Compare the Cloud Video

Something different to make you smile. Visit Cloud Computing Comparison site Compare the Cloud to read the latest blogs and discover about cloud computing using the free Cloud Comparison tool.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cloud Computing: regional vs. international providers

Cloud Computing Yorkshire

By 2012 the Cloud Computing market is predicted to be worth around £1.2 billion per year within the UK alone, and by 2015, Cisco predicts that the Cloud will account for nearly 34% of all data centre traffic in the world. This is no surprise as more businesses are realising the benefits of moving into the Cloud.

As the market expands, so do the number of providers and for this reason it is becoming increasingly important that you trust your supplier. Many companies are now choosing to create regional partnerships rather than national or international ones. So, what benefits does working with a regional partner provide?

Perhaps the most important benefit to working with a local provider is in knowing the exact location and the security status of your data. Through partnering with American companies a business’s data becomes subject to the US Patriot Act. Within this act all information relating to the company can be accessed by the government whenever they feel that there is any reason to view the data.

The US government is not obliged to tell you what information they have viewed, or even if they have accessed any at all, potentially having a major impact on the privacy of any business. An advantage of using a local provider is that the data protection act will prevent your personal data being stored outside the EU or a Safe Harbour Jurisdiction.

Another disadvantage from using an international partner is the often ambiguous terms and conditions. For example Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) service states that customers have a 99.95% availability for each region, which allows for 21.56 minutes downtime a month. If a business wants to increase their reliability it is recommended that they gain access to multiple zones within the region, at an additional cost.

Furthermore, Amazon’s EC2 service also states that in order for your service to be classed as ‘unavailable’ your business must “have no external connectivity during a five minute period and you are unable to launch replacement instances.”  This means that in addition to the 21.56 minutes of downtime per month customers may also be exposed to additional connectivity issues under a five minute period. By partnering locally, you can fully research the terms and conditions and discuss the specifications that you require in a face to face environment.

A further advantage of using a regional Cloud provider is the increased response time. For example, in April 2011, Amazon’s EC2 service suffered a four day outage that effected Reddit, Hootsuite and Quora. Anyone that was using the service at this time would have potentially had to call an international support number to speak to a technician.  This increases both call charges and waiting periods, particularly if the support desk was attempting to resolve several outages at once. By working with a local provider, companies typically have a direct line to a UK support network which can dramatically reduce response time.

It is also a comfort for most businesses to know that their information is locally stored, allowing them to visit the facility when they require to view first-hand the levels of protection that the centre offers. There is also a material advantage of a local partnership, cutting down transportation costs and valuable commuting time for businesses that would otherwise have been wasted. With all these benefits it is understandable why more and more businesses are choosing a local Cloud provider when implementing their I.T. solutions.

Virtual Data Centre Services (virtualDCS) are Yorkshire Cloud Computing experts, offering a range of high quality solutions to help businesses get the most from their I.T. infrastructure. For more information on moving into the Cloud contact virtualDCS on 08453 888 327 or visit our website.

Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues, UK Channel | Leave a comment

Reasons to own and not resell Cloud Services

terry pullin

As the Cloud Computing bubble continues to swell, traditional VAR’s, IT Support & MSP’s wanting to capitalise on the opportunity face a choice, resell a service from another provider OR invest in their own Cloud Computing platform.

The option to resell a service is appealing, no need to invest in hardware, virtualisation technology, colocation, network services or need to skill up engineering teams. You also get the benefit of selling a platform that is instantly available. Just buy from A and sell to B, something all hardware & software resellers do on a daily basis.

However, most IT Support and Managed Service providers would, I’m sure, rather own and operate their own platform. These companies build their reputations on their engineering expertise and wouldn’t buy an engineer from A to sell to B, they have the skills to provide their service of choice to their customers and this obviously has its benefits over “being the middle man”.

When it comes to Cloud Computing services, SaaS, Server Hosting, IaaS or PaaS all the same reasons the IT Support & Managed Service providers don’t resell engineering resource apply. These reasons are often very different and specific to every business, but most follow some common themes:

Make more profit – Like engineering services, once you’ve covered your overheads you start to make profitOnce you reach this critical mass profit margins will always be greater than for resellers. Interestingly once you’ve built your cloud platform you may be able to attract resellers of your own – further expanding your sales force and growth potential.

Provide better uptime and SLA’s – Companies used to selling themselves on the value they add to their customers IT operations, like to know that when they tell a customer “we proactively monitor your systems to avoid downtime” they can deliver on their promises. If you own your own platform, with decent kit in a decent data centre you control how it operates and implement your processes and procedure to keep the platform available to your clients.

Develop industry vertical specific solutions – Almost every VAR, IT Support or Managed Service provider has some focus on an industry vertical. Be it meeting regulations for finance companies & law firms, keeping costs low for not for profit & government organisations or dealing with data volumes for media businesses owning your own Cloud Services will let you tweak the services to best suite your customers and prospects needs.

The great thing about this list is it can go on and on and follow a range of different paths all specific to either customers or suppliers, I love working in the IT Industry for that very reason.

The problem is, generally building a Cloud Platform is challenging. Some of the upfront costs involved are unreachable for some businesses. Technical understanding of some of the technologies involved is not owned by everyone. Though the “Cloud” word is used so much these days, not everyone knows how it can benefit their clients and how to sell those benefits to them.

YourCloudPlatform from Backbone Connect has been specifically designed for the Channel community to provide an easy, cost effective solution to allow VAR’s, IT Support & MSP’s to own and operate their own Cloud Computing platform.

If you own a VAR, IT Support or MSP business and would like to own your own cloud platform this is a link to where you need to start

I’m sure you don’t’ need to hear again about the regular outages experience from some of the biggest players in the Cloud market. It’s an awkward meeting with a client when their systems have been down if you have to explain that “it’s your suppliers fault”. How many times can you have that meeting before the customer is going to explore other avenues?

If you resell Cloud Services you’re only ever going to make the margin the provider allows you, my research in the industry shows this is generally between 10 & 30%, not bad if you’re used to box shifting but not the sort of margins you’d expect from adding the high level of value to your customers that Cloud Services provide.

YourCloudPlatform offer UK businesses a unique opportunity to become Cloud Computing service providers overnight, with ZERO capital expenditure.

For further details contact Terry Pullin, Cloud Services Director Backbone Connect on 0203 130 9444



Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, Colocation Services, Hexagrid, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet Connectivity, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues | Leave a comment

Colocation – read the small print… | london colocation

Colocation London Services

London Data Centres’ are facing increasing challenges, shortage of power, connected space and the ever challenging transportation issues. As an Enterprise customer you will be subjected to a lack of contiguous space, huge uplifts in costs once your primary term is complete and little to no room for growth. Many companies suffer their racks dotted around on the same floor if their lucky but possibly on different floors or even at different data centres, just to allow for organic growth!

Whilst there has been some considerable development of new Central London facilities, Telehouse West for example, (raised floor space will be circa 300,000 sq metres by 2015)  you need to be prepared to pay a significant premium to satisfy server huggers and provide geographical proximity.

Gartner reports there will be a “rapid rise in problems associated with power, cooling and space” in Central London by 2015.  With a new generation of high-density equipment, Customers will find it difficult and very expensive to secure this within Central London.

So what’s the smart move…?

M25 periphery sites, such as Sentrum in Woking and Hayes and the stat-of-the-art Digital Realty Trust site in Redhill, Surrey are becoming increasingly popular. Average density is 5kW per rack and located just 30 minutes from Central London you can be on-site in less time than it takes you to cross London!  Traditional barriers for these facilities such as network cost and latency have been removed, with low cost access to leading network providers and latency times to allow real-time replication commonplace.

Average costs for a 5kW rack including power in Redhill are £1,495 per month compared to over £2,000 in Global Switch, Telehouse etc and there is predicted to be a mass exodus of colocation services to M25 periphery sites over the next few years.

Future proofing…

Saving cost now, increasing density and having space to grow are all well and good, but what happens at the end of your primary contracted term? Businesses need to have a long-term view of their data centre costs. The new wave of service providers, such as Source are able to provide guaranteed maximum price increments of less than 5% per annum, regardless of what the initial term is – now go ask your Central London provider to do that…?

Fenton Bard, Source,  2011

Fenton Bard was a founding director of Adapt Group Ltd and in 2010 formed Source Managed Services Limited ( to provide a truly independent resource for Enterprise and Wholesale data centre services.


Posted in Cloud Computing, Colocation Services, Internet Connectivity, Platform as a Service, UK Channel, UK Distribution and the cloud | 1 Comment

Backbone Supports the U.K. Ecosystem Built on Hexagrid’s Cloud Computing Platform


London, United Kingdom, July 28, 2011 – Hexagrid, a leading developer of cloud enablement solutions, announces Backbone Connect as a new datacentre partner joining Link47, a European-based information technology distributor, and Compare the Cloud, a comprehensive cloud consultancy, to expand the ecosystem built to simplify cloud adoption for small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) in the United Kingdom (U.K.) market.

“Solution cost, complexity, and quality are common delays in cloud adoption by the SMB market,” says Ian Siebert, Director of Link47.  “We are excited to unite top-to-bottom players in the cloud ecosystem with the common goal of making cloud adoption easier and more accessible for the U.K. SMB market.   The addition of Backbone Connect supports this goal by making datacentre resources more affordable for companies choosing to grow their business with cloud.”

Over the past 5 years, Backbone Connect has quickly grown into a leading colocation provider in London with more than 500 colocation cabinets across 7 U.K. datacentre facilities.  From its offices in London and Surrey, Backbone Connect delivers a complete range of colocation and WAN infrastructure solutions, and now offers discounted colocation, internet access and MPLS network services for any business building a cloud on Hexagrid’s award winning VxDatacenter platform.

“Thus far we have focused on providing colocation and network services to U.K. cloud service providers and corporate enterprises,” says Terry Pullin, Director of Cloud Computing at Backbone Connect Ltd.  “The addition of Hexagrid’s VxDatacenter product is the next step in our commitment to be the largest provider of cloud computing enablement solutions in the UK with additional depth to the solutions we can offer both existing and new cloud service providers.”

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Hexagrid,” says David McLeod, Director of Strategic Alliances and Partnerships at Backbone Connect.  “The combination of high-class U.K. datacentre facilities, core MPLS Networks, and experience in the U.K. cloud market perfectly positions us to expand our service offering with a VxDatacenter cloud-in-the-box solution.”

Backbone Connect’s ‘cloud-in-a-box’ campaign provides quick setup of colocation, internet access and MPLS as a cost effective package for any business launch a cloud on Hexagrid VxDatacenter platform.  This comprehensive ‘Cloud-in-a-box’ solution is available directly through Backbone Connect or through Link47, a European-based information technology distributor. The combination of Backbone Connect, Link47, and Compare the Cloud promises to expand the U.K. cloud ecosystem delivering high-value Hexagrid cloud solutions to regional SMBs.

“From the beginning, we were developing VxDatacenter as a comprehensive virtualization and cloud management tool that would benefit the entire IT delivery channel from the largest of providers to the smallest of end-users and every business in between,” says Dave Rokita, Vice President of Technology Operations at Hexagrid Computing.  “The U.K. cloud ecosystem exemplifies how the IT delivery channel can maintain its identity in a cloud computing environment.”

“As we continue to discuss cloud alternatives with datacentre providers, channel partners, and business end-users it becomes increasingly clear that Hexagrid’s cloud computing platform is the best solution for mutual business success,” says Daniel Thomas, Director of Compare the Cloud.  “Many companies react with a ‘too good to be true’ response, and with the addition of Backbone Connect, ‘too good to be true’ just got better for companies ready to capitalize on cloud.”


About Backbone Connect

Backbone Connect delivers a complete range of cloud computing and business infrastructure solutions designed to keep data safe and on the move quickly. From Colocation in the UK’s leading datacentres to wide area networking, high performance business internet access and virtual platforms, Backbone Connect delivers industry leading service levels and expert advice with the creative connected approach.  For more information about Backbone Connect, please visit

About Link47

Link47 Limited is a European SMB IT Distributor focusing on IT security, CRM / Database Management and innovative Internet Technology solutions. With a base of over 200+ partners across the UK and other parts of Europe we are well situated to provide supported solutions from world-leading hardware and software manufacturers.  For more information about Link47, please visit

About Compare the Cloud is one of the most comprehensive cloud comparison services in the UK, committed to finding you the right solutions at the best price, and dedicated to saving you time and money without locking you into one vendor. We aim to continually evolve our cloud products and service offerings, so we’re always at the forefront of the cloud comparison industry, helping you make an informed choice. To ensure that our customers find the right cloud services at the right price, we work with a range of trusted providers and internet service providers to provide a real breadth of coverage across the marketplace.  For more information about Compare the Cloud, please visit

About Hexagrid Computing

As a leading developer of IT infrastructure software solutions, Hexagrid Computing Inc. built the first cloud enabling platform directly aligned with real-world IT delivery models—a revolutionary approach to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) that truly simplifies virtual IT management.  Hexagrid provides all the software and support that IT organizations need to successfully build private/public clouds to fit their specific business and end-user requirements.  It’s Your Cloud, Own It! From basic everyday computing to intensive high-powered operations, Hexagrid IaaS cloud computing solutions enable companies to immediately generate profits by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies.  For more information, visit

Contact Information:

For more information please contact Tara Kinney at 1-636-590-2211, ext. 69 or


Posted in Compare the cloud press release, updates, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service | 1 Comment

Hosted Desktop

hosted desktop services from RTW hosting

Reduce your IT costs by half with our Hosted Desktop solution.

Hosting your Microsoft desktop applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as creating a secure and resilient file system should not be the only reason you choose to host your desktops.

You need these applications to integrate fully with your mail and mobility systems, your voice systems as well as other 3rd Party applications. That is why all RTW Hosted Desktops can be integrated with RTW Voice, Mail and Mobility and other applications to not only provide a platform for growth, but a platform that you truly can run your business on.

With the RTW Integrated Hosted Desktop you can reduce your IT costs by half, and there’s no need to pay for expensive servers and maintenance. We provide you with a fixed monthly cost for all your applications and data storage which can be accessed via any computer over the cloud.


  • empower sales teams on the move
  • streamline communications & file-sharing
  • multiple-level security
  • full disaster recovery included as standard
  • bolt-on BlackBerry mobile devices cost-effectively
  • minimal or no IT support contract required
  • no need for new, expensive hardware or servers
  • never have to purchase any licenses again (Windows & Exchange CALs, MS Office etc)

With our secure, enterprise-class IT platform, you get a complete remote hosted desktop that allows you and your staff to login to your desktop from any location in the world, with full security.

Our hosted desktop systems are powered by Terminal Services and Citrix technology. Terminal Services is Microsoft based technology and is very suited to smaller organisations due to the much lower pricing, whereas Citrix is suited to larger organisations and corporate companies. We are the only company that offers both Terminal Services and Citrix solutions, giving customers more choice.

Hosted Desktop users have access to all applications they would expect in their day to day work as well as any applications from the “Application Pool” on demand, simply logon to the platform and away you Go

Microsoft Office Professional is provided to users as standard, so with the click of a button you can work on spreadsheets, databases, proposals and so on.

Contact us today for all your Hosted Desktop needs

Telephone 020 3130 9400


Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Email Marketing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, Green IT and Charity, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet Connectivity, Internet Security, Office365 and the UK Channel, Platform as a Service, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues | Leave a comment

A firm case for cloud computing

Commensus PLC Cloud Computing

The Desktop Computing era has brought computing power into the hands of the users, but left them still reliant upon IT to provision the back-end infrastructure such as networks, servers and firewalls. Upkeep on in-house infrastructure tends to be daunting and very costly. What’s more, disaster can result at anytime from drive failures, viruses, corrupt databases, server patches and the list goes on. You also need to pay for all the hardware and a team to manage it. Since application servers tend to be driven by departmental budgets, IT infrastructures often end up as over provisioned mishmashes of equipment, processes and technology entailing overstated cost and huge inefficiencies with servers running at 15-25% of capability. Cloud servers, on the other hand, run at 75-90% of capacity. This results in less office space, hardware, staff and power necessities saving a lot of money, and the environment.

Elementary to the Cloud Computing argument is that software is rented rather than bought outright. Finance directors will straightaway draw a comparison between the two paths and evidence that after typically 2.5 or 3 years, the rental payments on precisely the same resources would appear to exceed the capital cost: it would therefore make little sense to accept a rental agreement.

While that break-point may be right at first sight, Alex Parker of Commensus contends that there are noteworthy considerations to be taken into account. “It assumes that any equipment bought is being fully utilised from the outset. If a company has acquired IT solutions with the capability to take it forward three or five years, for instance, it is paying for resources on which it cannot generate a return on capital. Changed circumstances may mean that the capacity is never fully taken up.”

Cloud Computing offers the chance of moving most IT expenditure from the balance sheet to the profit & loss account. This in turn removes capital expenditure, cutting operational expenditure and gives small organisations the budget predictability they need. IT departments can then focus on the front-end issues that will enable company survival and growth.

With Cloud Computing, instead of making one capital commitment to purchase the hardware and another to acquire pricey software, companies effectively rent both the hardware and the software, paying only for the resources that are really employed. So you don’t pay anything when services are not needed, doing away with unnecessary overprovision of resources to appropriate for unpredictable spikes in requirements. Businesses can go from 20 workstations to 80 and back to 50 again in the time it takes to authorise the online paperwork. This “pay-as-you-grow, save-if-you-shrink” model works out much cheaper in the long run.

In the past, it might take a company six to eight weeks to commission an application server. Now, computing power and storage space is becoming a commodity, bought when demanded and scaled up when necessary. This dynamic resource management is enabling companies to respond faster to market shifts and gain an advantage over their competitors. It is this agility and scalability that persuades most companies to venture into the cloud.

But Cloud Computing is more than an IT deployment. Moving into the cloud is a cultural shift as well as a technology shift. For IT staff, and particularly the chief technology and chief information officers, it requires a rethinking of their roles. 70% of time previously wasted on operational maintenance and upgrades is then available to spend focusing on business strategy. This allows a business to take advantage of new opportunities to innovate and grow.

Commensus PLC ( help companies to save money with innovative Cloud IT solutions.


Posted in Amazon Computing, Cloud Computing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, Green IT and Charity, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues, UK Channel, UK Distribution and the cloud | 2 Comments

Connectivity Solutions

Cloud Computing provides a fantastic solution for SME’s, bringing down costs and improving productivity.  Let’s face it, if you are a small to medium size company you want to concentrate on running your company and not be bogged down by complex IT administration.  You want a service that provides all your IT office requirements, with all the bells and whistles, and all you have to do is pay a monthly service charge.

But what’s that?  Your Internet line is down?  No problem, you’ll just have to work off line – wait a sec everything is in the cloud!!!  Yep, this is what is called “putting all your eggs in one basket”, and that is why reliable, resilient, and diverse connectivity is all-important.

All too often Business Managers miss the point here, and opt for cheap connectivity solutions.  Whilst cheap broadband is fine for the home, time is money in business and being cut off from the umbilical cord that connects you to your Cloud Computing platform can be seriously damaging.  If you are responsible for sourcing your Internet feed all fingers will be pointing at you if there’s the slightest hint of a problem.

There are several factors to consider: Do you have enough bandwidth? Will you have an online portal to see how much you are using? Do you have a backup line? Is failover automatic (when things go wrong the last thing you want is to be faffing around with a manual failover solution)? Do your resilient circuits follow separate paths? Should you use separate technologies e.g. Ethernet with a DSL backup? Do you need QoS? So on and so forth.

At Ping Networks we specialise in connectivity.  We differ from your standard broadband suppliers in that we provide flexible bespoke solutions for our customers, wrapped up in a managed offering.

We are proud to be founded by engineers who are experts in their field.  We not only run a full ISP offering, but also run other ISPs.  We offer a full range of connectivity solutions including DSL, FTTC, EFM, EAD, LES, WES, (in fact all the acronyms you can shake a stick at) all of which can be presented as a fully managed resilience solution, either providing Internet or MPLS private VPNs.

Simon Chamberlain
Director at Ping Networks Ltd


Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Email Marketing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, Internet Connectivity, Internet Security, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues, UK Channel | Leave a comment

Compare the Cloud Press Release | Iaas

Hexagrid, Compare The Cloud, and Link47
Cover the Bases to Drive Home SMB Cloud Computing Solutions in the U.K. Market

LONDON, United Kingdom/EWORLDWIRE/July 13, 2011 — Hexagrid, a leading developer of cloud enablement solutions, announces its most recent partnership with Link47, a European SMB IT distributor, and Compare the Cloud, a comprehensive cloud comparison consultancy. This partnership trio promises to facilitate the channel delivery of low cost, high quality cloud computing solutions to the mainstream SMB market throughout the U.K.

“This partnership unites three companies with similar philosophies about service delivery at the core of cloud computing value within the SMB market,” says Suresh Mandava, CEO of Hexagrid Computing. “Together we will bring the power of Infrastructure as a Service to the masses by combining Hexagrid’s award-winning VxDatacenter platform, Link47’s expertise as a leading distribution partner for SMB IT solutions, and Compare the Cloud’s solid reputation for matching business needs with the appropriate cloud capabilities.”

“Many of the Link47 SMB partners are either evaluating cloud offerings or looking at new avenues to increase revenues,” says Ian Siebert, Director of Link47. “Hexagrid offers both new technology and new revenue opportunities for partners to embrace and equally provides Compare the Cloud’s channel partners with their own Infrastructure as a Service offering for the SMB Market.”

Compare the Cloud identified Hexagrid as a cloud-enabler capable of responding to the need for SMB channel providers in the U.K. to offer cloud computing solutions that compete with the large, international Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers. Working with Compare the Cloud, Link47 sought a cloud product offering that would satisfy clients needs and work as a catalyst for expanded product and service offerings. Hexagrid’s VxDatacenter is a comprehensive cloud platform that enables IaaS, Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions to be customized at both the service provider and end-user level.

“Hexagrid’s product has no competition within the SMB marketplace and enables my channel partners to rapidly deploy a service to rival major IaaS players such as Amazon and Terramark,” says Daniel Thomas, Director of Compare the Cloud. “Hexagrid provides a unique proposition for low-cost, high quality Datacentre as a Service (DaaS) solutions while Link47 brings the SMB-focused channel which perfectly fits the Hexagrid product.”

Link47 will leverage its existing product channels and marketing scope within the U.K. SMB market to overlay Hexagrid’s VxDatacenter platform. For example, a CRM provider could use VxDatacenter to deliver a hosted CRM service or provide back-up or recovery services, according to Siebert. Compare the Cloud and Link47 will continue to grow their businesses with products and services that complement Hexagrid’s VxDatacenter cloud platform.

About Link47
Link47 Limited is a European SMB IT Distributor focusing on IT security, CRM / Database Management and innovative Internet Technology solutions. With a base of over 200+ partners across the U.K. and other parts of Europe, the company is well-situated to provide supported solutions from world-leading hardware and software manufacturers. For more information about Link47, please visit

About Compare the Cloud is one of the most comprehensive cloud comparison services in the U.K., committed to finding clients the right solutions at the best price, and dedicated to saving users time and money without locking them into one vendor. The company aims to continually evolve cloud products and service offerings, so it’s always at the forefront of the cloud comparison industry, helping users make an informed choice. To ensure that customers find the right cloud services at the right price, Compare the Cloud works with a range of trusted providers and Internet service providers to provide a real breadth of coverage across the marketplace. For more information about Compare the Cloud, please visit

About Hexagrid Computing
As a pioneer in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) industry, Hexagrid developed a revolutionary cloud platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build customized private/public/hybrid clouds that directly align with real-world IT delivery requirements. Hexagrid IaaS solutions truly simplify and expedite virtual IT management, empowering successful cloud computing strategies that immediately generate profits with reduced IT costs and improved IT efficiencies. For more information, visit

Hexagrid Computing
Company Information :
Hexagrid Computing
16020 Swingley Ridge Rd. Suite 220
Chesterfield, MO 63017
Ph. 1-636-590-2211

Posted in Cloud Computing, Cloud Resellers, Cloud Vendors, updates, Hexagrid, IaaS, Infrastructure as a Service, Internet Connectivity, Office365 and the UK Channel, Platform as a Service, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues, UK Channel, UK Distribution and the cloud | Leave a comment

Office365 a Channel Perspective

Let’s go everyone!!

“The Cloud” seems to have firmly attached itself to any sentence relating to computers. Everyone is desperate to understand what it really is and how it can help their business. Cloud companies are telling you to put everything in the cloud (for obvious reasons) whilst traditional IT support companies may be telling you to stay well clear of the cloud as they may lose revenue. So who do you listen to?

Let’s jump straight in and look at a pitfall of “The Cloud”. How effective is your business today if your Internet goes down? Imagine how effective your business would be if everything was hosted in the cloud and could only be accessed via the Internet. So if you go cloud, step one will be to drastically increase the reliability and speed of your internet connection which obviously comes at a cost.

The big beast that is Microsoft has just launched At first look, getting a host of office products at around £4 per user per month sounds amazing. And to be honest for a very small business, this is a great way forward and carries a lot of value. Take a slightly longer look and you realise that support is only via support forum unless you go the more expensive enterprise route at around £15.75 per user per month. In addition, the support will only cover your actual cloud hosted service, not your physical IT infrastructure onsite. So as an example, 30 users will be paying £472.50 per month for their software plus additional support costs for their remaining systems and software and servers. Should you go cloud? Just look at all the figures over 3 years and then make a decision.

Microsoft has a massive partner program and yet is essentially now offering their products and IT support directly. How exactly does that help their partners who have heavily invested in training, certification and software programs? Perhaps they can resell it and make a few measly pounds a month? If the Microsoft partner who is charging a client around £200 a month to a client for IT support will now make about £20 a month, then this may well affect jobs and the IT industry in general in the UK?

On the upside, this will be a great boost for the economy in India where Microsoft have their support teams, but perhaps not so great for an already struggling British economy. Remember also that the UK is driven by a huge SME sector and with good reason. Level of service and care. Large organisations cannot match the level of attention that a small business can offer to a client. Depending on industry, a company is only as good as its suppliers. (As he wonders where the laptops he ordered are that were promised to the client on Friday).

In conclusion, I think there is a lot of value for a small business or one man bands to use office365 and similar type cloud offerings. For a larger business, the costs soon mount up and there are some hidden extras. Look at the costs over 3 years and how the whole Cloud strategy will affect your business. And remember to love Microsoft and marvel at their new cloud strategy and dedication to their hard working partners.

Colin Durrant
MD, Colins IT Ltd

0 rating, 0 votes0 rating, 0 votes (0 rating, 0 votes, rated)
You need to be a registered member to rate this post.
Loading ... Loading ...


Posted in Internet Connectivity, Office365 and the UK Channel, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment

Who are you really selling against?

By Barrie Desmond. Business Development Direction of VADition.

Can vendor sales people and VAR sales people ever be happy bed fellows?

Probably one of the biggest issues to the UK channel, and all too often overlooked, is the pursuit of trying to align the objectives of the revenue-targeted vendor, with those of the profit-driven reseller.

Caught in the middle of this unspoken feud is poor old Ban Ki-moon; otherwise known as the distributor.

The inconvenient truth is that, in many cases, a huge amount of distrust can grow and fester within this uncertain and uneasy alliance.  It is quite understandable when a VAR doesn’t want vendors in their customer base, and the same is true for the named accounts of many vendor salespeople.  To get over this from a vendor perspective, the sacred ‘deal registration’ system has been created.  For the vendor, this provides the clearest view possible of pipeline for planning and resource allocation purposes.  In reality it could be seen as a cattle market where additional discounts and incentives are offered as horse trades for access to a customer account or prospect.

In a larger industry context, there are misgivings when other partners get involved in a given deal because of a legacy relationship (“he’s my father-in-law” etc.).  This will often lead to discounts being retrofitted by the VAR, thereby undermining the programme in the first place.  Vendors on the other hand believe the partner will either slow the sales process down or introduce other services or products that may be at odds with the vendor, even if a more solutions-orientated approach is the right thing to do for the customer.

Something has to be done about this, because the squeezed middle (yes us as the distributor and full-time ‘Relate’ counsellor) is constantly trying to fix this problem.  Perhaps having a joint objective around margin is the way forward, but getting this buy-in – especially from the vendor – still seems a little out of reach.

Ultimately I think we shouldn’t lose sight that we are all on the same side, and no matter how it might feel sometimes, we don’t want such different things at the end of the day.


Posted in Small Medium Business Cloud Issues, UK Distribution and the cloud | Leave a comment

Email marketing in the Cloud a user guide

“We live in an age of relentless communication, where in the course of just one day we are bombarded by multiple media formats. There is a steady stream of social media marketing…a flood of instantly discarded direct mail…and a deluge of email communication that is largely ignored, lost in the sea of competing mass communication.”

Some would argue that we have reached a point where communication is meaningless…unless it is targeted, concise and impactful. But you could argue that even targeted, concise and impactful communication is meaningless…unless you can capture relevant management information to assess its effectiveness.

Is there a point to communication without powerful and relevant information?

Email newsletters are an excellent way to communicate with your customers, prospects and key contacts and by using a 3rd party platform you will have access to invaluable information on the success of your campaigns, helping you build better and more meaningful messages tailored to your target audience.

Before you set out on your path to glory, here are a couple of important things for you to consider.

Segmenting to your data
Targeted messages will result in higher success and less drop off,
Campaign design
Can’t do it, then don’t! Your landed campaign is representing your business, make sure you are making the right impression. A lot of 3rd party platforms offer generic templates on a do it yourself basis, great if you’re a designer but don’t fall foul of thinking you are if you’re not, this isn’t meant for sticking on the fridge door! Get a solution that offers a more tailored product with bespoke templates.
Sending large emails through your company email might seem a cheap alternative but could prove a false economy. Providers protect you from the risks of having your domain black listed and making sure you are compliant.
One of the greatest benefits of email marketing is the powerful reporting that 3rd party platforms can provide. See who opened your messages, how many times they have read it, which links they have clicked through to as well as any emails that may have bounced or where the recipient has opted out.
Spam / Junk
Poorly coded emails, grey or black listed IP addresses, poorly configured mail servers, excessive subject lines and certain words can all fall foul of spam filters. 3rd party platforms will eliminate some of these items but can also fall foul themselves. Get a solution that has real people to support and advise you with your campaigns and content.
It’s important to weigh these things up when looking for a platform that is suitable for you and your business and that you get the advice and support that you need. Cheaper alternatives may look attractive but often mean:

Generic solution with little or no customisation
You’ll be using the same template as the butcher, the baker and candle stick maker
Online support or FAQ
They want your money but will be reluctant to give you their time. Speaking with a human being and using a platform that offers support and advice can prove invaluable.
Poor delivery rates
Cheaper providers mean lots of users and lots of emails being sent out, this will result in higher spam and abuse reports which are to the detriment of the delivery rates.

• Custom built solution – your own templates, logo and images
• Name account manager
• Dedicated support and training
• All hosting and sending capabilities
• UK based servers and support
• No technical expertise needed

Posted in Cloud Email Marketing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Computer Aid International

About Computer Aid:
Computer Aid International exists to tackle the causes and effects of poverty through practical ICT solutions. We work with not-for-profit organisations in developing countries to provide equipment and support where it is most needed by poor communities in areas such as agriculture, health and education.

The average life span of a PC in the UK is 3-4 years and by donating to Computer Aid this can be doubled to provide an additional 6,000 hours of use, enough to train 60 children to a vocational level of IT literacy. This makes a huge difference to education and employment prospects in rural and poor communities, especially since many recipients of our computers would not otherwise have access to ICT.

The majority (60%) of our computers go to schools, but they are also used in healthcare where they provide a means of communication and training for very rural doctors and nurses, as well as in agriculture where farmers can use computers to improve fair trade cooperatives. For more examples please see our projects page here.

Our services include:

• Free Guaranteed CESG approved Data Destruction
• WEEE Compliance
• Legal liabilities covered
• Highest standards of environmental disposal – 0% will end up in landfill
• Positive PR or CSR for your organization
• 100% of donated PCs that pass our quality tests will go to not-for-profit organisations in the developing world
• Full asset tracking of all equipment donated to exactly where it goes in a developing country

Data Security: All computers received and processed by Computer Aid International have all data and programs removed. All hard disks are overwritten as standard and at no cost to you. Computer Aid uses Ontrack data wiping software approved by the US Department of Defence and UK Communications – Electronics Security Group (CESG). Any hard disk that cannot be over written will be destroyed. Any hard disk that cannot be over written will be destroyed. We can also offer a special data wiping service where we provide an itemised report of the successfully wiped hard disks for an additional £5.

Ontrack Eraser is certified by the following organisations:
• UK’s Communications Electronics Security Group (CESG) HMG Infosec 5 (Lower & Higher)
• US Department of Defense
• German PCI
• Norwegian National Security Authority (NSM)

Asset Tracking: Computer Aid asset tracks all equipment donated to the organisation. This involves bar-coding every piece of equipment that comes into our warehouse (each monitor, each base unit, each laptop). We will provide you with a breakdown of all the equipment you donated, detailing what has been reused and what has been recycled. Our asset tracking enables you to follow your PCs to exactly which project and which country they are sent to. We can also provide you with case studies and information/images for use internally should this be of interest.

WEEE Directive: By donating your unwanted IT equipment to Computer Aid International you will be fully complying with the WEEE directive. Computer Aid International has been approved by the environment agency to operate as an Authorised Approved Treatment Facility (AATF) for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Environmentally Friendly Disposal: Any equipment that Computer Aid is unable to re-use that doesn’t pass our stringent quality tests, is recycled through licensed waste management companies that guarantee 0% of unusable equipment ends up in landfill.

Additional Info on collection and costs:
At Computer Aid International we are currently able to make use of any Pentium 4 Processor 1.4 GHz or above or equivalent base units and laptops, monitors that are 15″ or 17″ and manufactured after the year 2002 and any size of TFT (flat screen) monitors. We also need mice, keyboards, modems, cables, power leads, memory and other peripheral parts. These items will be sent to our projects in the developing world.

Recycling – 0% Landfill Disposal
We endeavor to re-use the maximum amount of equipment possible from any donation. Any equipment which we cannot re-use is sent to a licensed waste management company for recycling, reclaiming all re-usable components, metals, plastic, glass etc. Computer Aid International is registered with the Environment Agency as an Approved Authorised Treatment Facility for Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) registration no. WEE/KG0005ZT/ATF.

We are currently unable to reuse equipment that does not meet the above specification, all printers, servers, scanners and faxes. However any equipment we are unable to reuse we dispose of in an environmentally friendly way and we guarantee that zero percent will go to landfill. We ask for small contribution per item that we recycle towards the recycling costs.

This guarantees that, even of that equipment that we cannot re-use, 0% ends up in land-fill.

Collection Service
We have a country wide collection service. As a charity our resources are scarce – so we will ask you for a contribution towards the cost of collecting the machines from you. The minimum charge is to collect is £40 within the M25.

Drop Off Services
You can arrange your own delivery direct to our London workshop and you can also drop them off at our North London workshop. The address for dropping off donations is:

10 Brunswick Industrial Park, Brunswick Way, London, N11 1JL
The workshop is open from 10:30 to 5:00 Monday to Saturday. Please call 020 8361 5540 to arrange a drop off time.

Posted in Green IT and Charity | 2 Comments

Reselling Cloud Resources - Adjusting the Business Model for Success

Reselling Cloud Resources – Adjusting the Business Model for Success
Dave Rokita – Hexagrid Computing

At Hexagrid Computing, a vast amount of effort went into understanding how computing resources are delivered to end clients.  Reseller channels have been absolutely instrumental in building trust between the end-users and the technology itself.  These channels provide incredible value.  Cloud computing seems to threaten this ecosystem.  There is buzz in the industry that cloud computing will kill the channel.  In addition, the non-stop cloud computing media blitzkrieg that pummels the IT industry confounds the problem.  Many of the VARs and channel partners experience fear and confusion over cloud computing.  The traditional wisdom states that a deluge of new 24/7 SaaS services will go directly to the end customer and relieve them from the fetters of a value added reseller.  The argument is that going direct will lower the cost, so then it must be so.

While it may be a fact that these new cloud services will put downward pressure on pricing, the customers never based their channel relationships solely on cost.  What we often forget is that these relationships are built on trust.  Channel partners make business better by understanding market verticals and addressing core needs for non-IT customers.  They make small shoe manufacturers globals players.  They turn 5 attorney practices to 100 attorney practices.  Believe me, if the major vendors could have eliminated the channel, they would have eliminated the channel. The big vendors are unable to reach all of the way down the channel and cloud does not change that.

The channel is not going away, but change is on the horizon.  Cloud will likely drive shrinkage for channel partners.  Shrinkage is usually bad, but this is more of a spring cleaning.  There is a good chance that the non-differentiated VAR’s that have been clinging to razor thin margins on hardware/software must adapt or be assimilated.  Thomas Bittman (Gartner) summed it up in his blog:

Continue reading

Posted in Cloud Vendors, updates, Small Medium Business Cloud Issues | Tagged | Leave a comment