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As businesses continue to take more of their operations into cyberspace, a glut of IT providers have filled up an already competitive industry. But few boast the expertise and worldwide reach of Virtual Instruments, which continues to grow throughout the world as potential customers realize it’s among a handful of firms that can cater to the most demanding IT environments.
“We have a very unique combination of hardware and software that identifies IT infrastructure problems customers have had for years, but had no visibility of the nature of the problem or where it was isolated,” CEO John W. Thompson explains.
“That visibility into a very opaque area of their business will become more important as we cloud-enable data centers around the world.”
Virtual Instruments is one of the leading infrastructure performance and availability optimization solution providers, and its technology is installed in hundreds of the world’s largest data centers. Its award-winning VirtualWisdom infrastructure optimization solution provides real-time monitoring, measurement and analysis of physical, virtual and private cloud computing environments. The company says this is the only product that can non-intrusively improve the performance of virtualized applications in real time.
Virtual Instruments was founded in June 2008 through a private equity spin-out from Finisar Corp. With headquarters in San Jose, Calif., the company has a veteran senior management team at the helm and is funded by a group of experienced investors.
The company’s products are available domestically and internationally at sales offices throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Virtual Instruments serves the financial services, retail, e-commerce, telecommunications, federal government, healthcare, manufacturing, and online trading and gaming industries.
Thompson says Virtual Instruments has completely revamped the company’s product line since the spinout in 2008. Most recently, the company has updated its hardware probe, which gives IT departments a view into its infrastructure to monitor performance.
The design of the company’s new probe makes it more reliable and supports higher storage network speeds. Modular in design, the probe can adjust and adapt to changing environments.
It is this type of innovation and attention to detail that has allowed Virtual Instruments to grow from just eight employees in 2008 to 170 today. Thompson claims this combination makes Virtual Instruments peerless in the IT industry.
“We have a very unique technology suite for helping customers understand performance and availability issues for the most critical-mission environments,” he says. “We have no comparable competition in the marketplace, which has allowed us to have the kind of growth we have enjoyed.”
The sales numbers demonstrate this. In the last quarter of the previous fiscal year, Virtual Instruments set a sales record of $14 million. “We are substantially above our traditional run rate by a factor of three, and it is all driven by the new product,” Thompson adds.
With 40 years of experience in the tech industry, Thompson has seen firsthand how the industry has evolved since his first job with IBM in the 1970s. Within the last five to 10 years, in particular, he has witnessed the largest companies expand their server-related infrastructure to a massive scale. This sprawl has made it too daunting for IT departments to isolate performance problems, so they need new tools to address those issues.
Thompson says Virtual Instruments’ products are the only tools available that can accomplish this for large Global 1000-class data centers.
“We are unique in the sense that we are only constrained by the knowledge that clients and prospects have of who we are and what our capabilities are,” he says. “The concept of proof of value demonstrates the proof-positive benefit of our technology because we are engaged in the front end of the process.”
The need for these solutions was so great when Virtual Instruments was spun out in 2008, the company has landed 150 new customers in just over three years. “This is indicative of the nature of the problem we’re trying to solve, which has resulted in the receptivity in the marketplace to our products.”
Virtual Instruments is now in the enviable position of not being able to hire enough new employees to keep up with its skyrocketing sales. Instead of turning to external recruiters to fill its labor needs, Virtual Instruments has launched an internal referral program called “Bring a Friend to VI.”
Through this program, Virtual Instruments has laid out incentives and cash bonuses employees can earn when the company hires their referrals. At one point, approximately 75 percent of the company’s workforce came to the company through a referral.
“This is a good way for us to broaden our network of contacts,” Thompson says. “We are getting the skills we need to continue our growth, and we’re using interesting and tried-and-true ways to try to solve that problem.”
One way Virtual Instruments is broadening this network is by joining the TM Forum. TM Forum describes itself as a global, nonprofit industry association focused on simplifying the complexity of running a service provider’s business through a wealth of knowledge, intellectual capital, collaboration and standards.
TM Forum says it helps more than 850 companies in 195 countries solve critical business issues through access to a wealth of knowledge, intellectual capital and standards.
“The Forum provides a unique, fair and safe environment for the entire value-chain to collaborate on pressing industry issues, helping companies of all sizes gain a competitive edge and the flexibility and speed they need to underpin future growth,” TM Forum states.