Myles Gray is a cloud technologist at Novosco, primarily focussing on public cloud R&D, designing customer platforms and services, and utilising automation for both self-hosted and private customer clouds. He is also a: VMware vEXPERT 2016-2017 (NSX, vSAN), VCIX-NV, VCAP-DCV and a Veeam Vanguard.
You can find him blogging at blah.cloud and climbing the occasional mountain.
Question: What do you do, and what do you love about it?
Myles: Essentially, I get to design, tweak, improve-upon, and play with really cool technologies!
I have a pretty broad remit within Novosco, as a former infrastructure engineer and now Cloud Technologist, I’m given the freedom to work on technologies and solutions that can help solve our customers’ problems and generally improve their business. For example, the work I undertook on Single Tenant Cloud; being able to explore the entire concept, engage in R&D, market research, collaborate with industry leading experts both within Novosco and with our partner companies, it’s been superb!
Q: It sounds like you’re in the perfect role.
Myles: Absolutely, It’s what I’d probably be trying to do in my own time anyway.
Q: Tell me more about Single Tenant Cloud and your involvement in it.
Myles: Single Tenant Cloud takes out all of the infrastructure management required of a traditional on-premises infrastructure setup. Businesses don’t have to worry about power or cooling, about rack space or networking. At the same time however, businesses are able to give us their physical appliances and kit, should they need a particular function from it. We’ll put it in our data centre and we’ll extend that into the virtual data centre that we spin up.
Q: So Novosco does the heavy lifting?
Myles: Basically, yeah, we take care of all the hardware and facility management elements that organisations tend to want to avoid (with reason). It’s essentially infinitely scalable, with no big capital overhead at the start. Single Tenant Cloud is operationally priced, we bear the capital expense meaning our customers pay a monthly bill. It’s a lot easier on the books, with greatly enhanced predictability, adaptability, and reliability.
Q: Is there much of a difference between the Novosco data centres and what the average business uses internally?
Myles: That’s one of the largest benefits in adopting Novosco’s Single Tenant Cloud; we host in tier 3 data centres which are significantly better than the facilities an average company has available on site; with a server room in the basement, or similar. I’ve seen some real shockers in what passes for on-site data centre facilities, so we’re definitely happy to assist customers by providing vastly more secure and better suited provisioning.
It’s a really cool solution because residing on a highly resilient infrastructure gives customers dedicated capacity and consistent, predictable billing.
Q: How much collaboration do you get to do with your colleagues?
Myles: Working with the other teams within Novosco, like the Hosted Platforms team, is how I was able to architect and develop the whole solution (Single Tenant Cloud); from the server/network level right the way through to the business modelling, pricing structure; all aspects of it. It’s been really interesting to take the solution from being non-existent; nothing but a doodle on a whiteboard; to, ‘TADA’, you’ve made this great solution that is ideal for so many organisations today. It’s thanks to the freedom and ability to collaborate that this was possible.
Q: What’s it like seeing customers using and benefiting from Single Tenant Cloud? That whiteboard-to-full-implementation moment?
Myles: It’s really neat! Seeing that it scales the way that it was expected to, seeing that it’s working perfectly, exactly how it was envisioned, is very rewarding. Single Tenant Cloud is very intuitive, more and more customers are adopting it as a solution and seeing the benefits; it’s very cool that people know about it and that its use is so widespread now,
Q: Do you feel you were encouraged to explore, create, and cultivate? Or was there that fear of making mistakes?
Myles: I don’t really have a fear of making mistakes, I’ve made enough of them to know that they are not the end of the world. When I went to colleagues with the concept, I was absolutely encouraged to explore and grow the idea, help was offered (and accepted!). So when something seemed problematic, I knew I was able to collaborate with the most incredibly knowledgeable people. I feel I was definitely encouraged by Novosco and by my colleagues directly.
Q: What has been the most disruptive influence on your work and industry, from your point of view, in the last couple of years?
Myles: Software Designed Storage (SDS), it’s made a huge difference. It’s been around for a little bit longer than that, but it’s only been ‘production ready’ in the last year and a half. It’s completely changed the way people are designing things and to the offerings that companies are coming out with. A lot of companies are now bringing out denser storage nodes and servers that have a lot more discs than you would traditionally see.
Q: What has that done to the commercial aspect of implementing solutions?
Myles: It’s completely shaken up the commercial modelling, Software Defined Data Centres are really disrupting things too. Now we’re consolidating provisioning to SDS, it’s much more accessible for customers too; servers are plugging in to each other - and that’s it – that’s what runs it. There’s no need for fiber channel networks or blade chassis.
Q: What’s coming down the line that you’re particularly looking forward to?
Myles: Cross-cloud portability, definitely. With SDN in mind, having on-premises networks which are stretched up into the cloud, AWS or Azure, or hosted cloud by Novosco, is really cool. It allows for a lot of very interesting solutions to come from it, such as Disaster Recover as a Service (DRaaS). Simply push a button and everything fails-over and the Virtual Machines stay live the entire time; really useful stuff, very dynamic, which is great for the end user.
Q: As for working at Novosco, what rocks?
Myles: Free coffee! Not just any coffee, it’s GOOD coffee! Also, the freedom to expand and grow, to constantly try to better what we can do, it’s a great working environment for that kind of approach.
Q: Last question for you; what’s been your biggest gotcha?
Myles: Understanding networks properly! I hated networking originally, and in designing Single Tenant Cloud, I came to love them – they’re now my jam! I spent a lot of time with people much smarter than I on the network elements, which really helped. Working together, truly collaborating, with experts in different specialisations helped me grasp the full spectrum of networking, which all translated into the Single Tenant Cloud product.