TL; DR: Portland-based Opus Interactive has been providing clients colocation and cloud hosting solutions from Tier III+ datacenters across the US for more than 20 years. Today, under the leadership of CEO and majority owner Shannon Hulbert, the woman-owned business is working to unite people and technology through a customized, white-glove approach to web hosting solutions, server virtualization technology, and managed IT services. We sat down with Eric Hulbert, Opus Interactive Co-Founder and President, who told us how the company focuses on the human element in IT services and what’s planned for the future.
Opus Interactive first entered the tech game in 1996 as an IT department within a Portland ad agency, providing everything from day-to-day enterprise solutions to custom hosting environments. Back then, the group was building its first customer website for Hillsboro, Oregon-based DeMarini Sports — a famous baseball and softball manufacturer known for inventing the world’s first multi-wall bat.
The agency’s IT department covered all the bases, from design and development to hosting and eCommerce solutions. Meanwhile — to ensure they could continue to hit jobs like this out of the park — the department began to expand its approach.
“We decided to focus on the managed hosting and cloud side,” said Eric Hulbert, Opus Interactive’s Co-Founder and President. “We started our virtualization framework with Hewlett Packard Enterprise servers and VMware back in 2003, and we officially launched our cloud in 2005, long before almost everybody else.”
It wasn’t long until the department’s mounting skills put them in a league of their own.
“We continued to grow quite a bit, and ultimately couldn’t be part of an ad agency anymore — so we decided to split in 2008,” Eric said.
Since venturing out independently, Opus Interactive’s winning streak has continued. Today, the company’s team of heavy hitters provide cloud hosting, colocation, and managed services from Tier III+ datacenters in Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. Through a keen understanding of the market and a dedication to customer satisfaction, Opus Interactive has earned a reputation for providing customized IT solutions that satisfy customers’ varying equipment, scalability, and budget requirements while fueling growth.
Personalized Support From an Experienced Team of Trusted Advisors
While the company is known for its VMware private cloud and colocation, Opus Interactive offers end-to-end IT services. As Eric noted, customers can rest assured that no matter what they’re looking for — Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), colocation, disaster recovery and backup, a plethora of hosting services, Container-as-a-Service (CaaS), and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) — Opus Interactive’s experts are committed to providing a seamless, customized solution.
“Our underlying philosophy is really embodied in our tagline: ‘Technology, meet Humanity,’” Eric said. “There’s plenty of technology. There are lots of options. We try to help people get through the fog of the cloud and really help them figure out what makes the most sense.”
The team provides guidance every step of the way, working to understand each client’s business systems, infrastructure requirements, and budget before designing a custom IT solution.
“We’ll take the burden from them at whatever level they want — we’ll draw the line in the sand where it makes sense,” Eric said.
For example, a customer using Opus Interactive’s VMware powered Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) solution may outsource as many IT requirements as desired.
“We make their lives easier by not having to worry about depreciation or buying equipment, cycling out — we handle all that for them and we can do it at a better scale,” Eric said.
Furthermore, OpusCloud, the company’s VMware vCloud-powered service, can be provided as single virtual machines (VMs), multiple VMs, or entire virtual datacenters, giving customers the flexibility to allocate exactly the resources they need for each server independently of one another.
When it comes to providing exceptional customer service, Eric credits Opus Interactive’s team of experts in network performance.
“Our team is key. We do a lot with automation and cross -training, but mainly we have our team is super close because we’ve worked together for so long, and in this industry, that’s hard to come by,” Eric said. “The tight-knit teamwork really makes the difference, and it shines through to the service we provide for our customers. They genuinely care about each other, our customers and really giving our best to the work we do every day.”
Tier III+ Datacenters Deliver Cost Savings and Peace of Mind
Opus Interactive’s high performing, cost-effective, and resilient hosting services are available through geographically diverse Tier III+ facilities in Hillsboro, Portland, and Dallas. Eric told us there’s also been a recent expansion into Manassas, Virginia, to serve the East Coast market.
The company has experienced year-over-year growth, largely driven by increasing customer demand for colocation and cloud solutions, and has expanded its footprint accordingly. In December 2014, for example, Opus Interactive expanded its Dallas datacenter, increasing capacity for cloud hosting, IaaS, disaster recovery, and colocation “just to keep up with the growth of our customers,” Eric said.
The company has also expanded within its Hillsboro facility, owned by Infomart Portland, multiple times — including a 90-kilowatt expansion earlier this year. Furthermore, the company offers services from Tata Communications’ Brewery Blocks 1 datacenter in Portland, which has access to Trans-Pacific cabling linking the U.S. and Asia.
“We quickly filled that one up with all of the available space sold,” Eric said.
Between all locations, Opus Interactive customers (who reside mainly in the fields of healthcare, technology, finance, and government) receive enterprise-level infrastructure at a low monthly fee, backed by world-class security measures. To keep data and infrastructure secure, the facilities offer multiple methods of authentication, access, control, and surveillance. Finally, the company’s Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) services offer additional layers of protection.
Customer-Driven Internal Development With an Eye on the Market
Eric told us that Opus Interactive’s internal development process is guided by research, industry trends, and customer feedback.
“We go to a lot of industry events a year that we’re either sponsoring, speaking at, or just attending to keep a finger on the pulse of the industry,” he said.
In fact, the company’s Container-as-a-Service (CaaS)/Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), powered by Jelastic, was added to the mix as a result of such feedback.
“We added on our PaaS, CaaS offering about a year or so ago, just so we could meet that part of the market for those customers who wanted to build their apps in containers and microservices in either Windows or Linux,” Eric said. “We created that platform just to stay relevant in the market for that subset; mostly developers and the DevOps community.”
In addition, the company’s analyst firm, Structure Research, keeps them attuned to the state of the industry.
“We’re constantly reviewing their quarterly briefings and going to their events,” Eric said.
The firm also helps Opus Interactive collect data on the performance and cost-savings it offers clients, as well as the company’s own growth trajectory.
“On just our IaaS and our private cloud, we are actually more cost-effective than both Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in almost all instances, and our third-party provider (Structure Research) backs that up for us,” Eric said. “They have tested our performance, looked at our price, and verified that we offer as much as 10x better performance on our network, 12x better performance on our storage, and between 5x and 10x better performance on our CPU compared to the big guys.”
Up Next: Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Multi-Factor Authentication
Opus Interactive’s internal development process has recently led to the creation of innovative new products.
“We have a couple of very large customers we’re managing VMware Horizon virtual desktop infrastructure for, so we’ve added that as a new product offering to our mix,” Eric said. “It’s not desktop-as-a-service — we don’t want to manage the end users; we have a couple partners that do that if that’s something someone wants — it’s providing end-user compute.”
Eric told us that product will be launched within the next quarter. In addition, Opus Interactive is partnering with E-LINE by DIRAK, a provider of electronic access handles with two-factor or multi-factor authentication at the rack level.
“We’re creating a managed security offering for our colocation for those who need better access control at the rack level — even all the way down to a half rack if someone needs it,” he said.
The offering will be launched exclusively in the company’s Virginia market to provide added security and compliance measures.
“The digital transformation journey at the enterprise level is complex,” Eric said. “We’ve been honing our service offering for more than 20 years and we’re excited to be able to offer our customers support every step of the way.”