Canadian Web Hosting Blog and News
25Jan/120

How Volunteering at Lunapads Turned Into a Canucks Win

This post isn't exactly about our Canucks winning but please read on, this is about success and community.

Last fall during one of the Social Media Week panels, I had the opportunity to indirectly meet the two co-founders of Lunapads but it wasn’t actually until a few weeks later that we had the chance to bring our initial meetup offline. As previously blogged, meeting offline is important to further relationships with people in our local community. During EastVanLove, one of the two co-founders, Suzanne (on Twitter at @Luna_gal) was able to promote her own fundraiser for their trip to Uganda with a non profit organization called Shanti Uganda (on Twitter at @ShantiUganda). Their offices are next to one another in East Vancouver. Since they needed volunteers and more importantly, since Lunapads reached out directly to me to help the cause, I knew that I could help out. Back in September, they gave their time to share their social media experiences with a room filled with eager individuals from the education to the non profit world, from the finance to the tech industry, and so and so forth. In a way, volunteering for them was a way to say thank you for their own previous contribution that I had the honour to be a part of.

UGANDA_map

Uganda in Africa: the travel destination

From their story page, “Lunapads [on Twitter: @Lunapads] International is a women-owned and operated social mission-based business based in Vancouver, Canada. Our goal is to help individuals have healthier and more positive experiences of their menstrual cycles, and by extension, their bodies overall. Lunapads' mission is to create more positive and informed relationships between menstruators, their bodies and the Earth. We embrace a global perspective, in terms of well-being and empowerment for women and girls, as well as toward our responsibility with respect to sustainability.” Their mission also include: pad donations, mentoring women entrepreneurs in the community, business community support and volunteerism in action.

The evening was fantastic. Everyone started trickling into the red themed office, and mingled over an extensive food spread including various cheeses, crackers, vegetables, several dips, savory and sweet pastries, chocolate and more. They also had different types of wine being poured throughout the event that had been donated. They had a silent auction in one room in which I even won a pair of Canucks tickets thanks to a kind, anonymous donor - that's the Canucks win I was referring about; talk about highlights! About an hour and a half after the start time, we had the chance to listen to both co-owners along with Shanti Uganda talk about their journey from the beginning until now, their trip expectations and goals. All of the speeches were very touching and heartfelt. They both mentioned and knew ahead that this trip would be life changing when they'd get to see their impact first hand.

Lunapads CoFounders

Lunapads co-founders: Suzanne Siemens (back left) & Madeleine Shaw (front right)

One of the most compelling moments of the night was when Madeleine (On Twitter: @Luna_Diva) spoke to the huddle of volunteers before things kicked off and the message was about being open, friendly, owning a sense of respect and common sense but most importantly, she was conveying her own appreciation towards the group giving back. It was exciting to know that through their trip, they’d be able to meet some of those girls and women that they help through their products. Being there reminded me that as a global internet company, we, too, have to appreciate the fact that our own products can reach and impact anyone in the world. It’s great to be aware that we have strong leaders running terrific social enterprises around us and that makes our city of Vancouver BC that much more vibrant.

As companies like Lunapads continue to grow and expand, we’ll be there watching and supporting some of the various organizations around us, as we remind ourselves that each entity is making its own impact. In the end, we also feel the same way about our customer base. We provide that ongoing support continuously to help everyone around us move forward and we help them be successful.

If you’re interested in following their current trip, you can join them on their Facebook page for photos and latest updates. On a final different note, go Canucks go! I had to throw that in.


Felice Lam
Online Community Manager
Canadian Web Hosting
17Jan/120

EastVanLove Brings Community and Non Profit Organizations Together

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.

#EastVanLove Tweetup Poster

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.

  1. Peter Wrinch (@pwrinch) from Pivot: http://www.pivotlegal.org/ / @pivotlegal
  2. Caroline MacGillivray from Beauty Night Society: http://beautynight.org/ / @beautynight
  3. Dave MacDonald (@davemacdonald) from Reach Multicultural Family Centre: http://www.reachcentre.bc.ca/ / @REACHCHC
  4. Diane Roberts from urban ink productions: http://urbanink.ca/ / @urbaninkVan
  5. Harsha Walia (@HarshaWalia) from DTES Women’s Centre: http://dewc.ca/
  6. 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.


Felice Lam
Online Community Manager
Canadian Web Hosting
3Jan/120

Ready or Not: Virtualization is Coming

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.

v-index_snapshot

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.