Disclaimer: The below are my views. I hate calling out specific companies on things I think they’re doing wrong as I’d rather focus on what we’re doing right, but in this instance I feel it necessary.
After the buzz and excitement of Ignite, I was looking forward to getting home and writing up a few blogs about VM Shielding, S2D, Storage Replica, and my overall experience at the event, but today I’ve read an article which needs to be immediately addressed.
At Ignite I spoke about how to operationalise a Guarded Fabric to host Shielded VMs at session BRK3126, a session specifically designed to talk about all of the lessons we’ve learned over the past year and a half of working with Shielded VMs in how to bring a Guarded Fabric from being ‘installed’ to ‘fully operationalised’.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned, from customer education through changes to backup schedules, new hardware to deploy and so on – new processes, new procedures, new contractual obligations, and new ways of providing support to customers.
I also spoke about how despite there being quite a bit of additional onus and administrative overhead on us as a service provider, we’d made the decision to bring VM Shielding to market at zero additional cost to our customers.
This is incredibly important to us, as we don’t see security as a revenue generator, but rather as something that we the service provider are duty bound to provide to our customers. We never want to squeeze our customers on security, and we never want them to feel like they have to choose between security and their budget.
I believe that when you are first to market with a new capability, you have a moral duty to help guide the direction the market takes in its adoption of it, and to take a long-term view of the capability and how it can help the market in the future.
I believe that VM Shielding removes one of the last great barriers to customers moving certain workloads from on-premises into the cloud, protecting their valuable data from being accessed by the fabric on which it runs, and the admins who manage it. This being the case, it’s an absolutely critical capability in the overall uptake of cloud across our entire industry, and we’re beholden to help bring it from a state of ‘desired’ to ‘required’ in order to provide our customers with the best platform, experience, and security possible.
The absolute worst thing you can do when bringing a new capability as important as VM Shielding to market is to treat it a short-term cash grab, as that will ultimately slow adoption as customers are forced to choose between budget and security, and hurt the industry and customer cloud adoption as a whole.
Imagine my absolute dismay then when I read this in a well-publicised article from Rackspace about VM Shielding.
Not only does it claim that all VMs can be encrypted by default through VM Shielding (it’s actually just WS2012 upwards), and that it takes no effort or cost on their part (which is completely untrue, as can be verified by watching BRK3126), but after claiming that there’s no cost or effort to them, on the next line they state that they’ll charge more for Shielded VMs than regular VMs! I can’t fathom the mind-set which can state in one line that there’s no cost to them and in the next that they’ll happily charge more. More mind-boggling is the fact that it’s definitely not zero cost and zero effort, so why not say that there’s additional overhead to them which necessitates a slightly increased price? That line of reasoning at least makes sense, even if it is an incredibly short-sighted approach to business and customer need.
The real benefit of VM Shielding is not the ability to win business that was off limits before, it’s the ability for customers to secure workloads in the cloud which they previously couldn’t, allowing them to reap the cost, performance, agility, and scalability benefits of cloud, for the first time without compromising on security.
That’s the messaging we’d expect from a customer-centric organisation, and is the messaging we will continue to push to market. Inherent security where it’s needed, never as an additional cost item. Smooth the path to cloud, don’t throw up barriers.
Maybe I’m just being precious here, and if so please let me know. Very interested to hear thoughts on this, so please do leave comments below, or on Twitter @KennyLowe.