As a member of the Vancouver community, our team members enjoy taking time to connect with other locals to see what’s happening around town. As of late, one of our current community related endeavours has been to be more in touch with local non profit organizations to find out what they are currently doing and also, where they are going as we continue to grow our own corporate social responsibility efforts. We find that it’s important to be aware of the great work that is happening around us and in some cases, become an ongoing fan and supporter in certain causes like our recent post on our involvement with the Union Gospel Mission.
Last month, one of the interesting and moving tweetups called EastVanLove (@EastVanLove), hosted by at the Hood (@thehood604), was exactly related to those specific topics: non profit organizations and volunteerism. Each organization spoke about their involvement in the East side of Vancouver, their community building, the positive impact that they strive for, and how the community can get involved. The event itself included some time for networking, a panel that shared highlights about their organizations in a quick five-minute presentations and some time for questions and answers. The diverse line up included the following 6 speakers and to make things easier to connect with them, I added their sites and Twitter handles.
- Peter Wrinch (@pwrinch) from Pivot: http://www.pivotlegal.org/ / @pivotlegal
- Caroline MacGillivray from Beauty Night Society: http://beautynight.org/ / @beautynight
- Dave MacDonald (@davemacdonald) from Reach Multicultural Family Centre: http://www.reachcentre.bc.ca/ / @REACHCHC
- Diane Roberts from urban ink productions: http://urbanink.ca/ / @urbaninkVan
- Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) from DTES Women’s Centre: http://dewc.ca/
- Fen Hsiao from Potluck Café: http://potluckcatering.com/ @potluckcafe
Today over lunch, I had the honour and privilege to catch up with Dave MacDonald, from Reach Multicultural Family Centre, to revisit this event and talk in more depth about volunteerism and their current projects. One of his interesting points on volunteerism is that, in his opinion, there are two types of volunteers: 1) those who want to offer their skills or expand their current skills and 2) those who want to do good deeds for the community putting aside the emphasis of any particular skills.
For example, an accountant could decide to help out people by providing free tax help while another volunteer could decide to volunteer for a different project that requires little experience or very little expert skills. Through our conversation, he shared a recent example where a potential volunteer wanted to help out his organization with their own values in mind, however, the skill potentially offered wasn’t what his organization needed at the time. Therefore, what the volunteer could offer and what the organization needed, wasn’t the right fit in the end.
As a prospective volunteer, you must approach any non profit organizations like any other interviews where you might want to do a bit of research ahead of time to find out if your own skills would be something that the organization at hand needs in the first place. You must be able to fill a need and ideally, your own ideas and values will match with theirs.
As a non profit organization, it’s important to understand what current needs are needed, so that when a volunteer comes knocking on your door, you must be ready to communicate what kind of support could be used. From Dave’s point of view, he’s seen over the years that it is sometimes difficult for non profit organizations to turn down volunteers.
The conclusion is that when it comes to volunteering, there needs to be a clear match between what the volunteer can offer and what the non profit organization needs. There are so many great organizations around the Vancouver area and the people in it like Dave make it that much more exciting and vibrant to be a part of our community.
In the future, I’ll continue sharing our own support and involvement with our community and also, how some of our own customers take great pride in doing the same. If you know of any great other non profit organizations whom we should talk to, please leave us a comment below.
You can also read more thoughts on this past event via the Vancouver Observer’s article by Kelly Marion, Stephanie' Chua’s Storify story and/or the picture stream and keep up with the organizers including Ajay Masala Puri (@masalapuri), Kimberley Ong (@kimieong) and Stephanie Chua (@steph_chua) to find out about their upcoming events.
Until then, whether you’re an individual or an organization, you should consider taking some time to give back as much as possible.Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru
As you might guess, we spend a lot of time looking at current marketing trends and what types of technologies and products our customers will need over the next 24 to 36 months. Many of our customers at Canadian Web Hosting (www.canadianwebhosting.com) have seen our continued expansion into virtualization and cloud web hosting solutions. While the reason for this are not difficult to understand, sometimes it can be helpful to see numbers and trends behind these decisions and to see where your competitors might be heading.
In looking at these changes, the significant cost, power and efficiency advantages of virtualization have helped push the cloud into the enterprise and many companies are moving their existing IT infrastructures into that cloud which now stands at 38.9% penetration.
One of my favourite reference tools is the V-index, a free resource that is updated every quarter on www.V-index.com that gives you clear and concise data that represents where the enterprise market is heading. This is important as most “enterprise” grade solutions trickle down to the small and medium size business’ as the platforms mature. What is the V-index? The V-index tracks the penetration of virtualization across the server requirements of large-scale enterprises in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Germany and the aim is to give end-users an ongoing snapshot of the penetration rate of virtualization, thereby the user can deduct trends and issues that may affect its adoption.
As you start to look at the data, the first thing that pops out is that 75 percent of organizations are discussing private and hybrid cloud deployments. More importantly, many of these same organizations are looking at moving “business-critical” initiatives to virtual computing environments. This shows the continuing adoption and trust of the cloud platform as a critical business decision. In a recent Symantec Cloud survey, many organizations stated that they are leveraging virtualization for business-critical applications. Of enterprises that are implementing virtualization, more than half (59 percent) plan to virtualize database applications in the next 12 months. Fifty-five percent plan to virtualize Web applications, and 47 percent plan to virtualize email and calendar applications. Forty-one percent plan to virtualize ERP applications. This is significant because it shows an increasing comfort in putting critical data including ERP solutions into the cloud. Canadian Web Hosting has seen this trend and is part of the reason we continue to expand our cloud solutions to include the build in governance and redundancies to protect that data.
As virtualization and cloud technologies are increasingly adopted, the cost and performance of these services is front and center. In a recent example from the Cloud Usage Index, 82 percent of companies said that the cloud has helped reduce their IT costs. As a comparison, Symantec’s cloud survey also showed that more than half of the respondents (56 percent) said storage costs somewhat increased with server virtualization, but during the process of virtualizing storage, those same companies found that cloud deployment reduced operating expenses (55 percent of respondents), improved storage performance (54 percent of respondents) and improved disaster recovery readiness (53 percent of respondents).
In looking at the cloud and the types of solutions available, there is one very significant point to be made. When we talk about shared hosting, or dedicated servers, these are hosting plans that have a defined meaning that you know exactly what you are getting. A good example of this is dedicated server hosting. With servers, you know exactly what you are getting both from a resource and service standpoint. There are not different flavours of dedicated servers outside of different manufacturers. With the cloud and virtualization, the same cannot be said. When you look at the cloud today, we have a better idea of what the cloud is but we still have challenges defining exactly what it is. One person sees it as a technology, another person sees it as a general way of doing things, a third person sees it as a capability. Another way to view it is that the cloud today provides a set of communities, conversations, commitments, and projects that are always changing every day. As an example, our Canadian Web Hosting customers who utilize our cloud services, ranging from Hyper-V, Xen and VMware, represents a community that has many different service requirements but have certain commitments and conversations that are specific to Canada. This can range from meeting Canadian privacy and security requirements, to needing a failover service that leverages a multi-site cloud. It represents a highly elastic, scalable set of tools and technologies that give end-users flexibility.
Because of the ongoing focus on communities and conversations, there is an ever-present challenge that exists throughout the cloud platform and service providers. Even with our adoption of VMware, Hyper-V, Xen and Joyent platforms, we continue to see a lack of “cloud” standardization, or what a recent article on the Cloudline Blog on Wired.com suggests that because of customers specific needs, we are in fact disparate communities. Recently, I’ve seen a few blogs out there suggesting that 2012 might be the year that standardization becomes increasingly adopted. For the end-user, this means that standards will be defined including API standards, resource behaviour standards, thereby giving developers the ability to start writing applications and workloads that can run across public clouds but still meet the communities “local” requirements.