Based in Bryanston outside of Johannesburg, South Africa, Silicon Sky is laser-focused on addressing the rapidly increasing demand for Infrastructure-as-a-Service among companies of all kinds and sizes. We recently caught up with Brenton Halsted, Managing Director of Silicon Sky, to get his thoughts on the company’s focus on IaaS, the unique demands of enterprises in South Africa and surrounding countries, and the flexibility he feels is imperative for success in the cloud.
“While we have significant expertise within the company that spans a wide range of IT disciplines, we are very focused at Silicon Sky on IaaS and working with key vendors in that effort,” Halsted says. “For Silicon Sky this focus isn’t new. We’ve really specialized in Infrastructure-as-a-Service since our inception in 2009. That focus is also evident in our customer base. We engage and serve companies of all sizes and in all markets that need IaaS and that want to move part or all of their core infrastructure from on-premises to the cloud.”
Halsted notes that the challenge for most of these companies is the need to manage their existing IT environments and maintain their legacy systems on a continual basis. Not only is this an increasingly daunting task, but they also typically do this on a CAPEX basis.
“Our customers want to manage their IT on an OPEX basis so they can reduce their operational and capital expenditures,” he adds. “And of course they want to harness the proven advantages and benefits of the cloud. Our IaaS Virtual Data Center service, enables our customers to accomplish these goals quickly and effectively.”
VMware technology, specifically vCloud Director, plays a key role in the service, which allows customers to manage and provision their own servers. Silicon Sky also offers a Cloud Server Service for organizations just beginning their cloud journey, and a bespoke, fully dedicated IaaS offering for companies that have unique compliance or security needs.
In addition, the company provides Backup-as-a-Service ,Disaster Recovery-as-a-Storage-as-a-Service offerings that include block, file and object storage. Halsted points out that being VMware Cloud Verified is important in all of these endeavors.
Why being VMware Cloud Verified matters
“The status that comes with being VMware Cloud Verified is important, and it shows that the infrastructure we offer is based on best practices from VMware,” he says. “We work with key vendors enterprises we know and trust. The majority of our customers are also coming from a VMware-based environment. If you’re lifting and shifting and taking on-premises VMware workloads and moving them to the cloud, the best place to put them is in a VMware-based cloud. That way, you’re going from VMware to VMware, and you know that what you had on-site is going to work exactly as it should in the cloud.”
Halsted points to VMware vCloud Availability as an example of how seamless this transition can be.
“We did extensive testing with VMware when it came out,” he says. “With it, enterprises that come to us who are running VMware on-premises can connect their virtual center with our environment and either move those workloads to our cloud or use our environment as a target for DRaaS. It’s an elegant way to do disaster recovery from on-premises to the cloud.”
Silicon Sky also sees another compelling business driver: In South Africapower is a problem, with controlled load shedding a common practice during times of peak electricity consumption.
“It requires a lot of equipment to stay powered up and available, by co-locating in South Africas premium Data Centres we have everything in place to ensure that power is available at all times,” Halsted says.
The company is aware too that not all customers have teams in place with the expertise needed to address security in the cloud. For that reason, it offers a shared firewall service at no extra cost. And while Silicon Sky provides self-service functionality that some of its more technically advanced customers utilize, most want the high level of service the company is known for.
“Most of our customers have to be strategic about where they put their IT dollars, and that’s another reason why we are so committed to flexibility,” Halsted says. “We don’t charge any ingress or egress charges for our cloud, and we offer flexible contracts. We want to give our customers the ability to go up and down. That’s the beauty of the cloud. You only want to use the resources you need, and when you no longer need them, you should be able to decommission them and not pay for them. We’ve been committed to that ideal – that central premise of the cloud – from the beginning.”
Learn more about Silicon Sky and its partnership with VMware here.