how we launch new products

how we launch new products

I have always been interested in how new gadgets, cars, planes and house formats are created. I’m currently on the Selectel dedicated server team and involved in new product development myself. Under the cat, I share my experience and tell where we get ideas from and how we implement projects. On the example of new ones

configurations based on Mac mini®

.

Use the navigation if you don’t want to read the entire text:

→ Where it all started: Mac mini M1 servers
→ Fresh fruits: new Mac mini M2
→ How tasty are apples? Selectel benchmarks
→ First results and plans for the future

Where it all started: Mac mini M1 servers


Three years ago, in a series of articles on Habra, we told how we started renting Mac mini® servers with an M1 processor on board. The team gained valuable experience and the product turned out to be a commercial success.

Mac mini

®

M1.

Mac mini® M1 servers continue to be popular with our customers. However, there are reasons for this. After all, they are based on the ARM architecture, allow you to debug applications under macOS® and IOS, and also optimally combine performance and cost. As far as I know, Mac mini M1 servers were the first to appear on the Russian market precisely in Selectel data centers.


Fresh fruit: the new Mac mini M2


Manufacturers of server and user hardware regularly update their products. In early 2023, Apple® introduced new Mac mini® with M2 and M2 Pro processors, which are expected to offer increased performance compared to previous models.

Mac mini comparison

®

M2 Pro, Mac mini

®

M2 and Mac mini

®

M1.

Selectel tries to keep up with innovation. After the announcement of the new Mac mini®, we immediately started preparing for the launch of new configurations in dedicated servers. But before every update there are always two tasks that need to be solved.

  1. You need to forecast the demand for the new configuration.
  2. It is important to maintain demand for the current server model.

Solving these tasks is the key to a successful launch

Mac mini® M2 in dedicated Selectel servers

. But where to start?

1. Research of customer needs

A great way to learn about our customers’ needs is to ask them directly. First, I checked the feedback that we received earlier from our audience. During the analysis of information from CRM systems and corridor interviews with employees of the sales department, I realized that there are requests for a new and more powerful iron from Apple®. That was really the first positive signal for innovation.

Next, I conducted a survey of current customers of the M1 configuration. The sample size did not suggest a statistically significant result, but it is better than an absolute unknown. The survey contained four questions.

Client questionnaire

  1. What tasks do you solve using the MAC-M1 server (Apple M1: 8×2.99GHz, 16 GB DDR4, 256 GB SSD SATA)?
  2. How satisfied are you with this server?
  3. Looking to lease Mac servers with upgraded M2 and M2 Pro processors?
  4. For what tasks are you considering M2 and M2 Pro?

Survey results

  • 35% of customers are considering renting servers from M2;
  • 46% of customers do not plan to abandon the M1 server;
  • 12% of customers do not have enough disk space;
  • 7% of customers do not have enough RAM.

In addition to this data, we found out what tasks customers solve with servers based on the Mac mini M1. Among them – development and testing of applications in the Mac environment (CI/CD), testing of the ARM architecture, working with images and videos.

The obtained result was the second positive signal. I interpreted it as having three customer segments.

  • The first segment is ready to rent a new Mac mini M2 to expand its infrastructure.
  • The second segment lack of resources. Customers are looking at completely replacing their current configuration with a new one.
  • The third segment sufficient current resources. Such customers will remain with their current Mac mini® M1 product.

2. Monitoring the market

At the time of research, I did not find any services for renting Mac servers in Russian data centers. Foreign hosters offered both the rental of servers with new M2 processors and the previous one with M1.

In any case, there is some information. The foreign market made it possible to understand exactly which changes in processors, disks and memory are relevant today.

3. Product formation

Earlier in an article on technical product management, I talked about a modified HADI cycle:

HADI loops are a great tool for testing ideas and making data-driven decisions. They help you quickly test hypotheses and determine which ones work and which ones don’t. This saves time and resources, as well as increases the efficiency of work on the product.

Research has shown that we have potential demand for a new product, while it is not absorbing the current solution. Also, there are already offers on the global market for renting Mac mini® M2 servers, which instills confidence in the relevance of the technology.

Knowing this, we can start experimenting and bring the product to market. By experiment I understand that new changes will be released in a small number, which can be used to estimate the actual demand. Depending on the indicators, the solution can be managed and scaled. But let’s go back to the customer survey.

The final question was choosing a specific server configuration, since Apple offers the possibility of configuring devices with M2 and M2 Pro processors.

In a customer survey, we received feedback about the need for more productive resources. Therefore, the following components were chosen for the new Mac M2 configuration:

  • processor M2 Pro with 10 cores, +2 cores;
  • 32 GB of RAM instead of 16 GB MAC M1;
  • 1000GB of disk space vs. 256GB.

The final proposal looks like this:

How tasty are apples? Selectel benchmarks

During the launch process, we also conducted

own tests

and compared the performance of both server configurations. Below are the benchmarks:

The result did not disappoint! The increase in server performance was up to two times depending on the task.

OpenCL results.

First results and plans for the future


With the launch of the new Mac mini® M2 Pro product, we are at a point where:

  • there is potential demand,
  • there are offers on the market,
  • There is a performance gain with the new configuration.

Three months after the launch, I will share the results. The sales slightly exceeded the estimated and the product is commercially successful for the given lifetime. Also, the new servers did not affect the demand for changes to their predecessors.

Using the example of a specific configuration, I talked about the approach to creating new products. As a result, we have a win-win situation where customers use servers to grow and develop their business, and Selectel grows with them.

In addition to specific solutions, we also update server configurations: we are preparing for the launch of several lines of servers with Intel® Xeon® Scalable and AMD EPYC™ processors. The start-up approach remains the same: we study customer needs and market offers, thereby growing expertise in the world of server hardware.

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