So, after spending almost 15 years working with vendors to build solutions for the web hosting service provider market, I wanted to start a section on my blog to discuss my experiences in this area. Its been a really interesting ride – sometimes fun, sometimes rewarding, but usually, outright frustrating. We have vendors contacting us – mostly because they are losing customers at an alarming rate for their products/services as more and more customers of all sizes are outsourcing their requirements to web hosting service providers. Newer players to this arena face struggles as well and just do not understand how to penetrate this market. The movement towards IaaS (vs the traditional capex infrastructure model) has been a persistent trend in IT for over a decade, and the trend simply continues, even amongst the worlds largest organizations. These vendors are trying to understand how to penetrate the service provider space so that their products and services are delivered via web hosting service providers – vs their incumbent direct to customer model they have been accustomed to. For web hosting service providers, our industry is relatively new and we are absolutely starved for innovative vendors to come in and solve some of our problems and challenges. Unlike most web hosting service providers, we spend a significant amount of time with potential vendors, with the express interest of developing long term partnerships which will not only help vendors make the transition in their business model and thought processes, but, also bring unique value to our customers via these relationships and the ability to bring new and unique solutions to our customers which were not previously available for customers outsourcing their requirements to web hosting service providers.
Combines the benefits of Virtual Private Server hosting with OnApp cloud management capabilities across the U.S. and Canada; new VPS platform deployed in seven days, achieved ROI in three days
Flexiant raises money, releases Cloud Orchestrator v3 with app provisioning
Analyst: Rachel Chalmers
15 Jan, 2013
Cloud orchestration software vendor Flexiant has raised £3m (roughly $5m) to support
continuing expansion, including the launch of Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator version 3. The latest release of its software introduces four new licensing models tailored to the hosting and service-provider market and designed to give companies of all sizes access to the product. The latest version also adds Bento Boxes, a new feature that delivers preconfigured application provisioning. Bento Boxes let service providers offer their customers prepackaged application stacks that are ready to share and deploy.
The 451 Take
We’ve struggled with how to categorize Flexiant. On the one hand, its software is called Cloud Orchestrator and it does overlap functionally with management and automation products like enStratus, Nimbula, ServiceMesh and VMware vCloud Director. On the other hand – and reflecting the company’s heritage – the software is also a true cloud OS, and is most often compared with CloudStack, OnApp and OpenStack. Whichever way you look at it, Flexiant is proving itself in the market.
Internet reviews, especially in the hosting industry, are an interesting challenge. I wanted to provide a resource where I could post our customers reviews, allow our customers to add their comments and direct potential customers to reputable 3rd party review sites they can look to for the good, the bad and the ugly about Cartika. Obviously a company our size will have some negative customer feedback. We consider this constructive and are continually working to improve. What I am trying to address however is a scenario where 1 malicious person can spam invalid complaints around the internet and help potential customers weed through the noise to get a real understanding of our company and the level of services we offer.
For our part, Cartika has never really participated much in this arena. We historically have never published our key customer list, nor published customer testimonials on our sites. We have done this because we have tried to remove the intrusion that this sort of activity can cause our customers. However, we also understand the need for strong partnerships and strong references from our customers. We do this for our key vendors on a regular basis and I think it’s fair that we start to leverage our strong customer relationships in the same way.
As a result of on an ongoing situation we have been engaged in, spanning 3+ years at this point, Cartika has hired an internet reputation firm to help us deal with and address various aspects of our reputation management. The concern is one of fraud and extortion against our company by a single malicious person who has a long history of extorting service providers.
You can read more about this situation HERE
You can see a google search results for this person illustrating the long history of extortion against service providers and other companies HERE.
So, the first thing we are going to do is explain that 99% of the negative reviews about us on the internet are from this single person – who’s intention is to extort money and try and launch a class action lawsuit to extort further money from us. They prey on small to mid-sized providers (which we were 3 years ago). We do not fear a class action lawsuit, nor the extortion methods of this person – however, we have grown to a size significant enough, where this is something we need to address (as I assure you, every other hosting company has had to address at some point in their evolution from a mid-sized to large sized company).
The next thing we are going to do is show our customers where to find reputable reviews about our company from 3rd party sources. Please understand, all of these negative reviews, if you look at them – are all very similar – and they only exist on review sites which do not regularly remove spam or even do basic research to see that data like domains, IP whois and domain whois, etc do not match and the posts are obviously spam/fraud in nature. Heck, many of the negative reviews come from myself or our staff apparently, using our names and domains. Many use legitimate domains on our servers, but, the IPs used to post the reviews are obviously not in the same geography or continent as the domain owner. Unfortunately, some of these review sites are run by our competitors and its not in their best interest to remove such reviews. Other sites simply do not care, and simply want traffic at any cost. This user exploits such things.
Here is a list of reputable 3rd party sites which keep their sites clean of spam and users can find reliable (positive, negative or neutral) reviews of Cartika and our services
- Webhostingtalk (search for cartika, cartikahosting, cartikahosting reviews and cartika reviews)
- Webmastertools (this site pulls in feeds from various sources, sound good, some outage related stuff over the years, but, all legitimate content)
- Microsoft (this one is interesting as there are no customer reviews present – but, it was filled with spammed negative reviews from this single person – we contacted Microsoft to investigate and they easily identified the postings as spam/fraud and removed them – as any legitimate review site would)