Explore how to deliver agility, performance, flexibility, and turnkey lifecycle management without comprising the SLAs that protect your enterprise.
Principal Technical Product Manager
Chief Creative Officer, Swelloquent Arts.
Award winning writer, producer and host with over 20 years experience delivering creative content to audiences around the world.
Welcome to studio next podcast. I'm your host, Jeremy Brisiel. I'm joined today by Don Kamer, Principal Technical Product Manager. It's a lot of big words there Don.
Don Kamer, Principal Technical Product Manager:
Yeah. I'm not sure I know what they mean yet.
Well, in that grouping it seems very serious. Seems like a very serious business you do. What is the business that you do?
I look after the technical aspects of our cloud portfolio in our services business.
Okay. Well the cloud portfolio, one might say is the portfolio to be exploring right now? I mean, if customers aren't in the cloud yet, they're figuring out how to get the cloud. If they have some cloud solutions, they're not enough. They have the ones that they don't want. They don't have to change them. What is the cloud scenario right now for most customers and how do you see it?
Most customers are on a journey, they're really on two different journeys. One is as a private traditional data centre hosting to what I would call cloud hosting. And that could be in a public cloud setting or private cloud setting. And I think all customers today have, well they at least have a story around having a hybrid scenario. So, they've got some private infrastructure and maybe it's traditional and legacy management model. They have some public infrastructure. Public cloud utilization. The other part of that journey is really what we call legacy applications to modern applications. So, the legacy applications deploy to a machine, they own the whole machine. You pretty much dictate the whole thing. Modern application development is all about containerization and functions as a service, where the developer doesn't have to worry so much about what's going on at the infrastructure layer underneath. That's all handled by the cloud platform, the developer gets to focus on getting their applications up and running and adding business value.
Yeah. Those last couple of words were important across the board. I think you might have discussed this once or twice before. So, before we get into business value and outcomes, obviously it's so important to everybody, how do you see the customer group right now? Is it all one persona? Is it two? Is it multiple? What's your take on that?
So, there's two key personas that we end up talking to in a business, and maybe a third. I'll start with the third. Just get them out of the way. That's the executive level and they're really concerned about making sure that their businesses are operating efficiently and collaborating effectively within the organization. Right? So, that the people that they've been trusted with delivering value to their business are going to be effective. The two keepers I think we would want to focus on for this conversation are the operations of folks. That could be the implementers or the leadership and operations and in the application folks, the feature teams or application developers or dev development managers that own the implementation and sort of, you know, into a business value in today's modern businesses. We used to deliver services, business services, a very people heavy process, right? Or people have a thing and now it's all application. You know, we talk about delivering an outcome as a service and a lot of times that's just an application that was created to deliver that outcome. Right. We have bots and robots and chatbots and we have business applications that process my expense reports and things like that. It's all moved to this automated space that is now running in the cloud, which is really automating that infrastructure layer as well.
And that's a great way to say that. We see that those personas laid out like that and the different strategies to approach them and it solved their problems. One might say cloud is easy and one would be wrong or right.
So quick cloud is easy to adopt, right? Cloud is easy to adopt. The classic maybe overused idiom is the developers swipe their credit card with Amazon in there and they've got an environment up and running and they deploy their code and everybody's happy until you want that app to actually run, maybe take a few hundred thousand users at a time or process some critical data set and you need reliability and performance and availability, then cloud becomes much, much trickier. I think where all clouds have a challenge today is to drive improvements in that developer experience, lower the cognitive load for the developers, make it so that they can do their jobs with less mental effort, less pager calls at 2:00 AM yeah. Then eventually, automate all those concerns away. Deploying code to production really ought to be a turnkey experience. Most clouds, whether they be private or public, are still struggling to deliver on that value promise.
Right? That is where cloud is hard, is that there's a value promise in that almost everyone can see it on the horizon, but it's not getting delivered by everybody. Are we working towards delivering it better?
As an industry and as Hitachi, I would say yes to that question, both as an industry and as Hitachi. The open source communities is working towards a streamlined experience for developers. Hitachi is trying to be out in front of that wave and deliver that value. We talk about DataOps. We talk about our managed services. We talk about our professional services, it maybe not be something that we publicly talk about, but our entire cloud business is nestled in this business of Hitachi called unified offering management. The whole purpose of unified offering management is to deliver business outcomes through services and technology and get away from this legacy mode we've had of pushing big solutions that are sort of packaged up already, not necessarily solving the problem that the customer's trying to solve and then convincing the customer that that's what they're trying to, that they really need this, this thing that we built. Now we're trying to get much more market focused and customer focused and deliver these outcomes at the market is really begging for.
In terms of that, what do you see the market begging for right now that we're delivering?
So, let's maybe stay focused on the college space before I get there. Before I get us off on a tangent there. What I see customers really desiring in the cloud space is a completely hands-off life cycle management of their applications. So this is again going back to those two personas. This is the developer persona. The developers persona wants a hands off life cycle management for their application. They deploy it out there, the cloud makes sure it's running or they at least have tools that they can use or methods that they can use to teach the cloud, how to make sure it's running. And if anything happens, the cloud knows what to do. Start a new application, hydrates some data, get it ready to take service, put it into service, validate that user loads happening and that everything's healthy. They really want to make sure that all of those application concerns are handled by something else. Some sort of automated logic, cause that's what keeps them from having to get paged at 2:00 AM right. Then they also need to make sure that when updates roll out in patches happen or when they need to test new versions, they need tools for being able to do that. They need systems for being able to do AB testing and canary testing. The cloud must bring those tools to the developer and make them easy to consume. And that's the piece that we have that I think the industry is still struggling to solve. And it's certainly the area where leaning into.
Expand on that then. I mean this is the part that's out front. What do you, what do you see that sort of the real leadership part in that for how you solve in these cloud problems?
Yeah, so let's talk about multi-cloud consumption. Yeah. Right? So, businesses, they started off in private cloud, what we now call private cloud, private data centre, and then they moved into public cloud. Developers swiping their credit cards and then that got out of hand and then that would get reigned in. Then developers, because they are who they are, they overcome hurdles, right? They, they shift and they moved to, okay, fine, you're going to govern me in AWS. I'm going to go to Google. Or, or maybe the business wants to shift. We want less. Maybe the business has reasons for wanting a certain function in Google or Azure or AWS. It's arguable that there are certain data service advantages to different clouds or application servers, advantages to different clouds. There might be a reason to have a multi-cloud strategy. But how do you unify that developer experience when you now got disparate in-points that all have diff different ways that they consume what that developer wants them to do. I think we need to; this is where we're leaning in to deliver our cloud platform, which runs in any environment, runs in any cloud, runs privately, runs publicly, and provides an abstraction layer to our customers. So, they go right at once to our platform and we can take them into Azure, we can take them into Google, we could take them into AWS and we could deliver it on premise as well.
That's first, a great summation of the cloud, traveling as an industry, which was, it's all private now. It's hybrid. Not now. It's a combination of both, right. That's how the whole roll went. That was a great, I like the credit card swipe too as well, but that's how we expanded into a hybrid was that everybody just was like, I can go do that. Let's go do that. Yeah, of course. It grew a little, a little fast, a little bit out of control. And so now the multi-cloud solutions are something that's happened. I know that the marketing team has used the word guaranteed a lot for describing some of the solutions and how that could be. That's a big word to put in any sort of technical space, let alone a cloud space. How would you describe the guaranteed work that we can do?
Yeah, so like I said, we speak to two personas and maybe we've sort of under intended to the operations persona. And so this may be, give them some love and some love and attention. What they want to know is that regardless of what cloud, so in this very cloud agnostic way, private cloud, public cloud, and this very cloud agnostic way, they want to know that their business SLA are going to be attended to that their business can rely on an SLA from us as a cloud provider. And this is a hard thing to find in the industry. You know, most of the public clouds don't really offer reliability SLAs and performance SLAs is like that. Consuming in a private way can also be very challenging. We have decided from day one to put an SLA in our system so that we can give those operators confidence as we tell them, look, we can give you a more effective way to deliver the services and capabilities your developers want. The reason your developers reached out to AWS and kind of went around you was because you weren't able to keep up with their business needs. You weren't able to be responsive enough for their business. You couldn't get them to value or feedback fast enough and they really needed another solution. We can deliver that capability for you to be responsive to your business in a private or public setting, agnostic of any cloud provider you want to use and, and deliver it with an SLA so your business is protected.
Thanks. That was a great insight into agnostic work and guaranteed and what it means here. You know, we've been talking about cloud for a while and nobody's mentioned Kubernetes and I've got to be honest, I didn't think it would be me. That I had to bring it up, is it not your wheelhouse?
Well, I thank you because I think if I had managed to get through this interview without bringing it up, my boss would have words with me, so I appreciate that Jamie. All right, so I think that there's really two interesting areas to talk about here around Kubernetes. One, clearly Kubernetes adoption's been viral in the industry and we should talk at least a little bit about why, because it really gets to the heart of the developer experience with a cloud. The desire developer experience with the cloud and what developers are looking for is agility, performance, flexibility, and a turnkey lifecycle management experience. That covers everything from deployment through updates, through decommissioning. That's, Kubernetes is a open source community effort that is aiming to deliver on those, those, those desires and really achieving it quite thoroughly. Um, we expect, we, we already see the trend of, um, containerization and container orchestration shifting rapidly towards Kubernetes and we expect that to continue. Um, I don't know that I would go so far as to say there will someday be a role for no VMs. Uh, we still have customers running on very old, uh, infrastructure systems across the world. So I suspect VMs will stay around and, um, be a relevant part of the story for years to come. But customers are pushing us towards, um, uh, containerization and Kubernetes rapidly emerging as the, the orchestrator of choice. So, um, as a result of that, we've leaned in and we've created what we call the Hitachi Kubernetes service. It runs on our cloud native platform and the goal of the Hitachi Kubernetes service is really to make operators more effective at delivering, uh, the services and capabilities that their developers need. We talked about that already. I'll just recap them. It's really a agility, performance flexibility in life cycle management of their application. We take that a step further and we actually deliver lifecycle management and performance and flexibility of the cloud platform itself or the Kubernetes cluster itself, allowing them to create clusters in any cloud, private or public, um, in a cloud agnostic fashion, interconnect that, interconnect those clusters and even interconnect their applications across those clusters and then manage user traffic across all of those different locations. And the application is deployed across all of those different locations. That's pretty powerful story.
That's a great, that's a great story. And agility, performance and flexibility will grab attention when it's done well and it's been done very well. So when we're in this season of next 19, when we get together and record another podcast at next 20, what do you hope to have accomplished by then? What are we going to be talking about?
By the time we get to the, this time next year, I really hope to have enabled our customers and their developers to, to deliver on the promises of, of the business promises, promises to their business for running their applications in a, in a cloud, um, running their applications in a modern application development, that development fashion. And, and we hope to be able to, uh, radically streamline the operator experience and the developer experience, uh, through that whole process.
Well, you know, with you doing it, I have high hopes and I expect that's what we talk about then. Excellent. Don. A Real pleasure, man. Thank you JB.
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