced in my youth. From the Ghostbuster-jumpsuited boyfriend I had in kindergarten who stole my heart (and my barrettes) to until it was time to take my had-to-have "My Little Pony" thermos lunchbox to another table at lunch after a dramatic recess exchange to the middle school boyfriend who took me to see Titanic in the theater four times (yes, you read that correctly), my early "romantic" relationships didn't pan out in the "happily ever after" way I'd hoped they would. Whether the result of an me unwelcome kiss under the monkey bars or a move to a different school (which might as well have been on Mars), I had to break up with each of the boys.

Why are you reading about my lost loves on the SoftLayer Blog? Simple: Relationships with IT environments — specifically applications and data — are not much different from romantic relationships. You might want to cut ties with a high maintenance piece of equipment that you've been with for years because its behavior is getting erratic, and it doesn't look like it'll survive forever. Maybe you've outgrown what your existing infrastructure can provide for you, and you need to move along. Perhaps you just want some space and need to take a break from a project for six months.

If you feel like telling your infrastructure, "It's not you, it's me," what are your options? Undo all of your hard work, schedule maintenance and stay up in the dead of a weeknight to migrate, backup and restore all of your data locally?

When I talk to SoftLayer customers, I get to be a relationship therapist. Because we've come out with some pretty innovative tools, we can help our customers avoid ever having to break up with their data again. Two of the coolest "infrastructure relationship"-saving releases: Flex Images (currently in public beta) and portable storage volumes for cloud computing instances (CCIs).

With Flex Images, customers using RedHat, CentOS or Windows systems can create and move server images between physical and virtual environments to seamlessly transition from one platform to the other. With about three clicks, a customer-created image is quickly and uniformly delivered to a new dedicated or cloud server. The idea behind Flex Images is to blur the line between physical and virtual environments so that if you feel the need to break up with one of the two, the other is able to take you in.

Portable storage volumes (PSVs) are secondary CCI volumes that can be added onto any public or private CCI. Users can detach a PSV from any CCI and have it persist in the cloud, unattached to any compute resource, for as long as necessary. When that storage volume is needed again, it can be re-attached as secondary storage on any other CCI across all of SoftLayer's facilities. The best relationship parallel would be "baggage," but that's got a negative connotation, so we'll have to come up with something else to call it ... "preparedness."

We want to help you avoid break ups and provide you easy channels to make up with your old infrastructure if you have a change of heart. The result is an infrastructure that's much easier to manage, more fluid and less dramatic.

Now if I can only figure out a way to make Flex Images and portable storage volumes available for real-life relationships .... I'd make millions! :-)

-Arielle

March 29, 2011

The Rise of the Geek

Whether fact or fiction, in business, sports, politics or the arts, everyone loves a triumphant underdog story, and who could be more of an underdog than a bookish, socially awkward geek? You know ... the ones that were overlooked and under-appreciated (until they made their first million dollars). The history of the Internet is littered with geeks changing the way nearly every person in the developed world interacts with the people around them. In honor of these stereotypically statistical underdogs, May 25 - the premiere date of the first Star Wars film (among other geeky holidays) - has come to be known as Geek Pride Day.

With more than 80,000 active servers and 550+ employees, SoftLayer is essentially a Geek Think Tank of employees and and proving ground of sorts for customers. As I'm writing this, the faint hum of our generators and cooling systems remind me that the next Facebook or Microsoft might be getting started in the data center pod right below my desk at our Dallas Alpha HQ.

Just considering that prospect reinforced to me that the geeks have really done it! The 2.0 millennium has been marked by the rise YouSpaceTwitterWikiMyTube sites spurred on by textbook-definition nerdy underdogs ... It's right in line with Lance's theory of world domination. No longer are geeks merely the Steve Urkels of the business world.

They're successful, smart, savvy, innovative early adopters.

Let's take a moment and explore some of the more polarizing geeks of our day - Geeks who made being a geek cool:

  • Steve Jobs - 500,000 iPads sold by the end of the first week of release. Apple's market cap exceeds that of Microsoft for the first time since 1989. Open Source application development and support is a key part of its ongoing software strategy.
  • Bill Gates - Windows, Microsoft Office, Xbox and their new "To the cloud" focus.
  • Mark Zuckerberg - The Founder of Facebook:
    • More than 500 million active users
    • Entrepreneurs and developers from more than 190 countries build with Facebook Platform
      • Many of whom use SoftLayer as their Infrastructure host :-)
    • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • Peter Parker - Spider Man - Peter has a natural gift for the sciences and is considered by some genius. After being bit by a radioactive spider Peter develops super physical human strength and ability along with a sixth sense for danger.
  • Dwight Schrute - Top salesman for the Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Winner of numerous sales awards. One-time Assistant to the Regional Manager and beet farmer extraordinaire

Alright ... I might be getting carried away lumping fictional characters into the mix, but you get my point.

As a member of the SLales department, I am forever "geeking out" over new and exciting applications, products and tools the our customers are coming up with. Although I don't believe I can truly claim my geek badge of honor yet, I aspire to reaching that rank.

-Arielle

PS: For the geeks out there, (without cheating) what year was the first Star Wars film released? Did you see it in the theater? If you weren't alive when it was released, when did you first see it?

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