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Thoughts on Scale Computing and the 2019 CRN ARC Awards

For 34 years, CRN has conducted a survey of technology solution providers to score vendors in a variety of categories. They call this their Annual Report Card (ARC). As with the technologies, the categories have changed over the years and among the categories scored in 2019 were “Desktop and Server Virtualization” and “Converged/Hyperconverged Infrastructure”. 

The reason I mention these two categories is that in 2019 Scale Computing came out on top in both over vendors including VMware, Microsoft, Cisco, and HPE. 

This is a pretty big deal, and I am not just saying that because I work for Scale Computing, but because it indicates a shift in the market in how solution providers view virtualization solutions. Let me add some context.

The Idea

Scale Computing began with the idea that virtualization could be done better than the status quo being provided by the leading vendors. Viewed from the perspective of smaller organizations, which was the experience of Scale Computing’s founders, virtualization was too complex and too expensive. There had to be a better way. 

Scale Computing started developing technologies that would simplify virtualization, making it both easier to use and lowering the costs of implementing, managing, and maintaining virtualization infrastructure. To make the idea a reality, the different technology silos of storage, computing, and virtualization needed to be combined into a single solution, and that is where the concept of hyperconvergence began.

Through software automation and using machine intelligence, Scale Computing sought to eliminate the need for storage experts and virtualization experts (including all of their expensive certifications) from infrastructure management. Organizations should be able to run reliable, highly available virtualization infrastructure with minimal IT management resources. The idea seemed so simple, why hadn’t anyone else, especially these big corporations with plenty of resources, done it already?

The Work

Starting from the beginning is hard work and the IT industry is full of start-up stories from spectacular successes to spectacular failures. Scale Computing started small but never lacked the discipline nor the will to succeed. One of the disciplines was to do it the right way, not the easy way and part of the will to succeed was to have fun doing it along the way. Following the idea that we could make virtualization better, we had to deliver solid solutions that worked.

No amount of marketing can make up for a poor solution. That’s why Scale Computing grew slowly, sometimes under the radar of the greater IT industry. In a market dominated by enterprise solutions, new technologies whose benefits are more keenly realized by smaller organizations can go unrecognized by most. Sometimes the best way to be recognized is simply by being great at what you do, and that is where Scale Computing put in the work to build not just great products, but great support and services to give customers the best experience possible all the way through.

Slowly building upon customer success after customer success, word began to spread from happy customers to their peers. Our customer reviews on Spiceworks, TrustRadius, and Gartner give us a good idea of what that word is as it spreads. This hard work to build one customer success after another seems to be working and we are not about to slow down.

The Recognition

The journey of hyperconvergence has been one filled with skepticism. Many were skeptical of building our own hypervisor embedded in the solution. It seemed like they couldn’t conceive of virtualization without VMware or Hyper-V. Many have been skeptical of having a single-vendor solution. They liken it to putting all their eggs in one basket. 

Probably the most common skepticism is simply whether or not it is simply too good to be true. We often hear, “This seems too simple. What’s the catch?” That’s an ongoing skepticism we are happy to live with. We know they are recognizing that it is as easy as we say it is as we continue to grow and add more and more customers. And now, based on the 2019 ARC awards, we know that technology solution providers are also recognizing it.

More importantly though, just recognizing that Scale Computing makes a great product and provides great support, is the growing recognition of our idea that virtualization can be done better. That recognition has partly been driven by the rise of edge computing and use cases where virtualization infrastructure needs to be simple, low-cost, and easy to manage with minimal IT resources. The more complex virtualization infrastructures with separate storage, servers, and hypervisors just aren’t a good fit for edge computing. Hyperconvergence is, and no one makes it easier to use than Scale Computing.

We’re #1

While it is immensely satisfying to see what was once just a vision transform (through lots of hard work) into a reality, this is technology. There is no time to rest on laurels. This journey is about making the best solutions for our customers and always looking to do it better. That journey isn’t ever really over. 

Those of you who have been following Scale Computing know that we are constantly working to add new features and functionality, provide new services, and integrate new hardware technologies. We weren’t going to take these top spots in a survey like CRN ARC with our solution as it was a couple of years ago. We had to make our solution better year after year and we know that keeping these spots will require the same in the future.

As a member of the Scale Computing team, even though it has been a few weeks since I heard the news, I am still extremely excited about these awards. Knowing that I am with a company with a clear vision and the discipline to see that vision through is highly motivating. Being recognized by these ARC awards is pretty darn awesome.