Insentra & ThinClient are excited to announce the launch of The Jody & Steve Show! Join Jody Elkins and Steve Greenberg as they discuss the importance of partnering and what it really means to transition to the cloud over a 3 part mini series.
TIMELINE / KEY POINTS:
1.57 – Find out how Steve Greenberg got started in the IT business.
3.59 – The whole reason I decided to go to the dark side is to provide that value back to the businesses that partners were struggling to provide.
4.29 – It works when you try to understand what the customer needs and what they want, and what will help the business, rather than selling what you got in your bag.
5.10 – Jody tells how Insentra came into the picture.
10.49 – Steve enumerates some amazing benefits of the Cloud.
READ THE TRANSCRIPT
Recording: The following program contains subject matter and language that might be disturbing to some moving to the Cloud decision makers that have bought into the marketing hype that Cloud will solve all your business needs. Viewer discretion advised. Now, from the Thin Client Studios, it’s the Jody and Steve show.
Jody Elkins: Hi, my name’s Jody Elkins. I’m the president of the Americas region for Insentra. I’m here with Steve Greenberg today, who is the president and founder of Thin Client Computing in Phoenix, Arizona. You and I have been chatting, we’ve known each other for a long time. We’ve had multiple conversations over the years, and I think that we both thought that those are pretty brilliant at times.
Steve Greenberg: I think we’ll find out now what the camera really–
Jody: Exactly. I’m pretty excited to actually put this on camera and share some of these thoughts because I think that you and I both have some, in our companies, the industry, in general, but it’s certainly our companies, have some interesting perspectives on where the industry is and where customers can get value, why customers maybe can’t get value sometimes. I’m pretty excited to put that down on a recording.
Steve: I am too. Now, this is our twentieth year in business as Thin Client Computing. I started the company because I was so excited about Citrix and virtualization. What I accomplished as an IT director, with this new little technology called Citrix and later VMware, and all these other technologies, it just keeps getting faster and faster, and better. Now the pieces is unbelievable.
As I’m the old senior guy with the gray beard, I really want to hand off some of that information and pass on some of those lessons, and apply them to what we’re facing now with large scale Cloud computing.
Jody: Tell me a little bit about why you got into this business to begin with.
Steve: Well, basically, if you’re a hopeless geek, you have to find an excuse to do these technical things all day long, and constantly challenge yourself. But, really, it’s the excitement of technology and watching it transform a business. I got in very early with Citrix. It was a brand new company, and I worked at Sun Source International. We were looking for solution to bring applications across big distances, and across platforms, and we found this tiny little company called Citrix. It just did some great stuff for the organisation. It fed that geek side of me, where you could really go techie, and also make really big changes for an organisation.
I left my job and started a partner. Started a reseller consulting firm, and it’s twenty years later. It’s just been a blast the whole time. Riding with the ever increasing faster wave of technology and being able to do bigger and better things from 24/7 critical hospital environments, to finance, utility, nuclear power plants. We do all kinds of things and it never stops being fun.
Steve: How about you, Jody? You got a bunch of roles. You’ve been C-level, IT management, you’ve run a partner provider consulting firm, and now you’re with Insentra, which is a new twist on things.
Jody: Yes. Twentyfive years in the industry, I spent the first eighteen of those in the client’s side. I was a technology engineer way back in the day. I’m not so technical anymore, but the last ten years or so, I was in the executive management level of IT, VP of IT and CIO. I had a lot of success there. I then moved on and went to the partner community, as you know. I ran a fairly large partner in Southern California for six years, took that business from 10 million to 45 million.
Steve: You also talked about how as the customer you felt like you weren’t always getting the best result or the full value. What was it like going into the partner side of that point?
Jody: My whole proposition, the whole reason I decided to go to the other side, the dark side as I call it, is so that I could actually, hopefully, provide that value back to the businesses that I struggle to provide and I saw that partners were struggling to provide.
I thought that there was a business model there. I thought that there was an opportunity for improvement in that business model, and I wanted to try and accomplish that. Did that well, offered value to a lot of customers. We had a lot of growth, we kept customers. We were delivering more value.
Steve: One of the things that we talked about is it works when you try to understand what the customer needs and what they want, and what will help the business, rather than selling what you got in your bag.
Jody: Absolutely, that’s the challenges in the partner community. The partner’s trying to manage the vendor expectations that they have relationships with, and quotas that they have to sell with what the client actually needs, and the time that the client will actually give, and the time that your partner can spend on a client. There’s always gaps that don’t lend themselves to adding value, and you got to plug those gaps in order to do it.
Steve: You’re able to do that and have a big success, but how did the Insentra thing come around? This is more of the Cloud world, the new world, the new emerging international partnership type thing.
Jody: [00:05:10] There’s two pieces to that. There’s Cloud and emerging technologies, but the more impactful piece for Insentra is actually what I was just describing but focused on partners. What I was trying to do with a single partner, and what you’ve been trying to do with a single partner in adding that value, Insentra is all about taking that same approach, specifically and only through the partner community to enable more partners to deliver that value. It was a natural fit for me. Quite frankly, I was lucky to meet the people I met. And here we are having a lot of success now, globally.
Steve: I agree. Our work with Insentra over the year plus, that we’ve been together, has really accomplished exactly that. You’ve taken a qualified skilled established partner and extended the reach, and allowed us to do more services, more 24/7 type offerings. It’s been a great, great partnership.
Jody: Yes, great. We feel the same way, thank you.
Jody: Steve, let’s talk a little bit about Cloud. Is it really anything different than we’ve seen before?
Steve: Well, what comes to mind is the phrase, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” Clearly, Cloud, especially public Cloud computing, is a very different animal, but the deeper I get into it, I bring customers to Cloud, apply our methodologies to Cloud, I find it’s very much the same while it is very much different. I’m going to give you the consulting answer of, it depends. [laughs]
Jody: It’s interesting. Over the years, there’s all these just continual new emerging technologies. Between the two of us, we’ve probably seen at least half a dozen major trends or shifts in technology, emerging technologies, VDI being a prime example. Something that you and I both have a lot of experience with. It’s always interesting to me that every new trend comes with an incredible amount of promise, and every new trend also comes with an incredible amount of complexity.
Steve: I’m sorry, but an incredible amount of total bull–
Steve: VDi was a great wave. In many ways it was the same thing. It was nothing new and something very important, but we spent more time explaining what it really means to customers than not because there was this vendor. Cloud has tremendous promise, but it’s sort of like VDI on steroids. Where every big vendor is so invested in switching to a subscription model, they’re blowing this message out. They’re actually missing what’s best about Cloud in the effort to make it sound like it’s so simple.
Jody: I think you’re spot on. Really, it’s still no different. That is a massive marketing plan. Really, what Cloud is is the same things we’ve been doing, particularly, since virtualization came into play. But it’s marketed in a way– and you said this to me the other day, is that it’s just easy to buy. That’s really what they’ve gone after. I was thinking about this after we chatted. I think what’s interesting to me is if you market a solution as directly to consumers as they are marketing Cloud, and you market that heavily, you’re sort of precluded from talking about any of the complexity that’s involved in it.
I think that puts customers in a really difficult position because for the first time they now have C-levels that don’t know anything about technology. Watching a commercial about Azure Cloud, or AWS, or Google, whatever it is, and coming away from a thirty second spot feeling like they can make their business do anything just by going to the Cloud.
Steve: You hit the nail on the head with this because there’s tremendous positive benefit with Cloud, but it is being pushed as a marketing message. What’s being emphasized is the ease in how you get rid of all its complexities. That’s just not true. Now, Cloud has tremendous promise. It’s an excellent innovation in economy of scale, in making things simple, potentially cost-effective but it’s not inherently cheaper. It does not change any discipline that you need to be successful in IT.
Jody: Agreed. What’s really interesting is, I think, multiple points there. First of all, you look at the reasons customers are adopting Cloud or want to adopt Cloud. Number one, security is nowhere in that list of top fifteen reasons, and for good reason. And then two, the cost associated with Cloud. Going to Cloud, initially, for a lot of organisations multiple years ago was a shift, the desired shift CapEx to OpEx. That made a whole lot of sense. That has shifted over the last number of years.
Steve: It is interesting.
Jody: Companies have really hoarded cash. Now, it’s still a value to some organisations, but more and more organisations say, “I’d rather spend the cap.” That’s shifted a little bit. What I would say to people is, “If you have unlimited funds and you don’t care about security, then you probably don’t need to listen to any of this, and you probably don’t need help with Cloud.” But if you care about those two things, you absolutely need a lot of help with Cloud from various focused experts because it’s not what it seems. It’s not that easy.
Steve: The true benefits of Cloud are not really what they’re marketing. They’re kind of pushing the ease, the subscription, implications that it cost less, not really true. There are some amazing benefits of the Cloud, specifically, when you’re looking at geographic disbursement, trying to extend your reach to new geos, trying to get redundancy, perhaps acquiring companies, expanding markets, taking on employees in other places. There’s huge benefits. That’s really hard to do that the old way.
I would say, at the same time, if you’re a small, medium business with a data center, and it works fine, there’s not a lot of benefit to pick it up and move it. You’ve got to understand what the Cloud’s bringing and where it really shines.
Jody: Agreed. I see a lot of customers. The number one reason customers, particularly in the SMB and mid-market space, are wanting to go to the Cloud is rapid access to infrastructure. That’s the number one based on scales assessment earlier this year. Great access, great opportunity to actually get that access quickly. The perception seems to be, “Well, I just logon to Azure or AWS, or insert Cloud platform here, and I create my VM.” You can absolutely do that. You can absolutely deploy your application in a matter of minutes sometimes. What they don’t tell you, unless you go and read the manual, which nobody does anymore–
Steve: It’s there, and it also changes every ten minutes.
Jody: Changes every ten minutes, that’s right. What you’ll end up with is a very insecure VM.
Steve: That’s exactly the point. That’s one of the number one things if you take all of your training and the instincts you’ve evolved as an IT guy. One example would be, IT people often have to fight for budget. They have to justify that next year I’ll need to be able to spend this. All of your training and all of your history tells you, “Get the biggest servers I can. Get the most storage I can because I’m going to have to beat some need down the road.”
Cloud is 180% the opposite. If you go in and start creating VMs, they will be by default be insecure. They will be by default be expensive. You will never make them bigger than you need to. You have to look at the Cloud as what it is, it’s a data center. You said it’s attractive to smaller businesses because the access to infrastructure. Okay, if I give you a blank building, what will be the first thing you need to do? Power, then you would configure networks, then you would configure servers. You have to approach the Cloud that way, or you’re just clicking next, next, next and opening up your business to the world.
Jody: To that point, just Google. We see customers in that situation all the time, but you can absolutely Google those. There’s an unlimited number of horror stories where customers have absolutely fired up processing within any number of Clouds because it was cheap and it was easy, and it was fast. Fast forward down the road, sixty days, and they get a bill for $25,000 in a single month.
There are ways to do things that make a whole lot of sense purely from a cost perspective. A great example is it changes so fast, the PaaS platform versus IaaS platform is a massive one, particularly with Azure. That is changing rapidly these days. The difference there is if you can use PaaS, it’s $35 a month. If you don’t use PaaS or can’t use PaaS, that cost us $350 a month. It’s a very significant difference.
Steve: To bring it back, is Cloud something new? Is it really something different? It really is different, but it requires certain kinds of disciplines that really haven’t changed. Correct practices, but they’re done differently up there. We’ll talk about that at more length as well.
Jody: Great. Thin Client, I know, is focused in that area and can really help your customers get there in a more effective and cost-effective way.
Steve: Bring it back, is Cloud something brand new or the same old thing? It’s really kind of both. We have to look at the specialties and the details, and how to do it right.
Steve: In the next segment, we’ll do that. We’ll jump in to Microsoft Azure and learn more about the details of how it all works.
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ABOUT JODY ELKINS
President- Americas at Insentra
ABOUT STEVE GREENBERG
President, Thin Client Computing
Founder of Thin Client Computing, a leading provider of advanced Citrix virtualization solutions to progressive Enterprises. A pioneer and innovator in advanced deployments of Citrix technologies he has been active in remote computing and virtualization since 1992. Recent clients include American Express, Mayo Clinic, PetsMart, Scottsdale Community College and Cox Communications.
Mr. Greenberg is a popular public speaker who has presented at Synergy, Geek Speak Live! and BriForum. He has published white papers, research studies and informational articles and has received both the Microsoft MVP and Citrix CTP awards.