It’s Not Easy Being Different

  • Thinking outside the box. Paradigm shift. Innovation. As tired as these words and phrases are, they are ideas that we still strive to embody in technology development. But what happens when persons or companies actually embrace these ideas in principle and create solutions that don’t fit into the industry molds?

    At Scale Computing, we challenged the traditional thinking on infrastructure design and architecture by putting forward a solution based on the idea that IT infrastructure should be so simple that anyone could manage it, with any level of experience. This idea goes against decades of IT managers being put through weeks of training and certification to manage servers, storage, and most recently, virtualization. Our idea is that infrastructure should not need multiple control panels filled with nerd knobs that must be monitored ad nauseam, but that the expertise of IT administrators should be focused on applications and business processes.

    Our solution, the HC3 virtualization platform, targets midmarket customers because that is where the complexity of infrastructure architecture hits administrators the hardest. In the larger enterprise IT departments, there can be multiple teams dedicated to the different silos of infrastructure maintenance and management but in the midmarket there can be as little as one administrator in charge of infrastructure. Our founders are former IT administrators who understand the challenges and pains of managing infrastructure.

    Very simply, we want to eliminate complexity from infrastructure in IT where it causes the most disruption. Complexity adds a number of costs including downtime due to failure, training and consulting fees for expertise, and extra labor costs for implementation, management, and maintenance. In order to maximize the benefit of simplicity for our target market, we specifically designed our solution without the extra complexity required by larger enterprise organizations. The result is a simple hardware and virtualization platform that can be implemented with running VMs in under an hour, is fully redundant and resilient against hardware failures, virtually eliminates both planned and unplanned downtime, and can be scaled out quickly and easily. Basically, you get a nearly turnkey infrastructure that you rarely have to manage.

    This whole idea seems very straightforward to us here at Scale Computing and our customers certainly seem to get it. As for the rest of the industry, including the analysts, our focus on the midmarket seems to be viewed as a liability. We purposefully do not have all of the features and complexity of solutions that target the larger enterprise customers. The HC3 platform does not scale out to the same level as other solutions that target the larger enterprise. We do not support VMware with the specific goal of not burdening our customers with third party hypervisor licensing. We include the hypervisor at no additional charge.

    We are different for a reason, but to the analysts those differences do not line up with the checklists they have developed over the years of looking at enterprise solutions. The simplicity of the HC3 does not equate with analysts as visionary and forward thinking because of their enterprise focus when it comes to IT infrastructure. We’ll probably never find favor with analyst reviews unless we sell into a Fortune 500 customer, and that just isn’t on our horizon. Instead we’ll keep focusing on the solution we provide for the midmarket to simplify infrastructure, disaster recovery, VDI, and distributed enterprise.

    Are we an underdog in our market? Maybe. But you could probably say the same about the companies we target with our solutions. They aren’t the industry giants, but rather the smaller guys who are driving local economic growth, who are nimble and innovative like we are, and who appreciate the value of a solution that actually solves the real problems that have plagued IT departments for decades. It’s not easy being different but no one said starting an IT revolution would be easy.

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