Cloud Hosting, Branding, and Our New Flex Product
“Cloud hosting” used to be what companies called their services when they needed to impress investors. Now, it’s a term they use when what they really mean is “more virtualization.” Okay. I can live with that — there was a point when people finally stopped referring to scuba gear as a “self-contained, underwater breathing apparatus” as well. In a mixed-up world, I’ll always go to the mat for a little common sense in the way we talk to each other. But let’s be clear: in the hosting industry, “cloud” is still a vaguely understood buzz word — not a well-defined thing.
ServInt spent years being very picky about when you could actually call virtualized hosting “cloud.” Each year, some new vendor would roll out a new “cloud hosting” platform, and our engineers would scoff, in Crocodile Dundee fashion, (“Cloud?! That’s not a cloud!”) at the arrogance of it all. To us, cloud hosting meant radical, meaningful, and — most important — useful changes to the way customers operated their online businesses. By that standard, none of the new “cloud hosting” systems impressed us much.
Don’t get me wrong: there are lots of virtualized hosting platforms out there that make scaling easier, or billing less complicated — but it’s still a matter of tradeoffs between various hosting service deliverables. You want near-infinite scalability? You gotta have less management. You want the lowest possible monthly fees? You gotta live with crummier hardware.
Like everybody else, we live in a world of tradeoffs. But with Flex, ServInt approaches the problem in a better way: we put our actual customer requirements first.
That sounds like marketing blah-blah, but it’s not. Our customers require pro-active, fix-it-before-it-breaks management; reliable, high-performance hardware; and total vendor accountability. They appreciate the ability to rapidly set up, scale and tear down their servers. We provide both of these things in our Flex lines, in a rational, balanced fashion.
The truth is, we’ve been providing these capabilities, albeit in a less “cloudy” way, over the last few generations of VPS and Solo dedicated product. Today, we’re calling these products “Flex.” It’s a brand, it describes the increased flexibility of what we now offer, it sounds good. What matters is: what was good then is even better today. That’s what our customers care about.
Perhaps more importantly, today, we’re also finally calling ourselves a “cloud hosting company.” This development is a bit more important — but not because of any incomprehensibly innovative, impractically brilliant product we’re introducing. It’s important because the world has gotten to a point where they don’t understand what we do unless we call it “cloud.” Fair enough. Our engineers may moan about the vagueness of the term, but there it is. By today’s definition, we’re a cloud hosting company. Welcome to the cloud. Welcome to Flex.Fritz Stolzenbach is ServInt’s Vice President of Marketing and Business Development.