Q&A with 365 Data Center’s New VP of Cloud Services & Support, Jeff Slapp

Sep 07, 2018

365_JeffSlappPhoto-(1).jpgIt’s an exciting time at 365, with four director- and executive-level hires so far this year, major services being rolled out and additional announcements in the pipeline. One of those new executive team members, Jeff Slapp – VP of Cloud Services & Support – is in charge of the company’s new cloud and virtual managed services offerings (see the announcement about Jeff joining the 365 team here).

Keep reading for the latest from Jeff on 365’s cloud and managed services, as well as industry trends such as hybrid cloud, virtualization and software-defined everything. Plus, the Boca Raton resident offers some IT advice to local South Florida businesses. 

Q: First things first — your hire was officially announced in March. What attracted you to joining the 365 team?

A: A lot of the original team I worked with in 2009 when I came onboard at Host.net is still here. It’s a very dedicated, hard-working staff – we all work hard and play hard, and there’s a family atmosphere. Only a small fraction of people in the industry say they work in an environment like that.

The other side of it is that when the 365 group took over ownership of Host.net resources last year, I was in contact with a lot of the folks at Host.net and I started hearing all these great things. After listening to CEO Bob DeSantis and talking to the board members, I realized it was a very professional, well-informed organization focused on growing the business.

Q: You are leading the rollout of 365’s new cloud and virtual managed services product offerings. Tell us more about this initiative.

A: What’s interesting is that the timing couldn’t be better. Not only are we now due for a refresh with regards to the hardware and capabilities of the platform, but the technology that we wish we had 10 years ago is now here. We envisioned all the things that we have today back 10 years ago — we knew what we wanted; it just didn’t exist. Fast-forward 10 years through the software-defined era, which we are in, and now those capabilities do exist, so the timing is absolutely perfect. It just happens to also now coincide with my entrance into the company, and I’m focused on building architecture, so now you’ve got all three elements to make this happen. It’s a nice trifecta. (Stay tuned to 365’s website and social media accounts for updates!)

Q: A couple of your specialties are server/storage virtualization and software-defined enterprise architectures. Could you tell us what you’re seeing in the enterprise space related to virtualization and the software-defined approach?

A: Software-defined, at a very high level, is really the evolution step from what we used to call just straight virtualization. When x86 virtualization came onto the scene in the late 90s, it spawned into this software-defined market that we have seen emerge around the 2010/2011 timeframe, where hardware is now becoming more of a commodity. I’m not going to say it’s completely a commodity yet; there’s still some specialization out there, but in general, it is commoditized now.

You’ve always had hardware and software; one without the other is useless, and it’s always been that way. So why now, suddenly, are we making this big deal about software-defined everything? It’s because now, the hardware is fairly generalized, common and commoditized, and it’s not really the hardware anymore that differentiates. It is now the intelligence layer, aka the software, that differentiates. The hardware has become so powerful that we’re able to focus on the advancements in software. Before, you would ask which vendor had the better platform and hardware. Now, it’s who has the best software stack? The software is the differentiating element in all of this.

What does this mean to companies of all sizes? It means more agility and having the latest and greatest capabilities through a simple software update. And now you have a whole new suite of services immediately available. It allows businesses to compete at a much different level than what they could before.

Q: What would you say to SMEs considering hybrid cloud?

A: I believe the most important thing is to recognize that there’s a place for both the private and public clouds and knowing which applications will thrive in the public cloud is critical. When you go to the public cloud, it’s just a matter of physics – you will have higher latency than you would if it was inside your data center or office because it’s farther away. The other thing to keep in mind is that the public cloud generally tends to be oversubscribed. Application performance isn’t always completely predictable. Certain applications are designed to run in the public cloud, but high transactional volume type applications, such as databases, tend to thrive in a private environment. What’s important for the SMEs is really to understand the application. How does it work? What kind of resources does it require? Who is the ultimate consumer of that resource? That determines where to best place the application.

A lot of companies, early on, pushed all their applications out and then pulled them all back again. Everything was going to the public cloud. But there’s no silver bullet; there’s no free lunch – if there was, we would all be using it.

At 365 Data Centers, our goal is simple: rather than pushing people to the cloud, we are bringing the “clouds” to the people.

Q: You’re based in Boca Raton and have worked for many South Florida companies over the years, including Host.net. What would you say to South Florida enterprises about cloud and virtual managed services?

A: It’s probably obvious that in South Florida we do tend to have inclement weather! By choosing a hardened data center facility which has been built to withstand those types of conditions and tying in highly resilient cloud services, we are able to cover a broad range of capabilities which are imperative to continued operations for our clients and their businesses.

In addition, because of the shift in the industry software-centric models of operating, companies are less interested in managing, maintaining, supporting and spending capital on their own infrastructure when ample resources and all the capabilities they desire are now provided from a service provider that manages them 24/7/365. Businesses don’t have to babysit hardware and infrastructure anymore; they can just focus on their applications, their business and being profitable, and we will handle the rest. That doesn’t mean, of course, that you still don’t need technical resources, because the applications and data must still be privately managed. What we’re saying is, let us take the infrastructure management burden away with you; let us deal with break-fix, when hard drives and network switches fail, when more capacity is needed. When you can focus on the applications and the things that make you profitable as a business, then you’re going to be more efficient and successful.

Our network down here in South Florida is extremely powerful, so we’re delivering those high-speed, highly capable network services to all the South Florida businesses. We’re already here in your backyard, literally. A lot of service providers with colos don’t have their own dedicated, dark fiber networks in South Florida; we have a vast network of that capability here.

At 365, we truly see ourselves as an extension of your business. When you are successful, we are successful.

Contact us here or call 866-365-6246 to learn more about our new cloud and managed services. Connect with Jeff here and stay tuned to our blog for more in our Q&A series that’s making Technology Humanized™!