Q&A With Faction CEO Luke Norris

Hybrid cloud is revolutionizing IT. But navigating the crowded cloud marketplace can be complicated, given the ever-expanding number of qualified cloud services and providers. Faction and CoreSite have teamed up to create an inclusive, cloud-enabled colocation solution that helps customers connect private networks into cloud-based networks to dramatically improve performance, security, and efficiency of their essential systems and applications. Faction CEO Luke Norris sat down with us to discuss Faction’s unique value in the market, the importance of supporting various hybrid cloud use cases, and how the Faction-CoreSite relationship is changing how many organizations will approach a hybrid environment in the future.

What differentiates Faction from other hybrid cloud providers?

We have an expansive list of high-quality partners and patented technologies that provide a unique solution for hybrid cloud deployments.

With partners like CoreSite, we’re able to operate a geographically dense cloud-based network, but what really sets what we’re doing apart from everyone else is how we provide our customers a “bespoke” private cloud environment that offers the full control of a private cloud network with the economy of a public cloud. They get the best of everything in this arrangement: enhanced security and the tailor-made fit of a private cloud, but the versatility and on-demand billing of a public cloud.

The other real difference is in our approach to Day 2 services. We separate storage from compute—huge volumes of stored data—and connect it via low latency links to public clouds in CoreSite facilities. Unlike conventional models, -where if you put a petabyte of storage in a public cloud it might take you years to get it out, – we have the storage sit in the middle on its own and pick where to distribute it, which saves our clients a ton of money and time, while also improving access to their information whether it’s in a Google, Amazon, or Microsoft cloud.

How does Faction support hybrid and multi-cloud strategies?

We support both hybrid and multi-cloud strategies in a number of ways. For hybrid, we use cross connect from CoreSite or a telco circuit located in a CoreSite facility to expand LAN architecture right into the data center. There are no separate islands of networking and control because it’s all in one place. Similarly, for a multi-cloud deployment, we enable a very large storage footprint in our own cloud and with our patented layer 2 technologies, we’re able to separate speed and feeds to deliver capacity to different storage on demand. When we put that between hyperscalers and access AWS, Azure, Google, it’s as if the data were actually sitting there.

What are the most popular Faction products and services?

On the private cloud side, it’s our Faction Cloud, which is our adaptable VMware powered private cloud. It’s the starting block of computing and storage resources—and from it you’re able to scale storage, capacity, speed, CPU, and memory infinitely, which is a huge consideration for growing businesses and the reason it’s by far our most popular service.

The second most popular product is our Cloud Control Volumes, which is our cloud connected storage. With this solution, storage volumes are directly accessible from the CoreSite data center through peering to the hyperscalers, ideal for long-term archiving, high-throughput big data analytics, data lakes, or making data accessible immediately as file-based storage in any public cloud.

What sort of cloud-based use cases would this support?

Right now, hybrid production use cases on our bespoke private cloud are the most common. This is where clients are extending their enterprise data centers into our private cloud and using it as the base of for their cloud resources. We also see a growing number of disaster recovery and big data analytics use cases because we’re able to create a scenario in which data is aggregated to a central location and make it available on any cloud at sub-millisecond speeds.

Why does this matter to your clients?

As a client, it’s incredibly important that you get the security and customized architecture of a private cloud, but also enjoy the advantages of a public cloud like flexible billing and near-infinite scale that won’t break the bank. Those are hugely validated needs in large enterprise software and service tech companies who make up the bulk of our client base.

More importantly, clients who want to fully leverage their data want to do so by spreading it over multiple clouds to avoid vendor lock-in. With Faction and CoreSite, as I noted earlier, we can take these extremely large amounts of data storage and offer a balanced approach to CPU, RAM, Storage, IOPs, and Network that gives clients complete control over which resources they use, when and how. It’s a more agile approach that improves their ability to respond to what’s happening in the cloud ecosystem.

Talk about Faction’s relationship with VMware and how Faction enables VMware Cloud on AWS in particular?

Well, first we were one of two early access partners in the VMware Cloud on AWS beta, and remain one of two in the production system—and are the only ones deployed in the Reston and Portland production facilities. Beyond that, we fix an inherent problem with VMware Cloud on AWS, where their storage technology doesn’t grow independent of compute because of the architecture. If you want to grow your storage footprint, you also need to grow your compute footprint. With Faction’s Cloud Control Volumes for VMware Cloud on AWS, you can add capacity and speed without having to increase your cloud footprint, which allows you to move large data sets and handle security without having an expansive and harder to manage footprint.

What stands out about your partnership with CoreSite in terms of enablement compared to other partners?

CoreSite is strategically located in advantageous markets. For example, their Santa Clara location provides faster access to hyperscalers than any other partners because the network partner nodes are right next to one another, which creates an ultra-low latency connection to hyper-scalers. At the same time, CoreSite’s Open Cloud Exchange and peering capabilities expose us to a much larger ecosystem of cloud services providers, which makes it easier to roadmap our future plans.

What are Faction’s clients saying about you?

On private cloud solutions, they love the seamless integration and support and our ability to provide a foundational roadmap into multi-cloud. For our fixed networking, they are seeing a true multi-cloud enablement platform that will drive the growth of their cloud based applications. Our ability to partner with CoreSite, VMware, and AWS provides the all-in-one package they are looking for.

Final thoughts

The Faction and CoreSite partnership is the precursor to what will eventually be standard collaboration in the cloud space. The joint solution helps organizations future-proof their architecture by choosing among adaptable virtual and dedicated models for maximum flexibility and business agility. As IT leaders continue to seek ways of striking a balance among optimizing efficiency, gaining cost certainty and control over their IT environment, and enhancing the overall performance and profitability of their businesses, they’ll need the support and ingenuity of hybrid and multi-cloud leaders like Faction and CoreSite.

Learn more about CoreSite’s cloud-enabled data center services at CoreSite.com.