On Motorcycles And SUVs: The Power Of Managed Cloud

By Chris M. Lantrip, CEO and CFO, CyberlinkASP

There’s a lot of talk in the cloud market about the differences between managed and unmanaged clouds. This conversation, I feel, was summed up best in Rackspace President Taylor Rhodes’ blog post “The Cloud Warning Label,” in which he outlined the benefits of a managed cloud compared to some of the “gotchas” of an unmanaged cloud.

In that post, Taylor raised several excellent points. It got me thinking of ways to better explain the differences between unmanaged clouds and managed clouds to customers of CyberlinkASP hosted virtual desktops, and cut through the noise surrounding commodity-based cloud pricing.

I look at it this way: comparing unmanaged and managed clouds is like comparing a motorcycle to an SUV. Both will get you from point A to point B relatively quickly – but that’s pretty much where the functional similarities end.

If all you want to do is simply get from one place to another, a motorcycle may be the best and most cost-efficient option. The motorcycle is the unmanaged instance – a point-and-click, by the drink instance.

But how often is just traveling from one point to another the sole purpose for a journey? That’s where an SUV comes in. Once you need other things, whether that’s bringing passengers along, driving in bad weather, towing a boat, going grocery shopping, taking the dog to the vet, moving furniture – you name it – then you’re going to need something more. You’ll need more room. You’ll need an SUV.

A motorcycle is the raw, unmanaged infrastructure and nothing more. An SUV offers all of the extras you’ll need without the stress of worrying about how you’re going to lug home gardening equipment or that dining room set your mother-in-law wouldn’t allow you to refuse.

In other words, running apps, workloads, data base queries, watching, monitoring, managing is all intrinsic to the SUV. It allows you to do more, better. Someone, somewhere is going to have to do it. It doesn’t go away. It’s not as if unmanaged clouds have mysteriously done away with the necessity. It’s there, somewhere, on every company’s income statement.

The Rackspace Managed Cloud is an SUV.

I’d estimate that 90 percent of companies need more than just a motorcycle. They have things to do and require more than just the raw infrastructure to power their businesses. As a service provider, we work with small and mid-sized business. They require support. They require management assistance. They require access to cloud engineers. They require help with their code. And they need all of this in a cost-efficient manner without having to swell their payrolls and become experts in every complex technology to hit the market. More simply put: they need to focus on their business and leave the rest to the experts.

Cloud adoption across SMBs is happening rapidly. Let’s look at a small business as an example. In Texas we count on our air conditioning companies 24×7. Do you think an air conditioner repair firm is going to build a domain controller or worry about active directory? No. Is an HVAC technician going to wake up in the middle of the night to reboot a print server? Probably not. Yet, an A/C firm has a number of IT requirements, supporting dozens of field techs around the clock, yet doesn’t have the budget to hire an internal IT team to handle these necessary tasks. They never will. And there are millions of businesses just like this. A Managed Cloud fills that void. And if something goes wrong, or he needs some advice, that HVAC tech can pick up the phone and have instant access to the expertise of thousands of Rackspace specialists. Most of the businesses benefiting from the cloud are not IT people. The cloud has to be up and running and they have to get a human on the phone.

At CyberlinkASP, we provide services a level below what Rackspace provides. As a service provider, our upstream technologies, whether it’s our licensing stack or the infrastructure we provide, has to be covered by 24×7 support and it has to be fast. We rely on Rackspace for a variety of reasons – its brand reputation, its security, its performance and its infrastructure. But it’s Fanatical Support that makes the biggest difference. We can pick up the phone and get help when we need it. That helps us sleep better at night. We lean on Rackspace when we need a team of specialists. I don’t have to have Oracle experts on staff. My team can focus on what we do best: hosted virtual desktops. Rackspace handles the rest.

I know my cloud is managed and that it’s being watched 24×7 by the best in the business. I’m able to get so much more out of my spend with Rackspace than just cloud infrastructure – I get a team of experts that has my back and I don’t have to beef up my staff and my payroll to have a fully managed cloud. Rackspace is a force multiplier.

When the motorcycle became available to the masses in the early twentieth century, initial growth was exponential, similar to what we’ve experienced with raw compute power at the beginning of this century. However, 100 years later, there are many more passenger vehicles sold worldwide – in 2013, 465,783 motorcycles were sold in the U.S. compared to 15.6 million passenger vehicles sold. They’re simply more useful and more valuable.

In the end, the motorcycle will always have its place in the market, but long-term my bet is on Rackspace.

Want to learn more about CyberlinkASP and how it uses Rackspace Managed Cloud? Download the full case study.

Rack Blogger is our catchall blog byline, subbed in when a Racker author moves on, or used when we publish a guest post. You can email Rack Blogger at blog@rackspace.com.


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