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21,000 Cloud Enabled Businesses, 1,000 More Customers To Go

3 weeks into my effort at CTERA, I can simply say that it’s amazing to be here and I feel so lucky that they found me to help tell their story. We’re going to have some fun, but before that, I want to explain a bit on why I chose to join CTERA and why I believe the company is so well positioned to be one of the true leaders in cloud storage services. As the marketing guy – I have a number of communication vehicles at my disposal….for today’s read, my weapons of choice are prose and PPT.

It’s no secret that the cloud is going to be big, but the debate rages on about how this will all ultimately manifest on both the deployment side and on the consumption side.  The one thing that is sure is that tomorrow’s IT department will really need to hustle to keep relevant in a world where shadow-IT decisions are made daily by the simple swipe of a credit card.  That said, they are hustling…don’t just take our word for it, independent researches agree:

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So – if the enterprise is working so quickly to provide the same (or better) capabilities, data security and cost-of-deployment as what you find in public clouds – where will public clouds make the greatest sense? One segment of the market that is ripe to take advantage of the ease and cost-economy of cloud services is clearly the SMB market.  Cloud providers can deliver a point-and-click solution to small and medium sized businesses while achieving economies of scale that enable them to actually lower TCO for customers who will never hit that cloud scale inflection point.  What’s more, SMBs are hustling even faster…

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All of this points to a massive tectonic shift in the IT consumption model, where the new IT mantra is “serve, lest ye be served”.  Ease of use and cost of delivery are just too appealing to the average IT organization with today’s cloud technologies, where the last clouds standing will be really, built upon efficient software-defined infrastructure and provision resources to large swaths of cloud-enabled applications and mobilized consumers.

How many of those customers will there be?  It’s funny you ask….
After leaving DDN, I had the chance to interview with many organizations and discuss how many infrastructure buyers IT vendors should target in the cloud era.  Whereas many of my other colleagues suggested that they’d reach 100Ks of IT buyers, each interview hit an inflection point when I explained that a measure of success in tomorrow’s world would be by selling to a few hundred customers.  CTERA, among all of the companies I talked to, understood this right out of the gate.

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1,000 customers.  I should probably call these 1,000 clouds – but it didn’t work so well for the title .  Between the service providers and the IT-as-a-Service private cloud deployments, the future of IT infrastructure consumption will be dictated by a relatively few number of customers who, in turn, will support 100Ms of businesses and who, first and foremost, value cloud tools and platforms as a means to get their jobs done and to scale cost-efficiently.

This is where CTERA comes in.  This cloud-driven consolidation of IT consumption is exactly why I joined the company.  Few organizations are applying cloud principles to their cloud products, but CTERA has thought this through. Beyond just addressing one data storage service requirement in the enterprise, CTERA came at the topic from a different perspective. The company was founded by leaders in cloud security who truly understood what it meant to deliver tools that could enable service providers to deliver managed services… this same expertise has been applied now to cloud and distributed storage where CTERA’s SW architects have taken a platform-first approach to enabling aspiring IT-as-a-service-provider or an aspiring public cloud serivce provider to easily make the leap to providing cloud services.

CTERA wins because it uniquely addresses both aspects of IT adoption:

  • For the user – we’ll continue to deliver the best cloud storage experience
  • For the IT mgr – we’ll transform you into agile cloud services providers while enabling you to control all of the data, access and infrastructure (private or virtual private)

Just one more slide…

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I love the kid in this picture… which I can now say without risk of sounding creepy because I, myself, am now a proud papa (shameless plug, I know).

Aside from having a lead on the product side, CTERA has just so happened to gain amazing market traction. Today, we’ve marked the shipment of our 30,000th cloud storage gateway, our end-customer base has tripled in 2013 (thanks, in large part, to our service provider focus) and we’re now the technology behind a cloud service provider customer base that represents 17% of all of the bandwidth delivered in the Western world. That’s a fun story to tell.

I’m loving getting back into startup mode and look forward to reporting back as we ride this incredible wave. 1,000 customers and we can call it a day. Until then, we’re racing like hell.

Stay tuned.
– jeff

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