Former Sydney boy Doug Hibberd last month took on the role of Asia-Pacific general manager for SolarWinds, coming back home and opening an Australian office in Brisbane after over 20 years working in the US. But he hadn't reckoned on the floods.
Doug Hibberd (Credit: SolarWinds)
The new office, meant to drive Asia-Pacific sales and provide customer support, had only been open a number of weeks before the devastating floods hit Queensland, leaving the executive watching his surrounds in amazement.
"Since I got there it's literally rained more days than not," Hibberd said. He was dumbfounded at the level of destruction.
His office in Creek Street wasn't flooded itself, although the car park did see water, which meant the power was turned off for the Australian team of five.
In the wake of the flood, he was impressed by the show of support people had showed for one another and in that spirit, he's looking ahead to the future, turning his eyes onto expanding the team by 20 to 50 people in the next two years while working to sell his product to new customers.
SolarWinds provides application performance and virtualisation management for companies from small and medium size to departments of enterprises.
Eighty per cent of development for the product is conducted outside of the US, but in the case of Australia, the team will be sales and development staff working on localisation and adopting products to regions.
"We really found with Brisbane the opportunity to hire a different calibre of management," Hibberd said, adding that the infrastructure in the city was world class, although that might not be quite as true as it was after Queensland's disasters.
Hibberd plans to approach the Australian market by targeting companies with a particular problem, not by stealing the customers from current players in the application performance space. He hoped that by providing a wide net of product components carrying out functions companies might not have in current products, SolarWinds will gain a foothold in the companies and expand from there.
He believed that Australia's high adoption of virtualisation and IT meant that there was a big challenge for companies to keep on top of their IT environments and understand the cause of issues when they arrive.
When companies attempt to tie virtualisation resources with other infrastructure, it becomes difficult to identify bottlenecks, Hibberd said, with the issue possibly being an application problem, a network problem or a server problem.
"You want more than firing up [VMware's] vCenter," Hibberd said.
SolarWinds allowed users to pinpoint problems, he said, giving a view of resources that he called "one pane of glass".
Hibberd said that Australian banks, technology companies and mining companies were already using SolarWinds, but was not yet ready to specify which ones.