Desktop Virtualization 101

A guest post for Handshake 2.0 by Lizetta Staplefoote, Rackspace Hosting:

What is Desktop Virtualization?

A traditional desktop holds user data and applications locally. The user has to be at that desktop machine to access the applications and documents saved on it.

Desktop VirtualizationIn a virtual desktop environment, a company's information technology (IT) department creates a common baseline of user profiles for company-wide apps that multiple users securely access from a central server instead of an individual machine. 

Why It’s Gaining Momentum

Gartner predicts the hosted desktop market will grow from a half a million units in 2009 to 49 million units in 2013.  By 2015, the market is expected to grow five-fold! Here are a few reasons why businesses are turning to desktop virtualization:

Data Security: Holding user desktop data in a centralized, locked-down data center mitigates the risks involved when a mobile device or laptop is lost or stolen. Without proper access to the server, unauthorized eyes can’t browse files or access proprietary information. Additionally, IT can better control which members of the organization can see certain data and use applications.

Device Management: IT saves time by pushing new applications, updates, and troubleshooting issues from the central server, reducing desk-side visits and physical device interaction. Employees can securely access systems from a laptop, another desktop, smartphone, or tablet encouraging remote workforces and the rising Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to work shift sparked by smartphone and tablet popularity.

Resource Efficiency: In the virtualized desktop environment, IT can spread processing, performance, and storage workloads across a pool of machines. For example, with 20 desktops holding unused storage, virtualization allows you to combine that storage in the data center and use it across the pool more efficiently.

Despite the big benefits, deploying virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) isn’t always simple with application dependencies, software licensing, and bandwidth requirements. The cost and expertise required may be out of reach for some organizations. Instead of building it out on their own, some opt for hosted desktop virtualization to ramp up quickly and avoid the infrastructure work and investment.

For more detailed information on desktop virtualization, Rackspace Hosting offers Versed in Virtual Desktop, a white paper available for free download.

Lizetta Staplefoote is a senior copyrighter for Rackspace Hosting.

Pat Matthews to Keynote Entrepreneurship Summit

Pat Matthews, founder of Webmail.us and General Manager of Email & Apps division of Rackspace Hosting will open the  VT KnowledgeWorks Entrepreneurship Summit as the keynote speaker on April 7, 2010, the first session of the two-day Summit on April 7-8, 2010 at the Inn at Virginia Tech & Skelton Conference Center in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Here's the full schedule of events.  Attendees and exhibitors can register here.

Patt Matthews kindly gave an interview to Z. Kelly Queijo and Handshake 2.0 upon Rackspace winning the 2009 Global North American Hosted Enterprise Email Customer Value Enhancement Award.

Thanks to Cameron Nouri for the "Rackers" photo.

Rackers of Rackspace Email and Apps in Blacksburg, Virginia 

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VT KnowledgeWorks is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Rackspace Recognized for Fanatical Customer Support

“In business, differentiation is everything.” Those words were spoken to me by Pat Matthews, General Manager of Rackspace Email & Apps, during an interview in April, 2009. And, who would know better? Matthews spent the last 10 years building a career and corporate culture founded on the radical idea that people should love their jobs and that service to customers matters.

The success of this effort was recognized this week by Frost and Sullivan who awarded the cloud-based apps division of Rackspace, known as Rackspace Email & Apps, the prestigious 2009 Global North American Hosted Enterprise Email Customer Value Enhancement Award. Based on a Rackspace news release, this award recognizes the company for providing “outstanding performance in customer service and high value-to-cost ratio, leading to improved customer retention and customer base expansion.”

According to Matthews, “The more advanced technology gets and the more people use it, the more service matters, especially for businesses. We've built a culture around service at Rackspace. The philosophy behind delivering Fanatical Support to customers is one of the biggest reasons that it made so much sense to merge businesses back in 2007 and the biggest reason for our success to date."

The RackApps division is growing at the rate of 1000 new customers a month. Sales equals jobs and the company is hiring, reports Cameron Nouri, Rackspace Evangelist. “To date we have grown to over 120-plus Rackers here in Blacksburg and are on a path to hire more. Currently there are over 10 job openings for our Blacksburg office and over 200 openings in the company as a whole. I don't know of another company who is making the kind of direct economic impact that Rackspace is and has the opportunity for growth like we do.”

Rackspace is now the second largest hosted email provider in North America. It's a level of achievement that Matthews, during his early days as an entrepreneur behind the start-up originally known as WebMail, always believed would happen. “Ten years ago I didn't know we'd be in the email hosting business. Cloud computing wasn't even a buzz phrase yet! But, yes, I did imagine that we'd be having this type of success. I think that most entrepreneurs have a deep belief that they will ultimately be successful. It's that belief that creates the drive.”

Drive and differentiation together appear to be that magic that sets Rackspace apart. “Rackers are a dedicated group of people,” says Matthews. “They believe in Fanatical Support and how much it means to our customers. I love when Rackers are recognized for the hard work they do.”

Jim Flowers and Pat Matthews share a handshake. 

Jim Flowers interviewed Pat Matthews for Shaking Hands with the Real Thing – A Successful Entrepreneur.

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Z. Kelly Queijo is the founder of SmartCollegeVisit and a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0. You're invited to follow SmartCollegeVisit on Twitter, @collegevisit.

Connecting People in the RNR – Focusing on Regional Economic Development

Handshake 2.0 brings you edition #38 of Connecting People in the RNR with Stuart Mease.

Stuart mentions Anne Clelland's vision of Every Regional Business Blogging, part of a Regional Social Media Initiative.

Stuart Mease will be the new Recruiting Manager for Rackspace Email and Apps.  He wrote this farewell message to the City of Roanoke, published in the Roanoke Star-Sentinel.

He writes the blog Connecting People.  You can connect with Stuart in myriad ways both off-line and online, including on Twitter @stuartmease.  Stuart Mease is an organizer of the Roanoke Creative Communities Leadership Project (CCLP) in Virginia.  You can follow the program on Twitter @roanokecreative.  

Connecting People in the RNR
a video show by Stuart Mease for Handshake 2.0

 


The opinions expressed by Stuart Mease or of those he interviews are solely their own and are not necessarily shared by Handshake 2.0 or its clients, sponsors, or advertisers.

Top 10 Reasons to Archive My Email

From the Rackspace Email and Apps Team:

10.  So my employees are less inclined to forward inappropriate jokes that aren’t even funny with their company email address attached.

9.  So I don’t lose my job when critical company information is lost for good.

Rackspace Archiving utilizes The Rackspace Cloud. 8.  So a hard drive failure doesn’t ruin my third quarter.

7.  So that I can dig up last year’s budget spreadsheet, change it to 2010, and send it again.

6.  So that when I accidentally hit the delete key I don’t have to line up a visit to my therapist.

5.  So that my inbox will only have the messages that I want to keep handy and I can forget about the rest.

4. So that the company presentation that we spent three weeks on isn’t inadvertently deleted the night before the conference.

3. So I don’t fear for my business when a sales rep leaves his laptop in the trunk of a New York City cab.

2. So that the embarrassing photos from the company dinner can be kept for posterity.

And finally…

1. So I’m not that guy or gal who was going to get email archiving but never got around to it.

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From Handshake 2.0:

Rackspace Email & Apps just launched Rackspace Archiving, "the cure for deletion anxiety" on August 12, 2009. 

We studied cloud computing in a multi-part series and concluded: Cloud Computing – Just Draw Me a Picture.

Rackspace Archiving for email helps draw the picture for us.

We learned from Cameron Nouri, evangelist for Rackspace Email & Apps, "The exciting part about the archiving product is that it will leverage The Rackspace Cloud.  The cloud makes it possible for us to offer unlimited storage and lifetime retention for only $3 per mailbox per month."

Nouri added, "With the growing discussion of regulations such as Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), our customers and prospects are talking a lot about about email archiving.  Rackspace Archving provides for our customers who want to have a data archive they can count on so they don't have to worry about deleting emails."

Thanks to the many guest cloud computing experts who wrote for us (listed in the conclusion here), we understand the "how" and we value the "how much."

Congratulations to Rackspace Email & Apps on the launch of Rackspace Archiving!

Bob Grebe covered the story on WDBJ7.  Here's the full press release on BusinessWire.

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Rackspace sponsors the Rackspace Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0.

Why Stuart Mease? Rackspace Answers.

Stuart Mease Stuart Mease announced on August 5, 2009, that he will take a position as Recruiting Manager with Rackspace Email and Apps in Blacksburg, Virginia.

Handshake 2.0 asked Rackspace, "Why did you hire Stuart?  What traits or qualities or strengths does he possess that you were looking for? What will be his job responsibilities? What do you hope he accomplishes for Rackspace Email and Apps?"

With what Handshake 2.0 considers a model of corporate transparency and leadership, Director of Operations at Rackspace Email and Apps, Ben Hubbard, replied:

We’ve passed our milestones and reached our goals thus far by hiring and working with great folks who are passionate about what they do.  People are really our most important business asset.  It may be a cliché, but we know it is so for a valid reason.

As we grow our customer base and our ambitions, making sure we get the right folks on board becomes even more important.  As businesses grow, it gets tougher to maintain high passion in each area.  If we couple that factor with our hiring aspirations, which themselves are to ramp up our development and engineering teams, our recruiting becomes one of the most important components of our business.

We’ve done really well in our recruiting over the past few years and brought in some top talent from around the nation.  We’ve also continued to hire some great folks locally.  Our current recruiting tactics have been very effective, as has our execution, however, the strength and passion of our current team really lies in sourcing talent and screening candidates.

We were looking for someone to help lead our recruiting and, in doing so, ramp up the recruiting efforts in a more strategic way.  We need someone who can align an effective recruiting strategy in a way that will expose our opportunities to a broader scope of qualified candidates.

As well, a huge part of the success in this roll will be the ability to own and nurture relationships with recruiting firms, academic institutions, businesses, media, but, most of all, people in general.  For me, this is Stuart to a tee.  He brings a proven track record of building and maintaining professional relationships and getting folks connected in a mutually beneficial way.

This is not to say that we’re hiring Stuart because he knows how ever many thousand people in hopes that a few may fit the bill for positions we’re looking to fill.  Instead, we’re confident that Stuart’s relationships and connections will help him solve some of the challenges we’ve faced in recruiting.  For example, we’ve been looking for super great Microsoft Exchange Engineers.  We’ve been looking for ages.  While we’ve hired some great talent, including one of the top Exchange Engineers in the world, we need more, and that’s to say a lot more.  I wouldn’t expect Stuart to be able to come in on the first day and himself figure out how to hire or attract more Microsoft Exchange Engineers, or Linux Engineers or Software Developers for that matter.  What I do bet is that he’ll be able to use his resources, be they current Rackspace team members or others he’s built up over the past few years, to figure out the best strategy to accomplish that goal.

Besides that piece of the recruiting strategy, I’ve spoken with Stuart enough times and discussed some of his ideas at a high level to be very confident that he will bring some unique ideas of his own and be able to do so with a new perspective.  I see a real advantage in his not being stuck in any industry paradigms that may exist.

To provide the expectation of what I hope Stuart Mease will accomplish for the Email & Apps division of Rackspace, I can say that I look forward to him leading our progression in raising the bar.  In doing so I’d love for him to help bring in more talent.  We are going to need to continue to hire a mix of experienced professionals who have “been there and done that” as well as less experienced professionals and everything in between.  This will have to include not just the Developers and Engineers, but also folks who also have a proven track record in managing and leading folks in those types of positions.

To accomplish this, he’s going to have to continue our success in being recognized as one of the top places any Microsoft or Linux Engineer or Software Developer would want to work in the New River Valley.  That strong reputation must continue to quickly expand as it is up and down the East Coast, but also lead our team to gain traction in these fields throughout the whole of the United States and beyond. 

This all may sound daunting, but I’ve spoken with Stuart and he’s up to the task.  I can also share that we’re going to do everything needed to really position Stuart for success in this role.  I’ve got the firm commitment from everyone on our leadership team.  Our Email & Apps leader, Pat Matthews, for example, has agreed and committed to devoting a substantial amount of his own valuable and limited availability to work directly with Stuart where it makes sense to ensure that Stuart and our recruiting team succeed.

Photo credit: Dan Smith, Valley Business FRONT

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Rackspace sponsors the Rackspace Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0.

Handshakeized – Learning from The Scobleizer

In her post, Shoot and Ask Questions The Robert Scoble Way, Z. Kelly Queijo describes lessons learned on videography from the work of Rackspace's Robert Scoble, a.k.a. The Scobleizer

Stuart Mease, newly with Rackspace, knows how to "-ize" – he Scobleized the Scobleizer.

We know how to "-ize," too.  Z. Kelly Queijo (right) and I shoot and ask questions The Handshake 2.0 Way.  We've been Handshakeized.

Handshakeized - Anne Clelland and Z. Kelly Queijo

Photo credit: Zane J. Queijo
Camera:  Olympus Stylus Tough 6000 on loan to blogger Z. Kelly Queijo

Shoot and Ask Questions The Robert Scoble Way

This week, the Rackspace Tech Showcase features Allan Tsang, founder of 88owls, in a video that I recorded and edited. The video has received several comments including one from Allan saying that I "put him at ease" and "asked the right questions."

I've never received formal training in videography, but in my life, I tend to embrace the proven mantra "watch and learn," which is exactly what I did on June 5, 2009, when Robert Scoble of Rackspace, a.k.a. the Scobleizer, visited Blacksburg, Virginia.

From the Tweetup to the one-on-one meetings with Robert, I tagged along as a member of the press, taking notes for the stories I would write and taking in the way he worked with people. During that time, I studied how Robert greeted people with his easy-going smile and nonchalant manner that instantly communicated warmth and friendship.

He made eye contact which made it easy for people to allow themselves to be interviewed. They avoided looking at the camera and, instead, focused on Robert.

And, he asked good questions, responsive questions, that showed he was listening.

I left with a great deal of material for future stories and also with a greater understanding of how important it is to reach out to people in ways that invite them to feel comfortable so they will openly and willingly share their stories. Though he's long gone from Blacksburg, for now, I continue to watch and learn by following him on various networks and on Building 43 where he continues to show us all how it's done.

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Note from Handshake 2.0: Stuart Mease announced on August 5, 2009 that he would become Recruiting Manager for Rackspace.  He shows how it's all done in Stuart Mease Scobleizes The Scobleizer.

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Z. Kelly Queijo writes about business and technology, people and their passions.  She is a frequent contributor to Handshake 2.0. You're invited to follow her on Twitter at @zkellyq.

Stuart Mease to Work for Rackspace

Stuart Mease From Stuart Mease:  "I will be working for Rackspace Email and Apps in Blacksburg as their Recruiting Manager."

In his blog, Connecting People, Stuart Mease wrote Thank You City of Roanoke on 8/3/09.  Mason Adams wrote a fine news report and profile, Roanoke development official to resign, for The Roanoke Times on 8/5/09.

Blog: Connecting People
Video Show: Connecting People in the RNR
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/stuart.mease
LinkedIn:  www.linkedin.com/in/stuartmease
My Roanoke Story: Stuart Mease
Twitter: @stuartmease

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Managed hosting, cloud hosting, and email hostingThe Rackspace Tech Showcase on Handshake 2.0 is sponsored by Rackspace (R) HostingRackspace Email and Apps is a division of Rackspace located in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

About Rackspace
As the leader and specialist in hosting services, Rackspace(R) Hosting is changing the way businesses worldwide buy IT. Rackspace delivers computing-as-a-service, integrating the industry's best technologies into a flexible service offering, making computing more reliable and affordable. A trusted partner to companies of all sizes, Rackspace enables IT departments to be more effective. Rackspace is distinguished by its award-winning Fanatical Support(R), furthering the company's mission to be one of the world's greatest service companies. Rackspace is recognized as one of FORTUNE Magazine's 100 Best companies to work for in the US, ranking number 43 on the list. Rackspace's portfolio of hosted IT services includes managed hosting (www.rackspace.com), email hosting (www.rackspace.com/apps) and cloud hosting (www.mosso.com). For more information on Rackspace Hosting, please visit www.rackspace.com.

Rackspace Tech Showcase – Attaain, Inc.

From Daryl Scott, Founder, President, CEO, Attaain, Inc.:

Daryl Scott created AttaainCI, a competitive business intelligence and market intelligence system I hate to see business information going to waste.

Handshake 2.0 asked me what led to the development of Attaain Inc./AttaainCI.  I guess you could say I have a recurring habit of taking emerging technologies and applying them to business problems in need of a solution.

Prior to founding Attaain Inc., I applied a wide range of technology platforms to create a wide range of business solutions.

My underlying formula in all of these applications:

Latest computing platform + under-utilized data +
business need = unique business information solution

In a nutshell, my technology/application chronology goes something like this:

  • 1976: TI-59 programmable calculator: statistical applications
  • 1977-1979: TRS-80: Marketing applications
  • 1980-1983: Apple II+/Apple IIe: Marketing applications
  • 1984-1993: Macintosh/Windows: Sales/marketing/advertising and mapping/geographic information systems (GIS) applications
  • 1993-1996: Apple Newton: applications for “mobile professionals”
  • 1996-1998: Windows CE: general mobile computing business applications
  • 1999-2001: Windows/Windows CE: client/server field force automation and data collection applications
  • 2001-Present: Internet/Web Browser: business/company/market intelligence software-as-a-service (SaaS)

AttaainCI was born of the latest need arising from the intersection of emerging technologies, information and business. On the technology front, the growth of widespread high-speed internet connectivity combined with the explosion of business-related information available via the internet, plus the advent of the Software–as-a-Service (SaaS) business model created a perfect storm of opportunity in my mind.

The vast amount of strategic decision-making information now available via online sources can lead to a severe case of “information overload” when attempting to manually process and analyze all of this information in a timely and cost-effective manner. As a result, crucial company and market information often goes overlooked and under-utilized.

This led to the development of AttaainCI as a web-based framework (hosted on Rackspace servers, naturally!) for researching, analyzing and tracking this flow of real-time intelligence about companies, people and markets. Clients rely on these company and market insights to gain strategic advantage in their business development, sales prospecting, marketing/competitive intelligence and other key business activities.

So, substituting back into my time-tested formula above:

Internet/Web Browser + under-utilized real-time business intelligence + the need to gain cost-effective competitive advantage in business development/sales/marketing = AttaainCI

End of business information going to waste.

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Attaain Inc. delivers “active intelligence for strategic advantage” with AttaainCI, the comprehensive web-based solution for researching, analyzing and real-time tracking of competitive business intelligence and market intelligence on key companies, people and markets. Attaain received the 2009 Innovation Award from the NewVa Corridor Technology Council.  Daryl Scott generously shares his knowledge and experience with Handshake 2.0. Feel free to read more about Attaain on Handshake 2.0.

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Like what you read about tech companies in the Blacksburg, Virginia area?  Rackspace Email and Apps has openings for developers.

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Managed hosting, cloud hosting, and email hostingThe Rackspace Tech Showcase is sponsored by Rackspace (R) HostingRackspace Email and Apps is a division of Rackspace located in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

About Rackspace
As the leader and specialist in hosting services, Rackspace(R) Hosting is changing the way businesses worldwide buy IT. Rackspace delivers computing-as-a-service, integrating the industry's best technologies into a flexible service offering, making computing more reliable and affordable. A trusted partner to companies of all sizes, Rackspace enables IT departments to be more effective. Rackspace is distinguished by its award-winning Fanatical Support(R), furthering the company's mission to be one of the world's greatest service companies. Rackspace is recognized as one of FORTUNE Magazine's 100 Best companies to work for in the US, ranking number 43 on the list. Rackspace's portfolio of hosted IT services includes managed hosting (www.rackspace.com), email hosting (www.rackspace.com/apps) and cloud hosting (www.mosso.com). For more information on Rackspace Hosting, please visit www.rackspace.com.