Serving some of the world\u2019s largest companies, and with nearly 20 years of experience providing the Ministry of Defense, UKFast is the largest privately-owned hosting company in the United Kingdom. Serving thousands of enterprises with a significant focus on the cloud, the company\u2019s expansive portfolio of services touches nearly every facet of IT.\nFollowing a massive upgrade to its network last year, including the expansion of its international infrastructure, UKFast is poised for even greater growth. Simultaneously, the Manchester-based company marked another milestone \u2013 being named one of the top Tech Great Places to Work in 2019.\nWe recently spoke with Christopher Folkerd, Director of Enterprise Technologies, to learn more about UKFast\u2019s cloud services, its long relationship with VMware, what sets the company apart, and the cloud use cases that excite him today.\n\u201cWhen someone asks what the secret to our success is, I think it comes down to two key aspects of our DNA,\u201d says Folkerd. \u201cOne is our absolute commitment to make the cloud simple for our customers even if they want to use it to do very complex things. The other is our focus on customer satisfaction and customer service, and the unique way we engage and treat our customers.\u201d\nAs Folkerd notes, both differentiators are related, something that becomes readily apparent when one considers that UKFast\u2019s customer base spans national government agencies and single-proprietor shops \u2013 all of which contribute to a Net Promoter Score that is one of the highest in Europe.\n\u201cOur customers recommend us because of our technology acumen and the approach we\u2019ve taken to scale the business,\u201d says Folkerd. \u201cWe run on something called the \u2018pod system,\u2019 which means we maintain a small business feel for our customers no matter how big we get. Our engineers work with a small subset of customers, so that every time a customer phones, they always deal with the same engineers. That means they build a relationship, and it also means that our technical experts get a much deeper view of the customer\u2019s solution, which is bespoke to address their needs.\u201d\nIt\u2019s a philosophy that\u2019s codified into UKFast\u2019s guarantee that customers will not only enjoy 100% network uptime, but that if they need assistance, their call will be answered in three rings or less. And it\u2019s a philosophy that also aligns with UKFast\u2019s longstanding and close relationship with VMware.\n\u201cVMware\u2019s technology helps us make the cloud simple, and a large portion of our infrastructure is based on it,\u201d Folkerd says. \u201cOur customers trust VMware, and all of our data centers and cloud services are VMware Cloud Verified, which is really important for us because it shows our commitment to technology and engineering excellence \u2013 and that we have industry-leading architecture behind our clouds. We\u2019re also involved extensively in a large number of beta projects with VMware and sit on many of their advisory boards, feeding back into products and services at an early stage. The key to our relationship is that we are working together to give our customers a great experience.\u201d \nTransformative Use Cases\nFolkerd sees customers enabling a number of new, transformative use cases. One is a large project transitioning to a DevOps, containerized platform and way of working.\n\u201cOne of the big powers of the cloud is that all of this can be done in one location very simply that will lead them to a much more agile business process,\u201d he says. \u201cContainerization is really allowing people to do a lot more things with their applications than they were able to do before. And the speed that you can get products to market by bringing out microservices is just amazing.\u201d\nFolkerd is also seeing a lot of innovation in artificial intelligence. UKFast has been working on AI for years, but he believes its use is still very nascent in the marketplace.\n\u201cLots of people are using it for very basic functionality, but it\u2019s becoming a lot more prevalent and there\u2019s a realization that the power is now there to handle it,\u201d he says. \u201cThat\u2019s one of the reasons we have launched both a field programmable gate array (FPGA) and a graphics processor unit (GPU)-as-a-service offering.\u201d\n\u201cWe\u2019re enabling our customers to quickly write very, very flexible code,\u201d adds Folkerd. \u201cIt\u2019s a fantastic enablement for the cloud, because the equipment itself is very expensive and we\u2019re able to bring it to customers for pennies on the pound. It\u2019s a huge cost savings for them that also enables them to exploit the data rather than having to worry about hardware.\u201d \nLearn more about UKFast and its partnership with VMware here.