Q&A with Simon Aspinall, CMO of Virtustream (www.virtustream.com/):

What is the Virtustream xStream enterprise cloud solution and what are some recent updates to the platform?

Virtustream is a leader in enterprise cloud software solutions, with extensive experience in helping enterprises move their legacy IT to the cloud – whether private, public or hybrid. Virtustream’s solution is designed to meet the toughest enterprise requirements for security, compliance, application guarantees, consumption based pricing while delivering efficiency beyond traditional virtualization. Our xStream cloud solution already serves hundreds of businesses around the world, with the majority of these users running mission-critical legacy and web-scale applications in the cloud. xStream is available as software or as a service for private, public and hybrid clouds, all managed within a single pane of glass, and designed to run on existing enterprise IT assets and with existing virtualization software.

What are some of the major obstacles that xStream allows businesses to overcome?

Virtustream’s xStream platform helps businesses overcome concerns regarding their cloud computing adoption. Specifically, our platform:

  • xStream enables enterprises to mix traditional IT, put in place on-site private clouds and hybrid connect to public clouds.  Delivering all the benefits of cloud – tailored to suit individual enterprise needs and timingEnterprises can now move legacy applications (ERP, CRM, databases, and 1000s of others) to the cloud without needing to rewrite software – but assured with performance SLAs for mission critical applications
  • Addresses enterprise cloud security concerns by offering multi-tiered virtual and physical security with integrated monitoring and auditing tools for regulatory compliance – meeting the highest cloud industry standards and certifications.
  • Provides peace of mind from our 10 years of enterprise virtualization and cloud migration experience to provide guidance and assistance to enterprises to select the right combination of existing IT, on-site and off-site cloud with performance and service agreements so enterprises understand exactly what they’re getting from their cloud installation.

What are the three xStream 2.0 solution sets and what do they provide customers?

Our xStream solution portfolio includes: private cloud, virtual private cloud and enterprise-class public cloud solutions – available as software or as a service. The xStream private cloud solution allows enterprises to set-up and run secure private clouds in existing data centers with ease, providing all of the benefits of multi-tenant cloud and also enabling hybrid connections to secure public clouds. Virtustream’s virtual private cloud provides a full set of managed cloud services for enterprises who wish to move some of their operations to a third-party-cloud. Lastly, the enterprise-class public cloud solution allows service providers to offer enterprise-class cloud services directly to their customers.  The portfolio allows enterprises to select the right mix of cloud solutions to match their business

Virtustream’s µVM technology allows you to charge customers based on their individual consumption. This seems unique among cloud providers. Why aren’t others offering this type of pricing?

The typical approach to cloud computing pricing is for solution providers to bill by Virtual Machine (VM) and you need to select the largest virtual machine to meet peak demand. This means that customers still pay for those unused resources during non-peak times.

Virtustream offers the first consumption-based cloud pricing model via our µVM technology which maximizes customer’s return because only pay for the resources they actually use. µVMs are much smaller than virtual machines and measured at 5 minute increments so customers only pay for compute, memory, network or storage when it’s required – not by the week or month.

Virtustream’s µVM technology also allows you to move legacy applications to the cloud and even offer performance SLAs. This seems unique among cloud providers. How is this possible?

Virtustream µVM technology monitors performance and delivers compute, memory, storage and network to applications as required to meet performance needs.  This unique technology enables existing legacy applications to be moved to the cloud, without rewriting and to provide performance SLAs so that even mission critical applications like SAP, Microsoft, Oracle and many others can be run securely – and at a higher performance in the cloud.  µVM technology enables multi-tenant cloud benefits (efficiency, scale, dynamic and on-demand) to  both legacy and web-scale applications.

Other than the µVM pricing and performance, what else differentiates xStream from other similar solutions available on the market? What benefits does xStream provide its customers?

xStream provides a secure and complaint high-performance cloud solution that enables hybrid cloud deployments (private, virtual private and public).  xStream also supports multiple hypervisors (Vmware, Red Hat, KVM, PowerVM, CentOS, Xen) that can be managed from a single pane of glass. xStream has the flexibility and elasticity to accommodate a wide range of enterprise IT environments and works with major hardware that permits the  enterprise to leverage the existing software and hardware to achieve cloud operational and business efficiency.
Tell me about your current customer base. What types of companies are using xStream and what are their successes?

Our customers include FMCG manufacturing businesses, banks, government agencies, gaming companies, insurance companies, nonprofits and many more.

As an example Domino Sugar, the largest manufacturer and distributor of sweetener products in North America, relies on Virtustream to meet high demand with increased productivity. After evaluating Virtustream’s multi-tenant cloud platform, Domino Sugar determined that xStream security and performance was the ideal fit for their move to the cloud.

British Transport Police (BTP) is the national police force for the railways throughout England, Scotland and Wales, providing a policing service to rail operators, their staff and passengers. The BTP private cloud and virtualization initiative has allowed the organization to achieve its disaster recovery objectives and is expected to reduce overall total cost of ownership (TCO) for its servers and desktops by £7.5 million over 5 years.

These two case studies display the versatility offered by Virtustream.

What are your thoughts about cloud adoption and the apprehension to move legacy systems to the cloud?
Cloud brings significant business and economic efficiency to enterprises. Until now the majority of cloud use has been for backup or test/dev purposes.  We understand concerns about moving legacy applications, because while extremely powerful, they’re also multifaceted, often requiring dedicated hardware as well as complex provisioning and maintenance. However, cloud technology is evolving and has now become enterprise-class, and this provides an opportunity. For example, we’ve had great success working with customers to move legacy applications, like SAP, to the cloud with huge benefit to the customer. Their SAP installations are transformed by all the economic and scale advantages of the cloud while guarantying application performance and simplified operations.

How do you expect enterprise cloud computing to grow?

It’s exciting that cloud computing and especially enterprise cloud computing seem have really hit their stride this year, and every day more and more enterprises are utilizing the power of the cloud. I expect to see growth both in public and private clouds. However, from an enterprise perspective, I think we will see huge interest in the hybrid cloud model, which allows enterprises to maintain their traditional data center environments as well as utilize the cloud service model for new applications.

What can we expect to see from Virtustream in the remainder of 2012 and beyond?

From a business perspective we’ll continue to add new clients to the roster, and expand our geographic coverage to support the rapid growth in the enterprise cloud market. We are constantly working to update and enhance our offerings, so you’ll continue to see the integration of customer feedback into our products and solutions. Virtustream has also been a pioneer in cloud exchanges with products like Spotcloud. In the future, you will see solutions from us to support the increasing federation between clouds.