My New Toys at iland

I’m now a month in at iland (and yes, it’s spelled all lowercase, not “Apple case”). I’ve spent most of this time meeting the new team, learning the ropes of the new company, learning the underlying technologies, and getting to know the products iland has developed. It’s your typical firehose situation. Often when starting a new job, you’re expected to jump in as soon as possible to start providing value. But iland has been good about making sure I get up to speed before throwing too much “official” business at me. Since some people may not have heard about iland yet, I figured I’d spend some time writing up a little bit about iland and what I’ve learned during this first month.

iland started off as a web hosting company back in the 1990’s. They have done a great job of listening to their customers and keeping an eye on market trends and thus found themselves being one of the first “virtual machine hosting” companies. This made the transition to public cloud provider pretty effortless. Today they are one of the largest VMware-based public cloud providers, offering public and private Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Disaster Recover as a Service (DRaaS), Backup as a Service (BaaS), and collocation services in data centers around the globe.

One of iland’s biggest claims to fame for their IaaS product is a very strong focus on security, offering customers data at rest encryption, daily backups, virus/malware scanning, vulnerability scanning and alerting, compliance reporting, and more as default features. One of the coolest things is access to actual human compliance officers who work directly with customers to make sure they understand their compliance needs and how iland helps them meet those requirements. All of this functionality is completely API driven utilizing products like VMware’s vSphere, vCloud Director, and NSX, and the Trend Micro security suite and is encapsulated into a single custom developed console that provides customers a single interface for this robust set of functionalities.

Building on the IaaS capabilities is the DRaaS product. Utilizing either Zerto or Veeam, customers can replicate and orchestrate their disaster recovery processes. This gives customers the ability to utilize products they may already have in-house and the ability to control their own recovery groups and plans. Failover executions and tests can then be executed either locally or through iland-hosted web consoles to make the critical process of failing over after a disaster as effortless and reliable as possible.  This combination of features has led Gartner to recognize iland as a DRaaS Magic Quadrant Leader for the last three years, the most recent of which was released just two weeks before I started.

iland also offers a BaaS product for customers who don’t want the full DR functionality, but just want a place to store backups off-site that are easier to get to than tape. There are many advantages beyond getting rid of tape in this scenario, including being able to utilize a familiar product like Veeam, having a security and compliance focused host being responsible for the data, and having easy access to a IaaS platform that could theoretically spin up these backups should things go really bad.

The final product I’d like to highlight was one that really surprised me and is very much an unsung gem of the iland product set. At least it was, until it was recognized as the Best of VMworld for Virtualization and Cloud Infrastructure Platform by TechTarget at VMworld 2018 last week. For those familiar with the old VMware product Lab Manager, iland’s Lab Engine will feel like a blast from the past. Providing customers the ability to spin up preconfigured, multi-VM lab, test, and/or training environments, Lab Engine shows the full power of a robust set of underlying APIs accessed via a custom purpose-built interface and orchestration engine.

Another distinguishing offering iland provides is actual human support. That means if anything goes awry or a helpful button-pressing finger is needed during a disaster, a support engineer is only a phone call away.

That’s a quick look at the product set that iland offers, but hopefully it goes to show why I was so excited for this opportunity. Having been involved in implementing both public and private cloud environments in the past, seeing how iland has built this amazing set of products using many of the best practices and recommendations I’ve suggested in the past has made me even more excited.

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