I’m pleased to say that I’m joining forces with a business partner I’ve worked with extensively for the past year and who I trust and respect greatly. Wil Schaffner, formerly CTO of NearMap, is coming on board as a co-founder of Cloud Advantage and his leadership skills, creative problem solving and business strategic intelligence experience compliments my technical know-how and pragmatic approach to cloud implementations. Cloud Advantage is moving quickly to become the premier Amazon Web Services consultancy in Australia, specialists in innovative cloud thinking and strategy, as well as complicated hands on implementations involving hundreds of servers and thousands of terabytes. There are very few companies who bring the experience and perspective that Cloud Advantage does when it comes to cloud. The reasons are simple.
1. We come from startups.
That means we take a “can do” approach to cloud initiatives. Our goal is to demonstrate value by creating cost savings and business agility as soon as possible. There are too many companies in this space who strive to land the deal or plug into a cushy enterprise contract. I believe one of the key wins for big enterprises in using cloud is that it can offer executives and management the ability to reclaim agility for pieces of their IT operation often by start afresh or switching completely. It is a way for them to implement projects from a clean slate, and because of the nature of cloud, the security model, the best practices and the self service nature, avoid some (*although certainly not all) of the pitfalls associated with their legacy systems. Just as importantly, it gives them the ability to do it without the risk of hefty capital investments. All of this speaks to the reasons why it’s important that cloud consultants have a lean and agile pedigree as we do: with the advent of cloud computing, many companies are now simply doing it wrong!
2. We have built software.
As a former software engineer, when I started using AWS and EC2, it was literally a dream come true. As anyone who has done development knows, setting up environments, acquiring resources to develop on and trying out new stuff in an isolated way pre-cloud was always a very hard problem to solve. Virtualisation took us some of the way, but the cloud changes it completely. I sincerely believe many of the new services around today quite possibly would not exist were it not for cloud computing (think Pinterest, Instagram, Air BNB and many others), and that we have barely scratched the surface of what this change means to computing globally. However, every day I come across a new consulting company or professional services organisation who wants to be involved in cloud. The problem is that their DNA is old school thinking about IT, enterprise and software. They want to employ the same solutions but some how tack on a cloud component, which can mean missing out on the most substantial benefits of moving to cloud. Because we have worked for startups and built software, migrated complete companies into the cloud, we have the ability to see the solution in new ways that actually matter, not that jump through enterprise hoops and tick old boxes.
3. Runs on the board
Cloud Advantage together with a leading online map provider has moved a complex web and image processing cluster infrastructure to AWS involving hundreds of servers and more than 500TB of data. This has meant employing almost every technology inside AWS, as well as pushing some services such as S3 to it’s limits (more here). We injected 5,000,000,000+ objects to S3 to replace what was a very complicated Tokyo Cabinet service spread across 32 machines in 2 data centres. We have enabled auto-scaling in a web infrastructure which was static. By harnessing the AWS network cost model of TB served per month, we were able to save hundreds of thousands per year over the old contracts with fixed bandwidth stipulations. We did in house cost comparisons based on real incurred costs and compared them like-for-like to the cloud. This is one of the keys to getting both management and technical buy in. It’s crucial for a company to be able to say with surety that they have looked at the costs in a conservative way and cloud is still compelling.
Having done this in the past, and learned what a real implementation costs in a reality, Cloud Advantage brings this crucial know how to the table on every new piece of work. Cloud Advantage has also worked on smaller implementations with 5-10 servers. We’ve helped companies do big data infrastructure setup and execution. Both founders have 12+ years of hard core technology experience. We worked for startups, enterprises, and medium sized companies. We’ve led teams, worked as senior management, and had to make board pitches for a move to cloud. We know what companies care about when it comes to IT, but crucially, we’re able to go back to first principles to see the real nature of the problem at hand. It may start with cost, but ultimately it’s about business agility and systems that support that. This is the real value of cloud. Cloud Advantage isn’t just another consulting company dabbling in cloud computing because “we see it as an important channel into the enterprise” or some other strategic alignment. Our company is founded on the premise that cloud computing is a necessary evolution in the way computing resources are utilised. We will look at the problem before we find the right solution, often it’s not what you’d expect. Cloud has the capacity reap back some of the lost productivity in IT we see causing so many executive headaches and risks in the enterprise and even in small business. Our business lives and breaths this because we believe it is a *much* better way to do things, and we love finding new, innovative solutions to problems for our customers. Cloud computing gives us the ability to make huge improvements quickly for companies of all sizes. That’s why we’re Cloud Advantage.