Today could be the day my parents finally understand that the cloud is their friend.

If your parents are anything like mine, you have experienced an unwillingness to embrace all that the Internet and ultimately the cloud has to offer. However, today is a new day. My parents’ favorite store, Wal-Mart, launched a new service that could easily move them into cloud computing without them even knowing.

“How”, you ask? By doing the same thing I have been doing for years to get them to use Facebook, email and Xbox… Someone is going to have to do it for them.

Wal-Mart recently launched a new service that allows customers to take their DVD and Blue Ray collection to a local store where an associate will convert the titles to be stored and viewed via Wal-Mart’s entertainment cloud, VUDU.com.

Here are the 5 steps to my parents moving to the cloud without even knowing what hit them:

  1. They can physically walk into their local Wal-Mart store and hand the trusted clerk (Jason, that develops their film) their entire DVD collection.
  2. Jason will take their DVDs and enter the titles into their VUDU.com account.
  3. If they do not have a VUDU.com account, (which is a 100% certainty) Jason will create that account for them for free, and provide instruction on how to access the account.
  4. If the title is supported by the VUDU.com library, the movie will be available immediately for viewing online through their pc, Xbox360, or any other web-enabled device.
  5. Jason will then stamp the inner circle of the DVD. (So the DVDs that they “will” sell in the summer garage sale can’t be registered multiple times)

The thing my parents will love about this service is the fact that they will get to keep their DVDs, “just in case the Internet ever goes out of business”, as my mother so often points out. The thing they may not appreciate is the fact that they are going to have to pay again for something they already have paid for once. Wal-Mart has decided $2 is the price tag amount my parents will be willing to pay for Jason to be such a huge help in “converting” their DVDs to a cloudified movie library.

Compare that price to the normal amount (about $5) they pay for a roll of film with no doubles and you can see how a loyal Wal-Mart customer will accept this fee for the outstanding service Jason has provided. Wal-Mart’s claim is that the new program allows customers to reconnect with the movies they already own on a variety of new devices, while preserving the investments they’ve already made in disc purchases.

The interesting point of this story is not that my parents are now going to be willing participants and users of cloud computing. No, the interesting point is that Wal-Mart has found an easy way to explain the cloud to a market segment previously untapped for cloud marketers.

Wal-Mart has created a physical portal to transport my parents into a digital world. And thanks to Jason and his relationship with my parents, the next time I visit we can all watch “Smokey and the Bandit” in the cloud.

So cloud providers take notice. When you are trying to explain to companies (your end-consumers) that you provide:

  • A dynamic computing infrastructure: to support the elastic provisioning and de-provisioning of services while maintaining high levels of reliability and security.
  • A user-centric service approach: the easier and faster a user can perform an administrative task the more expedient their business moves, reducing costs and driving revenue.
  • A self-service based consumption model: the benefit of self service from the users’ perspective is a level of empowerment and independence that yields significant business agility.
  • A cloud-optimized management model: the balance of control and delegation maintains security and uptime, minimizes the level of IT administrative effort, and keeps operating expenses low, freeing up resources to focus on higher value projects.
  • A consumption-based billing structure: the value here from a user’s perspective is the ability for them to pay only for the resources they use.

None of this will mean a thing to the consumer unless you can package the cloud in a way that allows them to immediately and easily picture a real life solution that makes their personal or business life better.

At Williams & Garcia, we understand what makes consumption of cloud services successful, and we are delivering products and services that impact our customers’ life in a positive way.

For more information about how Williams & Garcia can help you create a cloud that means something personal to you and your organization, send a meeting request to info@williamsgarcia.com.

Those that know me know that I’m a certified car nut…er…enthusiast, that is. I have always had a strong appreciation for those things that are the epitome of great design and performance. My affinity lies, in fact, with two types of cars – supercars (Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bugattis, etc.) and powerful sedans (BMW M5, Mercedes AMG, even some American muscle in this list, too). What fascinates me about the latter category is that when executed well they provide nearly the same performance as the supercars, but have room to seat four (or more), comfortable luxury amenities, offer better gas mileage, and, all around, are more practical in nearly every situation. They’ll even give the supercars a run for their money at the occasional track day. In fact, they are so good that one should really question why you’d ever buy a supercar. I can think of only a couple of reasons. The first is design. Supercars are indeed beautiful. The second is outright performance. If you need to eek that last tenth of a second off your lap time, the supercar is the way to go. But in nearly every conceivable real-world situation, the powerful sedan is the better choice.
The latest generation of data center infrastructure products on the market today are analogous to supercars. They’re fast and sexy, but expensive and impractical for most use cases. Just like supercars, you sacrifice many features and amenities in the pursuit of ultimate performance. In fact, we hear many customers tell us that the only reason these products have been deployed is because they were the only option in the market. Imagine a world where your car options were limited to a Toyota Camry or a Lamborghini. Lamborghini’s are awesome, but they’re not affordable, utilitarian, or comfortable to drive most of the time. In today’s world of IT operations, if you need more than Camry performance, you have little choice but to buy a Lamborghini solution at the Lamborghini solution provider’s price point, too.

At W&G, we don’t believe you should have to make this type of tradeoff. In fact, we believe that you should expect far more from solution and service providers than what is out there today. We also believe that solutions shouldn’t be looked at in a silo, but rather as an ecosystem of compute power, networking, storage, security and compliance, processes, tools, and services. Add to that a delivery, operations, and management model that really achieves the what it promises at a price point that will satisfy the most demanding person in corporate finance. That’s why we’ve partnered with makers of key enabling and disruptive technologies that break the “supercar” paradigm. Our solutions marry innovative products and services in a manner that’s analogous to the BMW M5 or Mercedes AMG – packed with amenities, tons of performance, and easy to live with in a wide variety of use cases. In fact, they’re even better in two ways. First, if you want Lamborghini – or even Formula One performance – our solutions easily scales to deliver it and more. Scaling that is so powerful it actually goes far past Formula One performance and is more akin to having a fighter jet. Second, the technologies and services that we incorporate into our solutions are so efficient that you don’t have to pay a huge premium for them. After all, fighter jets, Formula One cars, Lamborghinis, BMWs, and Mercedes are more expensive than a Camry. W&G solutions are total cost of ownership competitive with any solution end to end. To sum up, you get the level of performance you need, all the enterprise features you expect, security and compliance you long for, a solution that is easy to live with day to day, and capabilities that you simply didn’t believe that you could achieve.

If the automotive industry delivered better than Formula One performance with the features and amenities of a luxurious sedan, AND with the price, economy, and reliability of a Camry, it would forever alter (or better put, disrupt) the landscape of the business. W&G is doing just that. If you think this sounds too good to be true, I strongly encourage you to contact us to learn more about how we can utilize technology to improve your business. It all starts with a simple conversation with our team. Fair warning – you won’t want to give them back.

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge innovate products that we see trending as disruptors…in a good way. Among them are two companies that I am really excited about: Fusion-io (and not because the Woz is their Chief Scientist) and Nutanix.

If you haven’t already heard of these 2 companies, here’s a quick intro:

  • Fusion-io is a pioneer of a new storage memory platform that significantly improves the processing capabilities within a data center by moving process-critical, or active data closer to the CPU where it is processed. Called shared data decentralization, this significantly reduces latency while increasing data center efficiency. Fusion’s integrated hardware and software solutions leverage non-volatile memory for enterprise-grade performance, reliability, availability and manageability.
  • Nutanix is the first company to offer a radically simple compute and storage infrastructure for implementing enterprise-class virtualization without complex and expensive network storage (SAN or NAS). The company was founded by a team that has built scalable systems like Google File System and enterprise-class systems like Oracle Database/Exadata in the past, and has investment giants like Lightspeed Ventures and Khosla Ventures standing backing them. As a testament to their innovative product, Nutanix won a Best of VMworld 2011 award for their building block technology, even though it was only introduced in August 2011.

More information at the jump: