Seth Bostock, IndependenceIT’s CEO
By Mark Cox
Today IndependenceIT, which provides a desktop-as-a-service software platform that lets service providers and IT departments deploy complete workspaces in the cloud, has announced that its Cloud Workspace Suite is being integrated with Google Compute Engine infrastructure services.
IndependenceIT started out life as a network and software integration company, writing middleware.
“Citrix was the only product around then that you could build a service on, but their product was aimed at enterprises, not at service providers, and wasn’t that good for multi-tenant use,” said Charles Buck, the company’s founder and CTO. “So we eventually wound up writing our own tools, and selling them. By 2010-2011, we had begun to branch out with a channel. At that time the channel was ISVs, who used us to enable their own cases as a software-as-a-service provider. Today, our only business is supporting and selling these software tools, and our channel has expanded to include ISPs and the hosting community.
“Our channel is just shy of 120 partners that we handle directly, and some of them have their own channels,” Buck said.
“Our sweet spot is the SMB and SME – we are not focused on the enterprise,” said Seth Bostock, the company’s CEO. “Our customers range from accounting firms with two users to public firms with thousands of users — and everything in between.”
The Cloud Workspace Suite lets partners deploy complete workspaces in the cloud which go well beyond desktops. This includes Windows desktops, business and productivity applications, and a complete back-office system. Buck said the Suite also offers the advantages of VDI in a one to one relationship, but they do it using a session- based server.
“We built the platform as hypervisor-agnostic, so we run in OpenStack, in VMware, and HyperV and Azure,” he added. “Today our partners can take advantage of deploying a virtual cloud workspace for customers from a single interface.”
Buck said that two recent moves by Google made them much more attractive to IndependenceIT.
“First, they said they will support the Windows OS, and secondly, they dramatically dropped their pricing, severely undercutting AWS and Azure,” Buck said. “They cut pricing from 40-80%, depending on instance size, which put them into the universe of what people can afford. Once they cut the prices and supported Windows Server, that made them attractive to us.”
The ability to deploy the automated IndependenceIT solution on Google infrastructure will provides the company’s service provider partners with a branded, reliable offering at a much more aggressive price point than comparable cloud workspace products.
“Partners say that some customers want a name brand infrastructure, so this will let them deploy on Google while they continue to manage anything from one pane of glass, which means the partner can manage exactly as before,” Bostock said.
“From a business perspective, it will empower partners to have a compelling offer with a name brand at a compelling price,” Bostock added. “For us, it continues to show the IT community we are extremely diverse in our approach, and won’t be locked in to one certain stack.”
The integration of Cloud Workspace Suite with Google Compute Engine will also allow for automated spin-up of virtual machines and caching within the framework of an active directory organizational structure, pre-built so that when a deployment scenario occurs, the service provider can easily administer it.
The partnership with Google positions IndependenceIT well going forward.
“We believe that as the market begins to mature, many service providers will stop being interested in the ‘bring your own cloud’ approach and will look for someone with a stable of offerings that they can just drop into,” Buck said. “Google’s history and pedigree of running very large data center deployment bolted together with their own backloaded infrastructure will help us there, and may at some point make functionality possible that isn’t feasible today.”
IndependenceIT is also hopeful that the Google partnership will increase the number of their quality partners.
“We would like to see it expand the number and type of partners,” Buck said. “The partners familiar with Google are from a different universe from those we have today, and we would absolutely like to see our channel expand there.”
“This will bring in people who have been expanding Google’s apps and services, and that will broaden our horizons,” Bostock added.