Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Jim Kaskade, Lori MacVittie, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Article

Exclusive Q&A with Cloud Computing CEO Michael Crandell

RightScale's head honcho on Achieving Profitability in the Rapidly Advancing Cloud Market

"We are in an ideal position to accelerate our business to continue our leadership in this rapidly advancing cloud market," says RightScale CEO Michael Crandell, in this Exclusive Q&A with the editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Journal, Alan Williamson. "We decided the timing was right to create a war chest that would take us to profitability," Crandell added. Earlier this month RightScale snagged $13M in a Series B round of venture funding.

Here's the interview in full:

Cloud Computing Journal: $13M is quite a chunk of change to raise in this climate. Was this about what you required? Was it more or less than you asked for?

Michael Crandell: We raised exactly what we set out to raise. This year we've seen a lot of interest from investors, and so we decided the timing was right to create a war chest that would take us to profitability. At the same time, we've gotten the best VCs we could hope for: Danny Rimer of Index Ventures and Kevin Harvey of Benchmark add tremendous value on our Board. Now, we are in an ideal position to accelerate our business to continue our leadership in this rapidly advancing cloud market.

Cloud Computing Journal:
Where are you going to be spending that money?

MC: We'll use the funds to accelerate product and market development of our core management platform, including support for new clouds, continuing to build our ISV and developer communities, and expanding into additional geographic markets.

Cloud Computing Journal:
RightScale has built up its business from Amazon EC2 customers, what plans have you to broaden this to other cloud providers? Are the other cloud providers ready for prime time?

MC: In September, we announced support for GoGrid and Flexiscale clouds, and an ongoing cooperation with Rackspace as they roll out their cloud offerings. Amazon remains in the lead in terms of functionality, scale, and adoption. But clearly we're moving to a multi-cloud market, and helping customers take advantage of the freedom and choice that provides is a key target for RightScale.

Cloud Computing Journal:
For many people, they see Amazon as the only cloud provider. Is it healthy for any one company to dominate the industry so much at the start?

MC: Amazon has done a brilliant job pioneering this space, and seen impressive growth. They have almost single-handedly commercialized the notion of pay-as-you-go, on demand, virtually infinite outsourced IT infrastructure. In that sense, their leadership has established the de factor standard and that's been very healthy for customers. As the market continues to evolve rapidly, other cloud players are entering and differentiating their offerings -- which adds the critical capability for businesses to avoid single-source vendor dependency. Compared to other innovations in tech history, cloud computing is unfolding very rapidly and in an open and healthy way.

Cloud Computing Journal: At the moment RightScale doesn't provide a one-stop service; I have to pay you and Amazon. Are there plans to give me as a customer one billing point?

MC: We're working on that. Stay tuned.

Cloud Computing Journal:
For all the hype and pomp of cloud computing, what do you see as the biggest myth that is circulating just now?

MC: Some seem to think that cloud computing eliminates the need for good system design and management: everything will happen "automagically"! There are real advantages to be gained from cloud deployments in terms of automation, simplification of system administration, and reliability and performance -- but achieving these still depends on well-designed solutions. That's central to what we provide at RightScale: automated management utilizing best-practices in multi-cloud design that maintain transparency and IT control for the customer.

Cloud Computing Journal:
Many analysts see the private cloud as the area that will make the real money from cloud computing? What are your plans to support the private cloud?

MC: We think the public cloud is going to continue it's explosive growth. We hear frequently from customers about running out of data center space, data center power, data center budget, and data center patience (i.e., long internal IT lead times). There is tremendous pressure to leverage the cost and agility advantages of outsourcing IT infrastructure using flexible cloud resources. That said, there will clearly be private clouds in the picture too, and in that area our strategy is to focus on the nexus of the two -- hybrid clouds -- and provide an easy way for corporate developers to utilize both public and private cloud resources when appropriate.

Cloud Computing Journal:
We recently ran our Cloud Bootcamp, where we had your own Thorsten von Eicken come along and take us through some of what you do. What are you finding are the top questions being asked by people new to the cloud space?

MC: People come to us already convinced that moving to the cloud is a compelling prospect -- but they have questions on how best to do it, what the "gotchas" are, and what they should expect. Basically, they're looking for guidance and a fast on-ramp to deploying in the cloud, and a system they can use to support the lifecycle of development and deployment, which is exactly what we provide.

Cloud Computing Journal: Take us 12 months into the future. When I login to my RightScale dashboard, what will I expect to see and what will I be able to do?

MC: You'll see more automation control, more clouds supported, more pre-packaged solutions from ISV partners. You'll also see an active, growing community of developers sharing information about using RightScale as a cloud management platform. All this will give you, the customer, the advantage of getting onto the cloud fast, building your application on best-practice solutions for resiliency and performance, reducing your system administration overhead, all the while maintaining transparency & control to customize any layer of the stack as needed.

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, will discuss how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team a...
Virgil consists of an open-source encryption library, which implements Cryptographic Message Syntax (CMS) and Elliptic Curve Integrated Encryption Scheme (ECIES) (including RSA schema), a Key Management API, and a cloud-based Key Management Service (Virgil Keys). The Virgil Keys Service consists of a public key service and a private key escrow service. 

@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential Internet of Things Brand by Onalytica in the ‘The Internet of Things Landscape 2015: Top 100 Individuals and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed Twitter conversations around the #IoT debate to uncover the most influential brands and individuals driving the conversation. Onalytica captured data from 56,224 users. The PageRank based methodology they use to extract influencers on a particular topic (tweets mentioning #InternetofThings or #IoT in this ...
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Web Real-Time Communication APIs have quickly revolutionized what browsers are capable of. In addition to video and audio streams, we can now bi-directionally send arbitrary data over WebRTC's PeerConnection Data Channels. With the advent of Progressive Web Apps and new hardware APIs such as WebBluetooh and WebUSB, we can finally enable users to stitch together the Internet of Things directly from their browsers while communicating privately and securely in a decentralized way.
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, will be adding the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, discussed the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filterin...
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...
@ThingsExpo has been named the Top 5 Most Influential M2M Brand by Onalytica in the ‘Machine to Machine: Top 100 Influencers and Brands.' Onalytica analyzed the online debate on M2M by looking at over 85,000 tweets to provide the most influential individuals and brands that drive the discussion. According to Onalytica the "analysis showed a very engaged community with a lot of interactive tweets. The M2M discussion seems to be more fragmented and driven by some of the major brands present in the...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their backend AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT - especially in the connected home and office. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Kocher, founder and managing director of Grey Heron, explained how Amazon is extending its reach to become a major force in IoT by building on its dominant cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strat...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...