Introducing the Enterprise Cloud

The term ‘Enterprise Cloud’ is bandied about today with differing views on its meaning. Often I’m asked how ServiceNow sees it.

To spell that out, I’m kicking off the first of a multi-part series. In these posts, I’ll look at how we as a company define Enterprise Cloud, how that plays out in the real world and why that matters.

Even in the enterprise space, making assumptions on the similarities of all ‘software as a service’ applications would be a mistake. When you pull back the covers, you find radically different architectures of what constitutes an enterprise-grade application. This is especially notable between clouds designed to run point solutions for departmental functions, such as sales, HR or facilities, and cloud platforms that run functions across the organization—a true Enterprise Cloud.

Enterprise Cloud

From its inception ServiceNow was designed as the cloud platform to get enterprise work done. That was the vision of our founder Fred Luddy in 2003 when he created the platform. His mission was to:

Build a cloud-based platform to enable regular people to create meaningful applications to route work through an enterprise.”

This idea has never been more relevant in light of the digitization of the enterprise. The Enterprise Cloud provides self-service portals for IT, automates the flow of legal documents, enables complex project management, helps on-board new employees for human resources, coordinates employee travel and automates the production of every kind of product and service — even serving beer for happy hours! The Enterprise Cloud is not limited to a specific department or function but encompasses the entire enterprise.

We enable this wide variety of business functions because we are optimized for specific ones that run on the ServiceNow applications and platform. Both of these leverage a single system of record and a common data model that in turn operates on a uniform infrastructure.

We’ve designed our cloud infrastructure as our customers would expect using industry-leading servers, storage and networking technologies. Then we take it “one step beyond” the traditional definitions. Here’s a snapshot of what I mean:

  • Multi-Instance Architecture – ServiceNow delivers the right architecture for enterprise applications in many ways. We’ll look at is how our multi-instance architecture provides each customer their own database process that holds their company confidential data. There is no co-mingling of customer data in the ServiceNow environment.
  • Real Availability – ServiceNow looks at the characteristic of availability in a radical way. We define it as the time that you can connect to our cloud in a given month – no matter what the issue—even if stems from glitch from your internal team. This is what we call Real Availability. We strongly believe in this principle and believe it is unique in the industry.

Over three years ago, I came to ServiceNow to focus on what I considered the most exciting frontier for cloud—the enterprise. I have not been disappointed. Every day my team and I are looking to push the limits of the Enterprise Cloud. We know that our customers are relying on us to drive their mission-critical work.

In these blog posts and ones from my colleague Pat Casey, we’ll pull back the curtain so you can see what’s behind our enterprise cloud services. Next stop will be a detailed look at our multi-instance architecture. With that, I hope you’ll get a clearer picture of what ServiceNow means by the Enterprise Cloud.

Allan Leinwand
Allan Leinwand has built a reputation for managing the world’s most demanding clouds – in B2B and B2C. He is the chief technology officer at ServiceNow responsible for building and running the ServiceNow Enterprise Cloud – the second largest enterprise cloud computing environment on the planet. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing all technical aspects and guiding the long-term technology strategy for the company. Before joining ServiceNow, Leinwand was chief technology officer – Infrastructure at Zynga, Inc. where he was focused on building one of the largest consumer cloud computing environments used in the delivery of the company’s social games to more than 80 million players daily. He got his start as a cloud pioneer at Cisco before “cloud computing” was a term and the idea of accessing applications from anywhere was still very new. In addition to expertise in running large enterprise cloud computing environments, he also provides expertise in software engineering, quality engineering and product-market fit to companies including Spoke, Inc.; Bulletproof 360, Inc.; MapAnything, Inc.; Founders Circle Capital; and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is a Board member of Marin Software. Leinwand has served as an adjunct professor at the University of California, Berkeley where he taught computer networks, network management and network design. He holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

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