From Cloud to Crowd: Nuboso Feeding SiteB Growth

BY RANDY LANKFORD
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

fred1-1SiteB Data is becoming larger by thinking smaller.
Founded in 2009, SiteB Data in San Antonio is primarily a colocation data storage service. Businesses that don’t have the wherewithal to build the infrastructure to securely manage and store massive amounts of data, use SiteB’s data center instead.
“Colocation is usually used by small organizations with specific storage needs, like educational systems or medical providers, that have some infrastructure but don’t want to invest in everything that goes into a data center like air conditioning and backup power,” explains Fred Reyes, CEO of SiteB.
There’s also the environment to consider. Not what the business is doing to the environment, but what the environment can do to the business. Companies located along Texas’ gulf coast, for example, don’t want to store precious data in the path of a hurricane. It’s much safer to store that information in San Antonio and then access it remotely.
Eric Elliott, chief information officer of the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance (TOSA), agrees. One of only 58 independent, federally-designated Organ Procurement Organizations in the United States, TOSA has massive and critical data storage and processing needs. With locations in San Antonio, Austin and McAllen, TOSA chose SiteB’s colocation services because of service and reliability.
“We’ve been very satisfied,” Elliott says. “They give us that personal touch that other colocation services are just too big to provide. There have been times when I’ve had to call someone in the middle of the night and SiteB has always been there. They’ve been very responsive, very reliable.”
But what about even smaller businesses, startups, companies with a great idea and little more? Where do they store their critical data? Where do they get the processing power to run their often one-of-a-kind applications? That’s a question SiteB is answering with its Nuboso Cloud-based hosting brand.
Nuboso was introduced at Austin’s South By Southwest (SXSW) Festival in 2011. Focused on art, music and interactivity, SXSW explores emerging technologies and is a breeding ground for new ideas. That’s the grassroots market Reyes wants to be a part of.
“When we launched Nuboso, we got about 50 users right out of the gate,” says Reyes. “And things have been going fast and furious since then. One of the things we do a little bit differently is we don’t sell virtual machines. We sell resources. The reason we did that was when we first looked at the Cloud offerings out there, there are a lot of people offering virtual machines, or Cloud servers, but the end user didn’t gain the benefit of the Cloud. If you needed a virtual machine, you paid one price and then, if you needed another one, you paid that price again.”
Reyes’ model of the Cloud is built on providing a suite of options enabling users to configure their service to best meet their unique needs.
“We sell you a number of CPUs, a certain amount of drive space and a certain amount of RAM. Then you allocate it as you need it. You can cut it up anyway you want. Let’s say you buy five CPUs, seven gigabytes of RAM and 100 gigabytes of drive space. You can slice that into 20 machines or you can make it one machine. So the end user can utilize the Cloud the way they want to.”
Reyes believes providing that flexibility to entry level businesses through Nuboso will build relationships that will grow. “As those businesses start to grow and reach a point where they need dedicated or specialized services, they naturally grow into our colocation services with SiteB.
“We really get in there with our customers, ‘what do you need, what are you looking for?’ We build that initial relationship when they’re using our Cloud computing service and then, as they grow, we provide them additional, more sophisticated services. And, since we’ve been partnering with them from the start and seen how they’ve grown and how their needs have changed, we’re ready to help them take it to the next level.”
SiteB, and its Nuboso product, are located on the near west side of San Antonio in a 27,000-square foot building owned by the Reyes family, a location Reyes says is ripe for growth.
“We’ve developed the first 7,000 feet so we have room to grow. When we looked at this building we realized the surrounding infrastructure was already there. The long-haul fiber ‘railway’ is right behind us and the connection point is only two buildings away. The power grid this building is in is only 40 percent utilized and the building itself was an empty shell so it was sort of screaming to be a data hub.”
Nuboso’s development was completely self-funded by the cash flow of SiteB. “It wasn’t easy,” says Reyes, “but we were able to do it. Once you have the datacenter, you can do a lot of things with it.
“The initial investment, building a datacenter, was huge. That’s not a cheap project. Just the value of the building itself has probably tripled since we started construction in ‘08. We’re probably at 60-70 percent of our current capacity and we expect to reach 100 percent of our current capacity in the next year. We should pay off the initial investment in four years. What’s probably going to happen, obviously, is we’re going to keep investing in growing our facilities and our capabilities. That’s not a hard sell. It’s pretty easy to raise capital when you’re investing it in growth.”

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