There is a lot to like about hosted IT infrastructure and Cloud computing provider SingleHop. Everything about the company – be it their extremely transparent SLA, automated deployment system, proprietary control panel LEAP, white-label partner programs, or the extensive detail in which the customer service & tech support system is listed on their website with multiple guarantees about the quality of services – is assured, innovative and fresh.
We talked to Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop, about some new developments at the company this year (EU Data Center, Enterprise Private Cloud), LEAP, Tandem and the much known ‘Bill of Rights’ SLA.
– Dan Ushman, Co-founder and CMO, SingleHop.
Q: Let’s begin with the recently launched AMS-1 facility. Why did SingleHop choose Amsterdam as the site for the new data center?
A: We looked at all of Europe and compared London, Germany and Amsterdam with each other. Amsterdam seemed like the best fit for us for three key reasons.
First, it is the networking hub of Europe. There are a lot of good data centers with good network connectivity and several other options.
Second, it’s politically neutral and there are no major conflicts. There’s no reason somebody from other parts of Europe would not want to serve in the Amsterdam.
Lastly, we found that the people there are very smart – there are a lot of good engineers and administrators that we can hire to work in the data center. So everything sort of aligned perfectly and it seemed like a good step overall.
Q: What are Infrastructure and technical specs at the new facility ?
A: All our data centers are the same, the only difference is how big they’re. The Amsterdam facility has a capacity of 2,000+ servers and supports all of our products including dedicated servers, bare metal, public cloud, private cloud and managed services.
Q: How has the response been so far?
A: 80% of initial data center capacity was reserved by the existing customers before it even opened. AMS-1 has been very popular since its launch at the beginning of June and there are about 300 active customers in data center active right now.
Q: I am a guy who wishes to get into hosting-reselling business, but has very little resources to do so. What additional value can ‘Tandem’ provide me with, when compared to other White-Label Reseller Hosting platforms out there?
A: Firstly, Tandem can be integrated into any commercial billing system using its extensive API. It gives clients the ability to manage dedicated servers and cloud instances that you resell to them under your own brand.
In addition, Tandem comes with a lot of perks that most reseller programs don’t. For example, our resellers get unlimited SSL certificates for free, which they can either sell for profit or give away as a way to stand out.
Also, Tandem is automated, so no matter what you are trying to deploy, it happens right away.
Q: How much flexibility does Tandem offer in terms of enabling resellers to offer customized solutions for specific vertical markets?
A: Our resellers can design hardware or multi-server solutions, clone them and redeploy them. They can develop custom images, customize the server, clone the software and redeploy that on any of their infrastructure, and they can automate it all using our API. In addition, they can execute post-install code from customization scripts.
Q: SingleHop’s LEAP has an extremely streamlined interface and a lot of work seems to have gone into the GUI, unlike most of the other industry control panels. Do you think it affects the decision making process in any way?
A: Yes, I think it does. Most of the reseller hosters in the market are small companies who don’t have in-house developers, project managers and system administrators to develop new products or to automate the existing ones, and then if you look at who they compete with – it’s the other small providers who’re doing the exact same thing – they all offer consult the same way. They all promise good up-time, good support etc. and are very identical to one another and that’s the problem with them. So even little things like a good GUI can set them apart from their peers.
Q: What are some other key features and benefits of LEAP?
A: The idea behind LEAP is that you can deploy and manage any kind of infrastructure in any data center anytime through one single portal which is accessible from any device. The overall value proposition is that you can automate parts of your job that take time and make your life easier.
Web hosting providers can white-label LEAP and call all of our products, research, automation, technology and partners such as GlobalSign, Bannaz, DemoWolf etc. as their own. They get more than just an infrastructure, they get a platform to build a hosting company on. We do a lot of stuff for our partners like writing PDFs, collaterals and datasheets for them. We also white-label banner ads and make their own banners for them. It’s all part of a holistic partnership approach we have.
Q: What made SingleHop choose VMware vCloud Suite for its cloud services launched earlier this year?
A: We looked at OpenStack, Windows Azure, Citrix, CloudStack and various other cloud computing platforms and found VMware most mature from a technology standpoint. It has a lot of functionality developed over the years that other platforms haven’t yet caught up on.
Another reason why we chose VMware vCloud Suite is that in testing we found that it works well with our existing platform too. For example, we can deploy private cloud with VMware, you can scale your VMs inside that private cloud as much as you want, and when you need to make your private cloud bigger, you can just automatically deploy new nodes.
It’s also fully integrated into LEAP and they work very well together. While you can control your VMWare instances from within LEAP, it also gives clients access to the vCenter if they are very technical and need access to the system itself.
Q: Wrapping up, SingleHop proclaims the Bill of Rights as Industry’s best SLA. Please elaborate? Also, how does it vary w.r.t customers’ infrastructure components?
A: The Bill of Rights is very granular and covers specific tasks, like how fast we respond to our customers and how long it takes to deploy infrastructure. If it says that the longest amount of time you will have to wait for a new server to be deployed is X, and we don’t hit it, we will automatically give you a credit for Y.
It is also highly automated. The data center staff have tablet computers they carry around that keeps track of everything they are working on and lets them know what the SLA for a particular service is and how much time they have left so that they never fall behind. Every data center staff gets paid a bonus every quarter based on what percentage of the SLAs they hit, so if they only hit half of them, they get half of their bonus.
Every customer of ours has his services protected by the Bill of Rights’ Standard SLA from the day one. Once they reach a certain number of infrastructure components for mission critical applications and need faster service, we offer them an Enhanced SLA.