Posts Tagged 'Change'

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 7, 2012

Meet Catalyst, SoftLayer's Startup Incubator Program

catalyst [kat-l-ist] noun - A person or thing that precipitates an event or change. also SoftLayer's killer startup incubator program.

It's official, Catalyst has launched on the SoftLayer website:

Catalyst Startup Program

You've heard us talk about SoftLayer's ongoing involvement with entrepreneurs, incubators, accelerators and startup events, but for the most part, we've been flying "under the radar" without an official presence on SoftLayer's website. The Catalyst team has been busy building relationships with more than 50 of the world's best startup-focused organizations, and we've been working directly with hundreds of startups and entrepreneurs to provide some pretty unique resources:

$1,000/month Hosting Credit

SoftLayer is the world's most advanced cloud, dedicated and hybrid hosting company. We integrate best-in-class technology and connectivity into the industry's only fully-automated platform, empowering startups with complete access, control, security and scalability. Startups in Catalyst get a $1000/month credit for hosting for one full year. That includes dedicated servers, cloud servers or a hybrid compute environment.

Mentorship from SoftLayer Innovation Team

You'll get connected with SoftLayer's award-winning Innovation Team. These are the über smart guys who created the SoftLayer Automated Platform. They're our most senior technology team, and they're experts at things like massively scalable software and hardware architectures, cloud, globally distributed computing, security, "Big Data" databases and all the other crazy new "best and next" practices in modern and forward-looking compute.

Increased Market Visibility

Catalyst startups receive marketing opportunities with SoftLayer like guest blog posts on the InnerLayer, video interviews, white papers and use cases to help you tell the world about the cool stuff you're doing. When you're out of Beta, ask about our Technology Partners Marketplace, which exposes you to thousands of our customers.

Empowering entrepreneurs and startups is a core principle for SoftLayer, and we're doing everything we can to provide the platform for the next Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. The Catalyst page on our website might be brand new, but the startup companies in Catalyst today are already taking advantage of $100,000+ of free hosting ... every month. How is that possible? We've got friends in the right places:

Catalyst Startup Program

Cultivating a pipeline of amazing startup companies has been easy, thanks to organizations like the TechStars Global Accelerator Network and the other featured partners we're recognizing this month. Without any official "public" presence, we've become a go-to resource in the startup community ... Having a Catalyst site to call "home" is just icing on the cake. If you have a few minutes and you want to learn more about whether SoftLayer may be able to help you build your idea or fuel your startup, head over to the Catalyst startup incubator page and submit a quick application.

Join Catalyst » See Change.

-@PaulFord

November 27, 2011

Change is Good

We are closing down 2011 and beginning to prepare for a new year that is bound to be full of exciting changes and growth for our company, and in the midst of the calendar change, I'm reminded that my two-year anniversary of becoming a SLayer will be here soon too. Has time flown?! So many things have changed in the past two years, so I thought it would be fun to think about some things that have changed since my first day on the job.

To give you an idea of how things have changed in our office alone:

  • Our last office had two kitchens and two microwaves. At our Alpha headquarters, we have six kitchens with twelve microwaves. It's so nice that I don't have to wait in line to heat up my lunches anymore.
  • In the Alpha office's main kitchen, we have a Sonic ice machine ... if you aren't from the southern part of the US, you might not know why this is so cool, but if you've had a Cherry Limeade delivered to your car, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.
  • Previously, we had to share a bathroom with a few other companies. Now we're the only company in our building, and there are three sets bathrooms just for us.
  • When I started we had four conference rooms. Now we have sixteen ... Not even counting the conference rooms in our other locations!

Speaking of "other locations," it'd probably be worthwhile to talk about about a few of bigger changes that happened outside of the walls of the Dallas office.

  • When I started, SoftLayer was run by around 160 SLayers. Now we're over 650!
  • In January 2010, we were on one continent. Now we've added Asia and Europe presences to our foundation in North America.
  • Those international presences have helped us expand our data center footprint. We had three data centers (Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C.) when I started. Now we have thirteen data centers around the world, and in addition to those three markets, we now have SLayers in Houston, San Jose, Singapore and Amsterdam!
  • On my first day, our marketing team consisted of three people. Now we have more than fifteen people ... and looking to hire more.
  • Two years ago, we had around 6,000 customers. Today we have more than 25,000 customers located in over 110 countries!

I've been through a headquarter move, a merger, a huge network expansion and multiple product additions, but one thing that remains the same is our dedication to providing our customers with the best on-demand hosting solution in the world... and of course having fun while we are at it!

-Summer

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December 18, 2009

Peek-a-Boo!

It’s no hidden secret that a lot of older generation individuals are always struggling with technology. From sending an email to signing in to Facebook, most of our parents have struggled keeping up. One reason my parents have struggled with the internet is due to all the horror stories they hear. From viruses, to hackers, to identity theft they’ve almost been scared from logging into the monster that is called the Internet. I honestly never thought I would be able to convince them otherwise until last weekend when my son and I were playing peek-a-boo.

What better way to convince my parents, who live 965 miles away, to give technology and the internet another try then to play peek-a-boo with my son? I immediately gave my Dad a call and asked him to download Skype. He asked me the first question he always seems to ask which was, “How much is it?” To which, I replied free (This got his attention). After a brief argument on how he heard a co-worker’s computer crashed after downloading something on the internet, my Dad reluctantly downloaded Skype and we were on our way (this was about a 45 minute long ordeal, well worth it though).

Nowadays people in my generation thrive on technology, and we crave the latest and greatest gadgets and software we can get our hands on. With the internet becoming more accessible than ever before companies like Softlayer are able to provide the tools for anyone to claim a spot on the web all their own. Companies like Skype for instance have their servers housed somewhere in a datacenter just like Softlayer’s. I will probably never get my Dad to admit technology is his friend, but at least it’s beginning to become less of an enemy in his eyes. Especially since on any given Saturday morning he can login to Skype and within minutes be playing peek-a-boo with his first grandson.

December 11, 2009

Newly Married

So, for those of you who don’t know, I just got married. It was awesome. It happened on the 21st of November in Tulsa. Mandy and I got a chance to see a bunch of our college friends that we have not seen in a long time. Two weeks have passed, and we are still getting phone calls from different people telling us stories about the night. Everything went well, and now we are back in Dallas living the married life.

The thing that I want to talk about is the fact that Mandy changed her last name to Collins. This concept raised a memory of mine from childhood. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I woke up one day and walked into our family’s living room. My immediate family was there, plus some cousins, uncles etc. They were all over to watch some football.

Well, I made an entrance and just yelled, “I HATE MY NAME! Cody is a stupid name and I do not want to be called this anymore!!!” Then, I ran out of the room to ponder what name I should be called from this point on…

About two minutes later, I came up with my new name. I was set on it. For sure, this was going to be my name! I ran back into the living room and said, “I will no longer respond to people when they call me ‘Cody’. I will only respond if I am called ‘William’!”

So the day went on, and I stayed strong. I would not respond to my brother, sister, mom, dad, or anyone that was over at our house if they called me by my “old name”. So, people ended up giving in and started calling me William for the day. Then the night came, and I became upset and cried to my parents. “I don’t want to be William. I want to be Cody again,” and I ran into my bedroom and went to sleep.

Well, that was my story, and the point is… I hope Mandy is happy with her new last name! I guess she has no choice. Haha. She’s stuck with it!

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November 18, 2009

SLeinfeld

The show about nothing that took over NBC years ago is being lived out at SoftLayer. In case you haven’t been keeping up, SoftLayer has a team called STAT and without making you sit through the gory details we use ninja tactics in our efforts to keep the churn rate low. Much like the show Seinfeld which was about everything and nothing at the same time, the STAT group does everything and nothing as well.

It has been said that the team does simply enough to stay employed and we get a little grief from just about everyone in the company but I just blame the stealthy ninja tactics for all that. We haven’t built a bed under our desks just yet but a prototype is being designed as we speak. When the products, support, and culture are so cool why would customers want to leave?

The STAT group has been around since the dawn of time (2008 to be exact!) and have many years of tradition handed down which we must use daily to complete our mission. Some of the traditions have gone away over the long journey since our inception like a loud and proud bell ring when a customer was saved. It seemed to annoy some of our non SLeinfeld co-workers. Those crazy developers said “No bell for you!” There are other traditions that have gone away over time but we continue to make more as often as possible.

Our latest episode is a pretty cool one so we will not be “jumping the shark” just yet. It is one that the industry may have never seen. If so, it is very rare and this makes the STAT team very proud. In the on-demand virtual datacenter industry, churn is defined as, “when a customer doesn’t want your services anymore!” That being said we have designated churn as a bad thing (like Elaine dancing!). A higher churn percentage is not as good as a lower one. Get the picture? From this day forward let it be said that in October 2009 the STAT team and every other person involved with SoftLayer including every employee in every department and our resellers and customers have achieved a monumental goal! The year over year churn numbers are equal in raw numbers and LOWER in percentage for the month of October. When you incorporate the sales growth into that equation this is an impressive accomplishment because typically when you add servers month after month the churn rate grows due to sheer volume. So I say to everyone involved, take a few hours today and go hit some golf balls into the ocean (except Jones), you deserve a break!

Just know that the next time the hair on the back of your neck stands up and you feel like someone is watching you or their might be someone or something lurking in the shadows and Kramer doesn’t burst through your door, don’t be frightened it is most likely just a STAT team member waiting to help you in a time of need or maybe just goofing off in a relatively close proximity to you and creating yet another day in SLeinfeld land.

RIP Seinfeld!

January 20, 2009

Hope and Change

Hope and Change (oh, and make that change quick and it better be robust)

Remember when the internet used to be about bulletin boards, e-mail and other random tasks like keeping up with CNN, ESPN or whatever news outlet you may fancy? It wasn’t that long ago, but after some time in the internet industry I have to tell you that I was amazed today by a real life representation of the evolution not just of the internet, but communications as we know it.

As I write this, it’s 4:00pm CST on January 20, 2009. The significance of this day will be marked in history by the inauguration of the 44th president, Barack Obama. Love him, hate him, whatever your position is, you cannot deny the sheer volume of intrigue as we enter into this presidency and its influence on the next 4 or 8 years, depending on how history plays itself out.

This volume of intrigue has officially impacted the internet in a manner yet to be seen prior to today, but in a manner that is likely to be seen more and more as technology continues to progress. In Softlayer HQ, we have a U shaped office the spans two sides of a corporate office building with the glass walls of the exterior creating the exterior barrier, while the interior barriers are your typical sheetrock, egg white colored walls. In between the Glass and the sheetrock lie some 60-100 cubicles. As I walked from conference room to conference room, I could easily see the video streaming of the inauguration on dozens of our employees computers. Some used the really cool CNN/Facebook stream, some used the MSNBC Stream, some used others, but you get the idea. The fact that live streaming video of monumental events occurs on a video screen; while the tasks at hand are being completed is something that old movies portrayed as beyond belief. It’s really impressive the technologies that are at our fingertips and the abilities that we have to utilize these in our daily lives.

Softlayer had the opportunity to experience a real life “so what does that mean for internet going forward” example today. Recently we were approached by a large scale content delivery firm with the expectation that they had been contracted to do live streaming of the inauguration. With a simple introduction we indicated that we were well prepped to provide you the turnkey infrastructure to accomplish their task. Without going into great detail, the infrastructure included 200+ servers, multiple load balancers, firewalls, and other ancillary devices. With the on-demand nature of our business we were able to enable the infrastructure to functional within a 4 hour period. Although stated to the customer, they had their reservations, but true to our stated deployment times, we met with flying colors, the expectations.

So the real test, Performance! Although still streaming through what is likely to be one of the biggest, most watched events on the internet, Softlayer increased sustained bandwidth north of an additional 30Gbps to our network IP over and above our usual sustained bandwidth levels. Utilizing the 200+ Gbps of capacity throughout our network, we were in a fortunate position to have the capacity and the infrastructure in place to support such a large event. I am sure that the cellular firms wish they had prepped for better capacity in terms of spikes in usage. With many hearts racing in the throughout the office, but especially in the network department due to the bandwidth graphs racing upwards, all of here at Softlayer are excited that we were part of the day’s events. The many many meetings that involved robust network discussions, capacity planning, future growth models, etc. were all validated today with this event. The ‘We’ll never use that much’ and ‘that’s overkill’ discussions have all been put to rest. By deploying 40Gbps to each rack and building upstream capabilities that have capacity not as an issue, but as a planning and growth tool, we are extremely excited about what the future holds in terms of online, internet communications. We are looking forward to the next generation of internet technology as it becomes more and more robust. Our mantra remains firm as the leader in next generation virtualized data center services and we look forward to realizing the things that movies portray as beyond belief.

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