Interview with Chris Riley of CloudShare

Chris Riley is the product manager at CloudShare. But before he became a guru, he was just a fan of the cloud. He actually spent his time helping companies acquire and actualize enterprise applications, mostly in the area of content management.


What’s most compelling to you about cloud technology in the workforce?

What I find interesting in the era of “The Cloud” is how obscured people get about the period of the technology.  Organizations get preoccupied why or why not they adopt new technology, and understand what it means.  But the reality is nothing has changed, actually what we do when adopting technology is exactly the same.  The focus must be on productivity, and when you focus on productivity the best solution arises, and today the best solutions tend to be “In The Cloud.”  I encourage this reframing of the problem to not focus on the technology but focus on what the outcome needs to be.  I really hit this home in this presentation which also has good content.


Can you explain how CloudShare works and how it integrates with Microsoft SharePoint?

CloudShare ProPlus is a way for developers and organizations to work on their SharePoint projects in the most effective way.  They can share what they build with peers, customers, prospects.  They can completely sandbox their development and start each project fresh.  And they can even break something because starting over is two clicks and five minutes.  Basically ProPlus is a place to do SharePoint development and testing that does not interfere with production environments in the cloud, or on the premise.  It keeps with the MS best practice of doing development and testing separate from production environments.  CloudShare is actually not a cloud storage solution.  It’s SaaS + IaaS.  Because of this we are not similar to a Box or Dropbox, customers can user these storage platforms in their CloudShare virtual machines.  What we give users is complete virtual machines.  They are not multi-tenant and the users have full control.


Why did you start working with CloudShare? What kind of progress have you made in getting clients to move over to your service? 

I started working for CloudShare, because I was a customer, and a customer who could not shut up about the time savings I was getting from the platform.


What are the fundamental advantages to using CloudShare services? Separation of workload? 

Organizations with CloudShare get the obvious benefits of the cloud, accessible from anywhere, reduced cost of infrastructure.  But they get the unique benefit in the extremely high cost and high risk process of development, testing, poc, and training environments.  The opportunity cost of starting a project is less.  The cost of failure is so much less.  The ability to collaborate is something that you simply don’t have elsewhere.  Before ProPlus when something goes wrong in a SharePoint project the cost is high, and it takes weeks to get back to where you left off.  This often petrifies project teams, and some organizations it prevents them to taking the necessary risks to build the best solution.  We like to use the term Fail Fast, because eat cloud share the cost of failure, meaning the inevitable messing something up, is nothing.  We offer 5 ways to share from just sharing the web applications on your SharePoint environment to sharing whole copies of your virtual machines.  CloudShare is the only cloud built for pre-production.


Any drawbacks?

Like all cloud solutions if you don’t have internet, you don’t have access.  But internet is becoming so ubiquitous.  One of my favorite things to do is use CloudShare on the plane.  The other challenge organizations fast is taking on what they have built in CloudShare and moving it to their production environment.  This is where the sheer level of flexibility we provide can sometimes overwhelm companies.  Any way you can migrate a SharePoint site from one place to another you can do on CloudShare.  But because we offer such great ease of use, the expectation is often that there is a magic bullet for migration and traditional steps to not have to take place.


Has the recent push for cloud services been a burden, or a boom for CloudShare? 

There are those that are there with the cloud and those who are still blinded by the newness of it.  But ironically the cloud is not new.  All the CLOUD tells you is that there is Internet and servers, but the servers are not near you.  We find companies in high tech, system integrators, and cutting edge IT teams embrace the cloud, and realize that it’s really not much different.  The biggest push against the cloud is security, but as I’ve written before Cloud providers tend to be more secure than the average company.


What are some projects you envision for the future of CloudShare? Which will be implemented the soonest, and which are you most excited to help curate?

We have so many exciting things company in the roadmap and unfortunate I can only mention the nearest features.  First is a big focus on new pre-configured templates.  Especially on the Microsoft stack. We have coming soon more personalization for what you share with Vanity URLs, ability to copy machines from separate environments, ability for you to upload existing VMs, and more automation tools.



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