by Margaret Craig, Chief Executive Officer
At a recent industry event, someone asked me “What is Signiant’s position on the cloud?” At first this seemed like a silly question. After all, the days are long gone when cloud technology was seen as a pro-or-con issue. But on reflection, our company *does* have strong opinions on this topic; the fact that we’ve taken a stand is one of the reasons we’re seen as leaders in the cloud arena. I should be able to articulate these views, so herewith our Cloud Credo. This is what we believe:
1. Content should be free … to live wherever our customers choose. Signiant’s product portfolio is designed for storage independence. We know that modern storage decisions are complex and situational – some classes of assets might be kept on premises, others stored in private clouds, and still others sent to the public cloud. We don’t take a position on what content should go where, and unlike consumer file-sharing services, we don’t lock our customers and their assets into a specific multi-tenant public cloud environment. Our focus is on providing innovative, high-performance tools to support the storage profile of our customer’s business, whatever that might be.
Having said that, we do love clouds! We regularly move petabytes of content in and out of public clouds, and our products are keeping pace as storage technology evolves. For example, it takes some extra secret sauce to accelerate the movement of large files into object storage systems such as Amazon S3 and Azure. These object storage integrations are a hot topic of conversation with our customers right now, and we’re glad we made the investment. We’re selling this technology into some very interesting applications these days; stay tuned for some major customer announcements.
We’re also innovating on behalf of those who prefer to keep their content closer. Media Shuttle’s patent-pending ‘hybrid SaaS’ architecture is one of the key reasons for its popularity. This is a best-of-both-worlds product, providing a friendly, cloud-delivered user experience while the content storage remains wherever you want it – on-premises or in the cloud.
2. We believe in SaaS. The world is moving toward Software-as-a-Service, and we have jumped on the bandwagon. We still sell on-premises software and understand why it’s good for some applications. But after bringing a SaaS product to market, we really understand what the excitement is all about. It’s pretty clear that IT folks will appreciate the reliability and scalability of SaaS, but the real eye-opener has been how much value it brings to end users and their managers. The big win for them is rapid innovation. With automatic software updates every few weeks, our customers get new features without all the aggravation of an on-prem software upgrade process. This is particularly significant in the media business, where downtime for software upgrades is fundamentally incompatible with a 24/7 operation.
We’re also finding that customers are rapidly moving through the cycle of accepting – and then actually preferring – the consumption-based pricing associated with SaaS. This, too, aligns well with the dynamic, project-oriented nature of the creative industries.
3. ‘Design for the cloud’ is worth the effort. People who work closely with cloud technology understand that on-prem software running in the cloud is *not* the same as a purpose-built cloud solution. Call it ‘cloud formed’, ‘cloud born’, or whatever … it’s a lot more work to truly design for the cloud. But that’s the path we took; we built the SaaS component of Media Shuttle the hard way. Signiant’s engineers developed it from the ground up to take advantage of advanced cloud services and to design in scalability, high availability and global performance. Over the past year, our customers have embraced all of these benefits and validated our decision to take this path. With some solid experience under our belts, we’re having a lot of interesting discussions with customers about how these concepts apply to other systems and technologies.
These three things sum up Signiant’s cloud philosophy. They are simple statements, but there’s a lot of power in each one – and in combination they allow our customers to truly realize the business benefits of the cloud.