Based in Toronto Canada, ThinkOn is a born-in-the-cloud provider of storage, compute, and networking (IaaS) resources to an ecosystem of integrators and partners serving end users from many industries. Although they specialize in DRaaS, data vaulting, application hosting, and virtual data centers, they have recently joined the VMware Cloud Verified community to enhance their offerings. Here’s why that matters to ThinkOn, their customers, and their subscribers’ customers.
We spoke with Ahsan Khan, CTO of ThinkOn, and began by asking him why organizations choose a Canadian-based IT services provider. “When we started, data sovereignty was a big concern,” said Khan. “Many providers have a footprint in Canada, but with ties into the US and other countries where data might reside. So, we’ve segregated our data centers, equipment, networking, even employees to have an all-Canadian presence. As we’ve evolved, it’s had a big payoff for us as organizations are now choosing Canadian partners for regulatory and government issues. ThinkOn is also one of a select few providers able to handle both restricted and non-restricted data, classified data, in accordance with Canadian government cloud requirements,” Khan added.
Through their evolution, ThinkOn has deepened their relationship with VMware. “We standardized on VMware years ago because it’s the market leader with by far the best adoption rate whether it be vCenter, vSphere or vRealize ” said Khan. “It’s well thought through technology and a great product, and 7 of our data centers run VMware cloud technologies, which was key in winning government contracts as we were the only VMware powered cloud vendor on the Canadian government Cloud First initiative,” he added. Khan also highlighted the importance of delivering technologies that partners and customers already use. “Customers going to the cloud know their greatest investment is in the cloud they already own – most frequently VMware based,” Khan said. “That’s why we keep close to the VMware roadmap, so as they evolve we try to evolve with them to new business use cases and go-to-market strategies that our partners and their customers demand,” he adds.
Khan also relies on VMware support to keep his business humming. “There’s great support behind every VMware product, so in those rare occasions when things DO break, VMware support is the best we’ve seen, and gives our customers confidence since it’s not open source or some unknown hypervisor,” he says. If we have issues we can get the right people on a call to design a solution and put the problem to bed quickly,” he adds.
“When we received our Cloud Verified badge, it assured our customers that our service offerings are based on VMware’s best practices, their best architecture and their best recommendations,” Khan says. It’s a stamp of approval for customers who have already spent time and energy getting staff trained and certified on VMware and gives CIOs comfort that they’ve made a safe investment,” he adds.
ThinkOn strives to deliver exactly what their customers want in an increasingly hybrid IT world, where every organization has their own mix of capital- and operational-expense models for IT services and infrastructure. “We understand that the cloud is just someone else’s computer,” says Khan. “We help customers extend their infrastructure and leverage their VMware investment while eliminating all the bogus fees some other cloud providers charge like I/O fees and ingress/egress fees, so our customers know they’ll get the best value even if they just need the ability to cloudburst for dev and test, always knowing what their costs will be,” he adds.
Khan believes the IoT explosion – 20 billion endpoints projected by 2020 – calls for more of the same approach that landed them where they are today. “The underlying technology is the same,” says Khan. “So, the concepts should be the same. Make sure you’re certified. Maintain best practices, everything comes back to that, whether you are dealing with data at rest or in motion. When leaping into new technologies, never forget to maintain the control and confines your organization is used to. Finally, as the world moves to a more hybrid environment, it’s hard to go in and tell a customer to rip and replace. We need to continue to deliver solutions that provide an extension to the cloud they already own, and as long as we do that, our partners and their end customers will succeed,” he adds.
Learn more about ThinkOn and VMware Cloud Verified.