To date, enterprise and mid-enterprise businesses in Canada who want to explore private cloud options have been hampered by slow provisioning times, spotty reliability, and restrictive pricing agreements that lock you into a contract months or years in advance. Last week, ThinkOn introduced the first virtual datacentre in Canada. I think this is going to be a game-changer in the Canadian marketplace. In my opinion, it has a lot of promising features that set it apart from many of the other offerings that are currently available. Here’s why I think it’s going to push boundaries when it comes to business innovation: First, it’s simple. ThinkOn has taken a DIY approach to virtual environments, which gives IT teams more control over setup, maintenance and costs. The operational framework allows rapid self-provisioning and self-management from a service catalogue of many existing services. The business model is also straightforward: pay for the capacity you need, in small increments, as you need it, carry over unused capacity to the next month, or borrow capacity from slow months and use it during peak times without time-consuming contract adjustments. Second, it’s built on top-line proven equipment and it’s quick to provision. It uses Hitachi Unified Storage infrastructure, network infrastructure from Juniper and virtualization infrastructure from VMware. Support is planned for other hypervisors, storage and network hardware as the service evolves to address customer requirements. The folks at ThinkOn have also designed their datacentre infrastructure to support very rapid provisioning of server workloads (about 30 minutes) or complete data centre (about two hours), compared with market norms of one to two weeks. And with an impressive four nines reliability and full redundancy, they are able to guarantee 100% availability. Lastly, it’s Canadian owned, operated and resident. ThinkOn will have a datacentre in Quebec, two in the Toronto area and one in BC as it ramps up. Aside from a bit of Canadiana following the long weekend, a made-in-Canada solution addresses some of the legal concerns that have kept Canadian enterprises from adopting the cloud with the same enthusiasm that has been seen in other countries. Canadian data stays in Canada, which to date has been a major issue for companies that are wary of litigation in US courts, or for organizations prohibited by Canadian laws from letting private data leave the country. This new model opens up opportunities for Canadian businesses to have a high-availability, easily configured, Canadian datacentre. My hope is that it will help spur innovation at Canadian companies and give us all a competitive boost, making us more competitive, more agile and more responsive to our customers and markets. We ’re so impressed with the idea that we have chosen to make Compugen the first Canadian service provider to partner with ThinkOn. I’m looking forward to being part of this innovative business model because I think it has the power to change how we all do business.