As LeaseWeb approaches its 20th anniversary, I’ve recently had a quote from Chuck Yeager stuck in mind, “If you want to grow old as a pilot, you’ve got to know when to push it, and when to back off.” As a pilot myself, and someone who spent his early life working as one professionally, this line resonates. When you are flying, there is little room for error. Expertise, teamwork, and precision, mean the difference between a safe and enjoyable flight and one that could place people in real danger.
While the risks in the field of cloud hosting may not be as dramatic as those in aviation, they are no less real. Much like in aviation, deep knowledge of the field and the right team are important. But, expertise and teamwork are not enough in themselves. They need to be brought together in the right way to provide a framework for success.
When we started LeaseWeb in 1997, I could have never imagined what the company would become. The field of technology was quite different. The internet as we understand it today had barely emerged, dial up modems were the only way to get online, and no one had even imagined the possibility of the smart phone. Access to the internet was limited and at times hard to come by. I remember being in Nairobi after a flight with our 747 and trying to find a way to get online. There were actually no local connections, so I ended up paying nearly € 800 in calling charges to South Africa just to get access to the internet.
I recently moved from South Africa to join LeaseWeb as a Scrum Master. As expected, this was a big step filled with many challenges and sometimes overwhelming uncertainty.
My journey started with the interview process. After two online interviews, I was invited for a face to face interview at the LeaseWeb head office in the Netherlands. I experienced the company as honest and open. I immediately felt at home even though I hadn’t even received an offer.
When starting a new job in a new country, acceptance and belonging are important and this is the very much the experience I had with LeaseWeb from the get go. As soon as the contract was signed, I was welcomed and taken care of every step of the way.
From both a business and an IT perspective, migrating to the cloud can be a good option for many businesses. But, it’s not something that can be done without the right research and preparation. If you want to be successful when migrating to the cloud, you need open communication with both your own team and hosting provider, as well as a clearly defined cloud migration strategy that is connected to your business needs. What follow are 5 tips to help you get started.
- Share your roadmap
Setting goals is everything. Your goals for migrating to the cloud should be closely connected to your business goals. How fast do you want to grow (i.e. how scalable does your technology need to be)? Who in your organization needs what functionality in order to reach which goal?
Select a cloud partner who is open to discussion about your roadmap and its implementation. Together you can create a technology roadmap that best supports your ambitions. Ideally, your cloud partner is a trusted advisor who shares his expertise with you. Keeping in close contact with your partner and sharing the load will also enable you to divide tasks between you: while your cloud provider focuses on hosting a cloud platform and making sure your servers are up-and-running, you will be able to concentrate on creating more value for your customers.
The value of leveraging a third party can only be achieved when both sides understand their responsibilities and expectations. This means communication between you and your partner should be one of your top priorities.
Back in the early days of hosting it was quite common to see organizations struggle with trying to use a one-size-fits all computing or storage service for a range of applications. We’ve definitely come a long way since then, but I’m still surprised how often this generalist approach is repeated today.
IT and business units have access to a broad range of hosting technology – including on-premises equipment, public cloud VPSs, private clouds and “bare metal” or dedicated servers – however, not enough thought is given to the fit between the application and the platform.
A “cloud-first” policy seems to be resonating well among many IT and business leaders, who initially take this approach because it is viewed as best practice within a modern IT architecture. However this can quickly result in cost overruns and poorly performing applications. In fact, many companies leaning towards cloud-first can actually benefit more from a hybrid cloud strategy.
The beauty of a hybrid cloud strategy and architecture is that it forces you to think about how to optimize your applications on different infrastructure options. Hybrid also provides the opportunity to take advantage of other cloud services like content delivery networks (CDN) and managed security services.
Over the course of the past few years I have had an increasing number of discussions with customers and prospects, who already have hosting infrastructure but are considering moving to a real IaaS solution based on a monthly subscription fee. In most cases these customers, who are often in the SaaS industry or offer professional IT services, are interested in moving from on premise or colocation to cloud (virtualized cloud solutions), usually a private cloud due to legal, security, or performance restrictions. The intention of this change is to reduce costs and free up time to focus on their core business.
Customers looking to make the move to the cloud usually either still have racks in the basement of their office, or infrastructure hosted in a data center where the customer rents one or more colocation racks. In both cases, it is possible to make a solid business case for the shift, even it means that the infrastructure needs to be moved from the office to a data center, or from one data center to another that offers hosted services.
To make a strategic move from colocation to cloud, it’s important to have a solid business case. What always surprises me is that the first version of the business case, often only accounts for the CAPEX of the hardware, the cost for rack space, and the cost for internet traffic. As I have learned from working with hundreds of companies, this isn’t enough. To draw up a fully developed business case you need to consider the following points:
As LeaseWeb USA is revving up to be part of the great success that is the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco next week (March 1st through March 3rd), understanding why LeaseWeb is a proud exhibitor is something I’d like to dive into.
For starters, we are excited to share details of LeaseWeb’s services and hosting platform at the largest annual conference of professional video game developers. These gatherings are always an opportunity to have deeper conversations that really focus on the best solutions for their true needs.
We are happy to be bringing a game developer and customer, Citadel Studios, along with us. Citadel is relying on LeaseWeb to host its new game and is also part of the LeaseWeb Startups Program, which provides financial and technical support to high-potential startups that allows them to quickly build and scale their new businesses utilizing LeaseWeb’s Global Hybrid Infrastructure.
When I was younger, I had always envisioned a career in the hospitality industry: luxury hotels, fine dining, and amazing locations where I would be the host to welcome guests. Little did I know 6 years ago that ‘hosting’ could have a completely different meaning.
After high school, I started my education with an MBO+ education in Amsterdam in hospitality management. Afterwards, I followed the ‘Fast Track’ bachelor curriculum at Hotelschool The Hague. And Just last week, I received my Master of Science in Management from the Nyenrode Business University where I was proudly 4th in my class. Over the course of my education I developed an interest in marketing. To me, marketing aim to influence consumer behavior in such a way that win-win situations are created. Ultimately, I see marketing as the department where I can help achieve goals and celebrate successes.
During the final steps of my master’s degree, I came in contact with LeaseWeb through a Facebook post where an internship with the marketing team was advertised. Even though my understanding of ‘hosting’ had been completely different, the position was interesting enough to contact a fellow Nyenrodian currently at the company. In September 2016 I was welcomed to LeaseWeb as an intern and instantly given my own responsibilities.
Rebalancing is something that many of us are familiar with in terms of our personal finances. We regularly keep track of our accounts and spend time considering the right investment mix – stocks, bonds, mutual funds – based on economic conditions, past performance, and current needs. While we rightly attend to rebalancing our finances on a regular basis, it is important to think about it in other areas as well. One of these is Cloud Workloads.
As you gain insight into actual versus planned spending and a better understanding of your upcoming capacity plans and performance needs, it is important to look at your current needs and set about rebalancing your workloads in order to optimize both cost and performance.
While AWS has grown rapidly and occupies a dominant place in the market, many organizations have found that they need to rebalance their workloads to fit their evolving requirements. This rebalancing often means moving workloads from AWS back to either an on-premise computing (hybrid IT) environment or to a new hosting provider. Key reasons this occurs include:
LeaseWeb USA will be the only hosting company in attendance at this year’s SaaStr Annual in San Francisco. The young conference, led by veteran SaaS investor Jason Lemkin, has already grown to more than 250 speakers and 10,000 attendees in just its third year.
This year’s theme – “Scale Together” – fits so well with LeaseWeb that it could almost serve as an alternate company tagline about the way we work with our customers.
LeaseWeb has been hosting Internet companies for almost 20 years. We’ve worked with companies of all sizes including many young companies that have grown exponentially over the years using our hosting platforms. Because of this, we have a deep understanding both the potential and pitfalls of rapid growth.
At conference booth 20, we’re looking forward to talking about a few key issues that virtually all SaaS companies eventually must tackle:
Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have become a part of having a presence on the web. While the question used to be if you will be attacked, today it is only a matter of when. Because of this, it is more important than ever to have a defense strategy in place. But, for all the media coverage and attention any DDoS attack may receive, their purpose and how to best defend against them are not always well understood.
According to the 2016 Verizon data breach incident report (DBIR), DDoS and web app attacks have increased substantially over the last year. Successful data breaches of web app attacks where data was stolen increased from 7% to 40% with targeted data including:
- Credit card data
- Personal information
- Financial credentials
If you want to ensure that your business is ready for a DDoS attack there are a number of best practices you should keep in mind. What follow are 5 recommendations from our 10 years of experience managing over 80,000 servers. If you want an even more in depth overview, as well 5 more recommendations, you can download the full white paper here.