A Word with Chris Riley, Product Marketing Manager and Evangelist for CloudShare
Here at Fpweb.net, we aim to be your trusted SharePoint advisor. To live up to that name, we develop strong relationships with companies that offer quality third party tools for Microsoft SharePoint. Fpweb.net does the legwork so that when our customers are ready to build out their environment, we know what direction to point them in. We’ll even setup the meeting.
We want to take the time to focus on some of the people and services of some such companies and how Fpweb.net’s Hosted SharePoint can integrate with their products and services. From time to time we identify and evaluate new offerings from these companies and do our best to show customers how to best utilize them.
Recently, I had the opportunity to break e-bread with Chris Riley from CloudShare. CloudShare is in the business of moving enterprises to the Cloud. It earns its name by making the transition to the cloud easy, offering the benefits of performance and accessibility among others. Chris shares Fpweb.net’s enthusiasm for the future of cloud computing, and he’s ready to tell you all about it:
Thanks for taking the time, Chris. Let’s start with what you do over at CloudShare.
Thanks, Peter. I am the Product Marketing Manager and Evangelist at CloudShare.
What is your background in SharePoint?
I specialize in SharePoint ECM and Information Architecture, with a special focus on Governance, Best Practices, and Adoption.
What makes what you do fun?
I was such a proponent of CloudShare before I even started working here. I was using the product regularly, always sharing how useful it is, and what a cool tool I found it to be. Now, I’m just getting paid to do what I was already doing for fun!
That’s what it’s all about! So, how did you get started at CloudShare?
I used CloudShare on a project, and became a power user. As a result, I started having a lot of conversations with the team and it quickly felt like home.
How did CloudShare get started doing SharePoint?
Because of the nature of SharePoint projects, CloudShare is a natural fit for virtualization. Period. It reduces the entry barrier, the opportunity cost, and the cost of mistakes for any and all SharePoint projects. It was a no-brainer.
How does CloudShare work?
CloudShare is a combination of SaaS and IaaS. We take the ease of use of SaaS and combine it with a very agile IaaS layer. We provision full virtual machines on demand, and wrap collaboration and sharing tools around them. We also provide content in the form of virtual machine templates. These templates have pre-installed and configured software such as SharePoint and Project Server. Added bonus: the license fee is covered by the user’s monthly service fee.
What sets CloudShare apart?
Our ease of use and sharing features. CloudShare makes virtual machines behave like documents. Create, delete, edit, and share with ease.
On a personal note, how many times do you say ‘Cloud’ a day?
Ha. Can’t even count. Actually, one of my co-workers just did a post on our community blog about how we try to use “cloud” in any and every way possible. Sorry, shameful blog plug!
How did you and Fpweb.net meet?
Oh, we are good community friends. The “We love SharePoint” crew.
How can Fpweb.net customers utilize CloudShare services?
When an Fpweb.net customer has a production deployment of SharePoint, it would be nice to keep that as true production and stable deployment. What this means is keeping with the best practice of having a dev/test farm handy for all new projects, testing, and updates to the SharePoint farm. Where a company would use us is when they want to start a new SharePoint project, for example. They can start the project in CloudShare without touching their mission critical production farm. Build the new solution, validate its inclusion in the production environment on Fpweb.net, and move it there when it’s done. This paints the proper workflow of SharePoint deployment and expansion. Keep production production, i.e. Fpweb.net, keep dev/test dev/test, i.e. CloudShare.
What benefits do hybrid solutions such as a customer using Fpweb.net and Cloudshare provide rather than a singular model?
As stated above, it aligns with best practice. If you ask a company, “Do you have a production farm?” They will say yes. Then if you ask, “Do you have a dev/test farm?” They will most likely say no. If this is the case, they really ONLY have a dev/test farm because they haven’t separated dev/test from production. The advantage of Fpweb.net production is that your farm is always running. The benefit of a CloudShare farm for dev/test is that if you break it, WHO CARES? Fail fast. Start over. Share. And all the while, keep your production environment where it needs to be.
How can CloudShare customers move their data to a service like Fpweb.net?
The great news is that ALL available methods for SharePoint migration work with CloudShare. So, depending on your type of account with Fpweb.net, you can do DB Detach, move a solution package, or use any of the great third party SharePoint migration and replication tools out there. CloudShare has something called CloudFolders that allow you to copy files from your CloudShare machines to any location they need to go!
What response do you have to the Rolling Stones telling you to “Get off of my cloud”?
“You’ll be all alone.” “CloudSharing is caring.” “Get on mine.” “On my Cloud, there is no crowd.”
What do you like about the recent push to the cloud?
I love change that brings new productivity to the business world. Change is always uncomfortable, but it’s clear the Cloud is not going away. I’m excited about early adopters. I would add however, the cloud is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. As we have seen here, there is SaaS, IaaS, PaaS, [insert your acronym here], and there is production and pre-production. “Cloud” does not tell you a lot about how you are going to use a great pool of technology to improve your cost and productivity.
What are some barriers you run into that keep people from moving to a cloud service?
The obvious ones are security and sunk costs on existing infrastructure investments. And the not-so-obvious concern for control over infrastructure teams in large companies. This opposition will soon have to evolve into an embrace of the Cloud as a way to make yourself, an IT pro, a hero in a company. The other not-so-obvious barrier is habit. Let’s face it, nerds like their 16GB brick laptops, but they will soon realize the benefits of not having to lug it around, and they can show off their cloudskills instead.
So how are those barriers mitigated?
Well, the bad answer is time. But, they can also be mitigated by addressing the IT pros and letting them know that the Cloud is not such a scary place – they can have control, and it can be as secure as their network. As for the other, we just have to wait until the nerds get chronic back pain from lugging around their huge laptops and start second-guessing their decision.
Have you noticed an increased interest in the cloud since services like O365 started raising awareness?
Office 365 has absolutely brought more awareness to the cloud. It’s like a Cloud on training wheels.
What exciting things are on the horizon for you?
Adoption, features, and partnerships. We are seeing great adoption, and not just any old adoption, adoption from users that are in love with the product. It’s one thing to have a user. It’s quite another to have users that see the product as a cool new thing that they discovered. We also have many great new features coming that are going to cinch up pre-production development in the cloud for our users. And finally, we are building exciting relationships with other cloud providers, other SaaS tools, and ISVs, to make CloudShare complete – a whole development, testing, and POC lifecycle.
Thanks again for taking the time, Chris.
When it comes to the Cloud, Cloudshare and Fpweb.net work well together. After recommending Cloudshare to our customers, we were honored to hear about the benefits directly from Chris Riley himself. We hope this has helped connect the dots for those of you out there navigating your way through the cloud galaxy.
Let us know if you have any questions!