VMblog: As a VMworld 2018 sponsor, how can people find you this year?
Shashi Kiran: We are at Booth #1660. Based on the past few years, it should be crowded. We'll be sending a few people from our sales and marketing teams.
VMblog: Is there anything unique about this year's booth setup? Do you have a theme?
Kiran: Our theme has been quite consistent though we try to adapt it to the audience and theme of conferences such as VMworld. We are an automation and orchestration software company that delivers IT environments as-a-service. You may think of us as a "Netflix-like" catalogue of IT environments that can be accessed on demand by Dev/Test and DevOps teams, Sales or SE Demo/POC and Security/Compliance teams. It helps them increase their own innovation velocity and be more agile.
VMblog: Can you give readers a few reasons why your product or service is considered unique?
Kiran: Our customers span a broad segment including the Fortune 1000 and Global 100. This include mid-to-large enterprises, service providers, cloud providers and technology vendors. Three types of environments are predominantly used - i.e. environments for (i) Dev/Test and DevOps deployments, mostly by IT and engineering teams (ii) Demo and Proof-of-concept (POC) environments, by sales and marketing teams and (iii) security, compliance and cyber range environments, mostly by security professionals.
We're usually chosen and win deals for three reasons. (1) because we can orchestrate the entire stack including physical and virtual resources and support several applications and infrastructure components "out of the box" in our blueprint designers. This is a very rich set of modeled objects (ii) we allow proprietary and other objects to be modeled easily and have open sourced the ability to do that and (iii) we are cloud agnostic i.e. we can layer these environments over public, private or hybrid clouds including over VMware, OpenStack, Bare metal, AWS, Azure, Oracle etc. It gives our customers tremendous flexibility.
VMblog: Why should a VMworld attendee add you to their MUST SEE list?
Kiran: The VMworld attendees predominantly tend to come from sysadmin and cloud infrastructure background, though it is expanding into other titles. Infrastructure administrators and architects should stop by to see how quickly we can help them stand up IT environments and service their engineering, sales, support or security constituents. Cloud Administrators and Architects will see value in how our environment blueprints bring re-usability and portability across multi-cloud deployments. Virtualization architects can see how we help manage VM-sprawl across complex deployments and bring cost efficiencies. Security administrators can see how easy it is to certify or help with compliance taking care of environment dependencies. We also have sales/support/demo/POC engineers using us to accelerate their sales cycle spinning up authentic environments for their custom demos. DevOps professionals will see us add value to their Dev/Test lifecycles and help drive releases faster and with reduced risk. So, I'd say there's something in it for everyone depending on the role they play in their organization.
VMblog: Can you give VMblog readers a sneak peek as to what you will be showing off at your booth this year? What should attendees expect to see and hear at your booth?
Kiran: We will be demonstrating the latest version of our software CloudShell 9.0. Since our presence at the last VMworld session, we have even more advanced capabilities. Just as you can pause a Netflix movie and resume seeing it later, we have the ability to save and restore environments which preserves state and allows tremendous efficiencies with a high re-usability factor.
Also recognizing the fact that the world is increasingly becoming multi-cloud and several enterprises have built their own private and proprietary clouds, we’ve made it very easy to add such cloud deployments in a seamless manner with as little or as much customization as they require. So in addition to our “out-of-the-box” cloud offerings that include VMware, OpenStack, AWS, Azure, Oracle etc., our customers and partners can deploy complex applications in the cloud of their choice, offering environment-as-a-service to their developers and testers. We call these cloud provider templates.
VMblog: How does your company and product fit within the VMware ecosystem?
Kiran: A majority of our customers use us to orchestrate and deploy Dev/Test or IT environments over VMware-based private. Recently that has been extended to VMware-AWS and VMware-Azure hybrid clouds as well. We abstract the complexity of spinning up IT environments and can work with heterogeneous infrastructure literally compressing what would be days or several hours of tasks into minutes. Other VMware customers are concerned about VM-sprawl. Because we can gracefully handle environment set-up and teardown we allow them to manage costs better and be more efficient across public, private and hybrid deployments. CIOs love that.
VMblog: What are you looking forward to most at VMworld this year?
Kiran: Automation continues to gain steam. Environment complexity continues to be one of the Top 3 barriers to digitization. It will be interesting to see how our offerings continue to resonate to the VMworld attendees in this regard. There's a wave of consolidation going on. The Dell/EMC/VMware dynamics have had all the ingredients of a blockbuster movie in the industry. It'll be interesting to see the impact of that on the rest of the industry - including the traditional vendors as well as startups.
VMblog: How many times have you sponsored VMworld before? And what keeps you coming back?
Kiran: This is the third year since I joined the company. I'm sure we've been sponsors earlier as well. We were awarded the "Best of VMworld" finalist awards two years in a row in 2016 and 2017 for agility and automation during the past two years and those have been good memories. Kudos to my team on that. I have been to VMworld previously as a sponsor in earlier avatars representing Cisco where I used to work earlier heading marketing for the datacenter and cloud portfolio.
VMblog: Do you remember your first VMworld event? What can you tell us about it? What memories stand out?
Kiran: I've been here a few times in various capacities as sponsor, speaker and participant. The conference has continued to grow. Partners have become competitors and vice-versa. It is the nature of the industry. VMworld also has slowly morphed from a sysadmin-centric virtualization event to something that is a broader cross-section of the technology fabric in the data center and cloud. VMware is relevant to so many elements of the technology stack and fortified their presence in the enterprise. The post-Nicira acquisition phase has also seen them grow into networking and security more aggressively. SD-WAN acquisitions like VelcoCloud have made them more palatable to wide-area networking. The SDDC concept has moved from being a powerpoint slogan to a reality. Their efforts to embrace the public cloud with strong overtures to AWS and Azure are commendable. I feel the work that Pat Gelsinger has done with VMware and what Michael Dell has done with the mothership have put their stamp on the broader industry going beyond their companies. VMworld happens to be a good microcosm that showcases all of these.
VMblog: What would you say to prospective attendees who are thinking about attending VMworld but aren't sure if it's worth it or not?
Kiran: Try it at least once. If you cannot travel attend the keynotes virtually.
VMblog: What do you think we need to do collectively as an ecosystem to strengthen the industry?
Kiran: Strengthen partnerships. Take a customer centric attitude instead of a vendor centric one.
VMblog: What do you hope to come away with from exhibiting at VMworld?
Kiran: We hope to have some interesting conversations that would hopefully lead to new business opportunities. We'll also be on the lookout for new partnerships and keep an ear on the ground for new trends that may impact us or our customers.
VMblog: Do you have any tips for first time attendees of VMworld that you'd like to share?
Kiran: Visit the show floor. Take time to network. Try to have fun!
VMblog: Attendees always enjoy a good trade show tchotchke. Are you guys giving away anything special or interesting this year?
Kiran: Our booth is always popular for interesting tchotchkes and some nice t-shirts. Drop by!
VMblog: Finally, does your company have any speaking sessions during the show? If so, can you give us the who, what, when and where?
Kiran: Actually, this year we're going to be presenting at the TechField Day coinciding with VMworld on Tuesday the 28th. I believe this session will be live streamed and available to the public. This should be interesting for some of your readers to watch either live or on-demand.