Cloud Storage Strategy: About Us – Steve Lesem and Gray Hall

Hi and welcome to I’m Steve Lesem, the founder of this site, and co-founder, CEO and President of Mezeo Software, the developer of the leading deployable platform for cloud storage.

Our story begins a few years ago when Gray Hall and I worked together at VeriCenter – an industry leader in managed hosting, co-location, and IT outsourcing services.

Our customers came from across a wide range of industries, representing some of the world’s best-known brands, from Kodak to NASA. We served businesses in a wide range of sectors – retail, health-care, government, energy, financial services, manufacturing, B2B, home-building, restaurants, and technology. We supported enterprise applications, Web sites, software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications, disaster recovery solutions, and general business infrastructure. In 2007, VeriCenter was acquired by SunGard Availability Services.

At that time, we were aware of a new sort of challenge facing our industry – from outside entrants like who were beginning to grow their storage and web services businesses, based on their own internal technology. Cloud storage, as a significant part of an overall cloud computing strategy, as we saw it, was going to change our business and yes, our entire industry. It seemed to us that while virtualization of the processing layer of the stack was serving our interests, there was a clear lack of an IT service-provider-ready cloud storage solution.

Amazon was first, but now major new entrants like Google and Microsoft, as well as veterans like EMC are delivering cloud-based offerings that are redefining the hosting and SaaS market even as we write these words. The hosting industry, managed services providers, and even telcos are not exempt from this market redefinition. Your customers, enterprises both large and small, are part of this equation as well. We must let customers know what their options are, before they are captured by the industry giants who are attempting to define and own the cloud.

There is an additional trend that is, as yet, poorly understood and lacks definition. New application functionality is moving into the storage layer of the infrastructure stack. Developers will expect that additional services come with the cloud storage solution they use. This will go far beyond the capability to store and retrieve files. And, it will include capabilities that extend well beyond management tools. Specific cloud storage services will ultimately be an expected part of cloud functionality. We want to engage with our community and define these services.

This blog is our response to this challenge. We want to ask questions, discuss alternatives, and help shed some light on this emerging space. We hope to bring together industry thought-leaders, professionals, and vendors to:

– Advance our collective knowledge of the definitions, trends, and technologies for cloud storage

– Discuss the business impact of cloud computing, and cloud storage in particular

– Examine the strategic alternatives available to MSPs, IT Hosting companies, and telcos – i.e., how are business models going to change?

-Understand how small and medium businesses will be served

– Clarify the choices and use cases for large enterprises, and resolve the private versus public cloud debate, in a way that makes sense to business leaders

– Develop recommendations for creating a cloud storage discipline within your organization; present sample business justifications supporting cloud storage investments

– Define and understand the critical factors that contribute to improving the customer experience

– Encourage discussions of lessons learned from cloud storage management practitioners

– Collaborate with vendors, businesses, and individuals to exchange ideas, create an online repository of “next” practices, and report on new developments as they occur

– Disseminate information on news, events, and relevant articles on a regular basis

– Create a framework for measuring cloud storage performance criteria

– Examine the critical security requirements for cloud storage

– Invite contributions from experts in the field to answer your questions

In essence, we’re here to help you challenge traditional industry assumptions that are no longer valid. Will you join the conversation?

Gray and I believe this phenomenon called cloud computing represents both an exciting opportunity and a significant threat to the IT service provider industry. We’re working together again, at a start-up called Mezeo Software, providing solutions we believe will create additional opportunities for our customers, and most importantly, our customers’ customers. At the end of the day, its all about giving customers options that make sense, new capabilities that truly create value, not just buzz about the latest thing. We’ve all been talking about utility computing for years, 120 volts of IT at every outlet, and the next step in this transformation of our business is upon us.

Our Bios

Gray Hall

is Chairman of the Board of Directors at Mezeo Software. Gray is a veteran of the IT hosting industry, having co-founded VeriCenter in 1999 and serving as President and CEO until its successful sale to SunGard Data Systems in 2007. VeriCenter was among the first full-service managed IT service providers in the U.S. market, and was a leading national provider of Enterprise Hosting solutions. Gray led VeriCenter from its start-up through 28 consecutive quarters of growth to $80 million in annual hosting revenue. Most recently, Gray has served as Executive-in-Residence at Fidelity Equity Partners, a $500 million middle-market buyout fund backed by Fidelity Investments. Prior to VeriCenter, Gray’s experience includes seven years with IBM, where he led the formation and launch of IBM’s Center for Scalable Computing Solutions in 1994, and several years in the venture capital industry including serving as Managing Director of Broadband Venture Partners, LLC and various roles with a number of early-stage IT hardware and software start-ups.

Steve Lesem

is the CEO and President of Mezeo Software, a Houston based software developer of the leading deployable platform for cloud storage. Prior to Mezeo, Steve was Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of VeriCenter. He has over 25 years of marketing and sales experience. Prior to joining VeriCenter he was Senior Vice President of worldwide sales for SafeNet, a Maryland based security technology firm. At BMC Software, a Houston based systems management software solution provider, Steve served in a variety of capacities, including VP channels and business development, Asia Pacific, and VP of Sales and Marketing for BMC’s Security Business Unit. Prior to BMC, he held multiple sales and marketing positions at IBM including General Manager, PC Server Sales and Marketing for North America. Steve earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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