Luc Van Steen – a new voice in the City Cloud blog

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Luc Van SteenToday we are happy to welcome a new voice in the City Cloud blog – Luc Van Steen. Luc is an IT specialist at IBM and highly involved with cloud computing with a main focus on infrastructure. Luc will be writing articles in the City Cloud blog and cover both his own field of interest with inspirational articles. He will also write about industry news and other related topics.

We had a chat with Luc to find out more about him and his relation with cloud computing.




Tell us a bit about yourself Luc, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Luc Van Steen, living in Belgium and have been working in IT since 1994.
Working as an IT Specialist/consultant for one of the largest IT companies in the world, I have implemented a lot of infrastructures for customers active in different business areas, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare. Of course there is more to life than just work, so in my spare time I try to invest my time in my family, and sports (I’m a passionate runner).

What are your special skills and your main focus at IBM?
Since I started in IT, infrastructure and services/consultancy have always been my main focus. From design, over implementations/migrations, to support. The interesting thing in the IT infrastructure area is not only deploying the infrastructure but also integrating them with other systems. Networking, security, storage, virtualization, Linux, Windows and of course scripting are my main skills. And now it is not only focused on on-site infrastructures anymore but more and more on cloud.

How did you get involved with cloud computing?
Since a couple of years, there is a clear shift in the way we need to deliver IT services. Speed becomes crucial. Manageability, flexibility, simplicity are key and mobility becomes the standard. Traditional IT is not capable on delivering these business requirements. Cloud can! So it is obvious that I wanted to get involved with cloud.

We obviously love cloud computing but what is so great about it in your opinion?
Cloud creates a whole new exciting business opportunity. With cloud computing you can make a difference to your client’s business and give them a competitive advantage.
People who think cloud computing is about sharing documents/photos and email are wrong. Cloud has now the ability to fuel your enterprise IT.
Don’t be fooled to think cloud computing is a actually a new concept. “Remote processing power” was actually first developed in the 1960s by J.C.R Licklider, key developer of ARPANET (the precursor of the current internet). Attempts to get his vision on the market for businesses were undertaken serveral times and failed. Today the landscape has changed, new technologies are available, pushing cloud computing forward.

Cloud computing ranges from A to Z, is there any particular part that interests you more?
Cloud computing covers a lot of different areas, and everybody knows the 3 major areas: Iaas, PaaS and SaaS. My main interest is situated in the Iaas-area. This is also the area where in my opinion the difference can be made. IaaS is the most interesting domain for customers who want to move their on premise infrastructure to cloud as it follows almost the same rules as traditional IT, and therefor less disruptive, but spiced with the benefits of cloud. IaaS is the best entry point to get into cloud.

What is your relationship with City Cloud?
In 2011, I was self-hosting my servers. As these servers were running out of maintenance, I was not keen on investing in new hardware, so I began searching for an alternative.
As cloud gained momentum at that time, I decided to check on cloud providers. At first I came across multiple US-based cloud providers and then I did a search on European Cloud providers. That’s when I first noticed City Cloud. Pricing was extremely competitive and responses to my questions I had at that time were answered by the support team on the spot (as for the other providers could not be said). So I signed up, create some servers and started my migration from self-hosted servers to cloud servers.
Now we are 2014 and I’m still running my servers with a downtime of almost zero! It must be said, I’m a very happy customer!

Is there any particular feature that you just cant live without and why?
I do like the administration portal. It is well designed, gives access to different features and works very intuitive. Hard to say which feature I like the most but snapshots are surely a candidate.

And now you’re going to write articles in the City Cloud blog, what will you cover?
A spectrum of topics. Technical items, industry new and best practices will be covered. For example, I will be covering the aspects of the importance on high availability. This is an area customers not always consider when moving to the cloud. As the cloud industry becomes mature, we see a lot of new development in this area. I will try to cover some of these relevant topics also.

What do you hope to bring to the table for our readers?
Ideas. I discovered that cloud computing is about pushing the borders, doing things different. And that start always with an idea. I hope readers can be sparked in doing new things in the cloud sphere.
And on that note we thank Luc for the chat and welcome him as a City Cloud writer. Luc’s first post will be published on April 23:rd.