I have two daughters. I raised them more or less how I was raised. One lesson I preached as a young dad (that will get an eye roll from both my kids) is ‘when a setback or adversity strikes, adapt and push through.’ This is a lesson I now turn back on myself both personally and professionally with the current health crisis. I have been encouraged to see friends and family adapt to this new normal. A buddy of mine and his wife participated in a ‘virtual’ happy hour last night. My daughter joined a bunch of friends on Facetime to hang out virtually. Instead of a planned visit, my wife is now videoconferencing with my daughter and son-in-law as I write this.

Businesses appear to be doing the same. Local Mountain View restaurants overnight have converted themselves into take-out and delivery kitchens. I just received an email from a Napa winery to do virtual wine tasting. A Miami yoga studio is now offering online classes. A Seattle art gallery has adapted its business to continue to sell fine art. A furniture maker has converted production to children’s desks for at-home schooling. Larger enterprises are also adapting. Many are scaling up teleworking practices that have been in place for years. Online businesses are shoring up their web-based stores and increasing promotions to those sites.

At Nebulon, we too are adapting. We recently began early access of Cloud-Defined Storage (CDS) to an awesome group of customers in North America and Western/Central Europe. We had developed two early access experiences. In one approach, we ship a physical server rack to the customer data center for a physical POC (proof of concept). They connect it to power and networking, login to the Nebulon cloud, run through our test plan, and provide us with the valuable feedback we need to ensure a perfect fit once CDS is generally available. In a second approach, we developed a virtual POC (vPOC). Rather than shipping a server rack to the customer, we have set up server racks in our cloud. The customer skips the steps of receiving the rack at their shipping dock, moving it to the data center, then connecting it to power and networking. Instead they move straight to the Nebulon cloud login, and are running through the test plan instantly. The idea behind the vPOC is that if CDS really is a lights-out approach to mission critical storage for our customers, the POC should be as well.

Then the health crisis struck…. Suddenly we have seen our vPOC become an incredibly popular way to test CDS. Application owners and infrastructure managers who are now working from home can continue to pursue new cost-saving alternatives to traditional arrays from the comfort of their own home office. We expected vPOCs to eventually become a preferred engagement, but the world has profoundly changed. Overnight, demand for vPOCs has grown substantially. We are now building out additional server racks in our cloud to deploy vPOCs. As an example, we had been discussing CDS with a telecom industry customer in Spain. We expected any POC to be delayed as our colleagues implemented local measures to cope with the crisis. Instead we were surprised to recently learn that they have elected to run a vPOC…this week! With no set-up required and the ability to run it from their home offices in literally a few hours, a vPOC was an easy option for them to continue their pursuit to validate massive capital and operational savings.

Adapt. Push through. Approaches for each business will be different, but opportunities for cost savings and sustaining (or even growing) revenue are out there—and who better to provide organizations with real options than their front-line application owners and infrastructure managers.

If you have an interest in reducing your traditional external storage expense and have found server-based alternatives like SDS/HCI too restrictive, let us know. We can provide you a quick remote demo and get you set up with your very own vPOC!

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