Does Doyenz have their head in the clouds you ask?

The REAL Cloud City


“Suspended high among the pastel clouds of Bespin, held aloft by huge repulsorlifts built into its curved frame, is a floating metropolis of sophisticated beauty and political freedom. Cloud City exists not only as a mining colony, extracting valuable Tibanna gas from the depths of the giant planet, but also as a sanctuary for those trying to escape the turmoil gripping the galaxy.” Oh, sorry, wrong cloud.  ;-)


Ran across a post regarding Doyenz today by Joe Panettieri over at MSPmentor, Will Small Business Server Move Into the Clouds?  I do not work for Doyenz, have not signed a partner agreement with them as of yet, and do not know where Doyenz may ultimately go as a company, but I do know what I’ve heard from them over the past twelve months and I don not think that their initial concept/business model has changed in the past five of those months.


Doyenz first showed up, in the form of their CTO, Przemek Pardyak, as an attendee at a PSSBS user group meeting back in November of 2007.  At that time, I had no idea who Przemek, or the company was.  Przemek emailed me in December to introduce himself again and but I didn’t pursue a conversation at the time.


Jump ahead to March, 2008, when a customer of mine emails an introduction to Doyenz CEO, Ashutosh Tiwary, over to me:


—–Original Message—–
From: C…
Sent: Thursday, March 27, 2008 11:24 AM
To: ‘Ashutosh Tiwary'; Steven Banks
Subject: Intro btw CEO Doyenz & Steven Banks


Steven,


This morning I had the opportunity to spend an hour with Ashutosh, an
opportunity you should mirror.  He created a startup that uses the notion of
a virtual machine to automate the provisioning of SBS-like services to small
and medium sized companies.  He is super passionate about the segment and
knows that he wants to build a product that you and your community will
adopt and promote.  As such he needs a community of like-minded souls for
feedback and guidance.  Please take the chance to meet with him; I know
you’re both very busy but each of you has a lot to offer the other.


Regards & thanks,


C…


Based off of my client’s introduction and a subsequent meeting in person with Ashutosh at a Starbucks in Bellevue, I set up an event for our Puget Sound Small Business Server user group that coincided with the last night of Microsoft’s 2008 MVP Summit, and Ashutosh had what I believe to be his first public presentation of his company, what they had envisioned for their service offering, and a rough time-line of when they would have something tangible to show us, and how he saw it as a progression in how those in the room had been doing business up to this point in the SMB / SBS space.


While there were many heated, sparked discussions that night, especially a very enjoyable devil’s advocate “what-if” game played by Jeff Middleton and Henry Craven across a few rows of seats from each other, complete with choosing others in the room to represent their employees and businesses effected by their scenarios, one thing came out of that discussion that really hit home.  This was reiterated by Ashutosh in October, when he met with us again prior to his launch at SMB Nation in Seattle.  This is my translation of what I heard:  Doyenz is not looking to be a cloud hosting company.  They are creating a service offering that leverages economy of scale and deals with different providers, like Kaseya, to offer the SMB space a low cost solution that funnels services through Doyenz.  They are positioning themselves as a servicing corporation to the SMB partner community.  By going to Kaseya, the example mentioned by Panettieri in his article, and to others they are striking agreements with, they are signing deals based on an estimated number of potential end users, then bundling the services and providing the SMB partner/reseller an opportunity to use those services as part of the Doyenz virtualized delivery system as a whole package.  Doyenz adds to the services by giving the partner/reseller a scripted vending machine type of approach where you go to the vending machine, I mean Doyenz Website, you place your order for an SBS 2003 Server, and you then pick up your end product out of the slot at the bottom of the machine in a few hours.  What you do with that end image is completely up to you.  You can run it on a customer premise server(s), you can host it at a collocation facility of your choice, or you can host it at your own facility.  They really don’t care, and are not in the “cloud” business.  They are in the business of collecting a monthly revenue stream resulting from the collection of services they are packaging for your usage and the ability for you to take the server they created for you and to update it in a virtual sandbox that Doyenz does host, where you can make changes and test things out before dropping them on a live production box, and then at night or an off-time you choose, you can shut down the production virtualized box, and update the image with the changes you have instructed it to do by your actions performed on the sandbox machine.  Doyenz does not want you to run your boxes in their sandbox as a cloud based service.  The only individuals making the choice of whether Doyenz is part of a cloud solution are you and your end customer.  If you really wanted to, you could take a Doyenz virtualized deployment and do a virtual to physical move and be done with them.  But the beauty of their solution lies in their package of services for a very low monthly cost, with the incredible opportunity to use scripts and test updates on a “live copy” if you will, of your customer’s production server, and then with the click of a mouse, instruct the Doyenz system to apply those scripts and updates after hours to the customer’s box.


So while the MSPmentor article is correct in that Doyenz does have, and I’m sure are still creating, quiet relationships in the background with Kaseya and others, their motive is not to put SBS in the cloud.  Their motive is to put SBS into a Doyenz virtualized environment on whatever hardware or hosted solution you choose, and then for Doyenz to be the value-add you will be excited to pay a monthly service fee to for the life of that server because you are getting a great amount of value from the bundle of those quiet relationships they have created and from their own technology that drew you to Doyenz in the first place, the ability to test and apply changes in an automated fashion without having to risk damage to the actual server.


I welcome your comments and ideas around this.


Steve

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