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Interview with Richard May of virtualDCS

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CTC: Richard, tell us about virtualDCS and the ethos of the company, what makes virtualDCS unique?

The founders of virtualDCS have pioneered the development of the Cloud Computing industry for over a decade. As one of the first companies in the world dedicated to Cloud services, our customers are confident that they only receive the finest solutions. virtualDCS believe that every business deserves the right solution; therefore our approach is to work in partnership with clients to ensure that their infrastructure is ready to exceed the service levels demanded by their business.

We believe in forming honest, ethical partnerships, only recommending solutions that will benefit your company, whilst ensuring that you don’t pay a penny more than you need to. Our unique approach and experience enables us to provide businesses with highly available services using the latest virtualisation technology, such as VMware. Working with our customers, virtualDCS bring clarity to Cloud Computing, delivering robust services, underpinned by outstanding levels of client care.

CTC: What is your background in I.T.?

When I was 11 my family bought me a Sinclair ZX81 computer and my fascination with the application of computer technology has never stopped since. As technology evolved, so did my interest and in 1994 I graduated University with a ‘computing in business’ degree. Since then I have held a variety of positions including I.T. Manager at a Textile Company, implementing information systems for BT and ICL and acting as development manager for Planet Online and Majestic Design, where I assisted in the creation of online web solutions.

Working at ICM from 2000, I developed a strong interest in Hosting I.T. Services and the benefits of virtualisation technologies. Harnessing this experience, I was involved in several projects for VMware and Microsoft which have enabled the Cloud to be what we see today.

In 2008, I decided to form virtualDCS with the focus of providing high quality solutions for businesses, utilising virtualisation technologies to achieve availability and flexibility, which was simply cost prohibitive when using physical technologies.

CTC: What services and products do virtualDCS offer?

virtualDCS offer a range of services categorised into the four key areas of Hosting, Disaster Recovery, Professional Services and Support.

Our Hosting Services include: Infrastructure as a Service, Software as a Service enablement, Voice as a Service, Hosted Desktop solutions and Physical Colocation. virtualDCS also provide a range of Disaster Recovery solutions, including CloudCover™ which replicates data in real time to a virtual platform, Workplace Recovery and On-site Server Recovery. In addition to our support services, virtualDCS also offer consultations for I.T. projects, such as Private Clouds.

We provide an array of services, with the goal of enabling our customers to get the most from Cloud technology.

CTC: Do you have a partner program?

virtualDCS do offer a program where our partners can resell any of our services through either a reseller or a referral scheme. We also offer a lead registration arrangement in an effort to increase partner margins and to protect them against competition. In addition to reselling our existing services, virtualDCS has also created a unique ‘Virtual Service Provider’ solution, which enables the reseller to create and sell tailored Cloud Computing solutions using our platform.

We recognise the value of working closely with our partners and as their business grows, so does virtualDCS. This is why we offer support every step of the way, from proposal creation to implementation. We also provide free personalised, branded marketing material to help our partners close sales.

CTC: What is the technology stack that underpins your Cloud infrastructure?

Our platform is completely VMware based, with three tiers of resilient storage and physical servers. The platform is designed to automatically move the virtual machines between physical hosts to ensure consistently high levels of performance, with no down time. The VMware technology used also means that if a physical server within the platform fails, the virtual servers will be available again within minutes. Some of our additional platform features include enterprise firewalls and multiple Internet connections from separate providers.

CTC: What does your average day entail?

As Managing Director of virtualDCS, I am lucky that we have now reached a size where the team covers most of the day to day functions required to keep the business running. This means I can spend my time focused on evolving the business. This includes the continuous progress of our ISO27001 security processes and procedures, new product development and working with new customers to make a difference to their I.T. challenges.

CTC: What is your view on Cloud computing and where do you see the marketplace heading?

My view on Cloud Computing is that it is rapidly becoming, if it is not already, one of the most abused I.T. terms in history, covering anything and everything. If we assume that what people usually mean by Cloud Computing is ‘I.T. services delivered via the Internet,’ then I am sure that as networks continue to improve, all services will eventually be delivered in this way. Applications will be presented by software companies through the Internet, where the need for dedicated server equipment and server rooms will become a thing of the past for most businesses.

CTC: A question we ask everyone, what is your definition of Cloud Computing?

If I am giving a definition of pure Cloud Computing, then to me it is defined as I.T. services that are delivered to end users as utilities, like electricity and mobiles phones currently are.

CTC: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?

I’d love to stop companies creating products that are designed to simply break, so that they can charge to fix them or sell them on again.