GridGain Interview With Nikita Inanov, CEO

GridGain Interview

Cloudtweaks.com had an opportunity recently to speak with Nikita Inanov, the CEO of GridGains Systems. GridGain Systems is a privately funded startup company developing an innovative JVM-based Cloud Application Platform that enables rapid development of highly scalable SaaS or traditional enterprise and social web applications that scale on any grid or cloud infrastructure. Nikita has over 18 years of experience in software development, a vision and pragmatic view of where development technology is going, and high quality standards in software engineering and entrepreneurship holding various positions architecting and leading software product development for start-up companies and working with well-established companies such as Adaptec, Visa and BEA Systems. He is an active member of Java middleware community and is a contributor to Java specifications.

Anthony:

What are the key questions most of your customers ask related to security and back-up concerns?

Nikita:

Almost none. When it comes to GridGain we leave security concerns specifically outside of GridGain and we explain this point to our customers. Essentially, security on any managed infrastructure is an extremely muddied point and any generalized solutions are mediocre at best. The best news our customers hear is that GridGain doesn’t make their existing security any weaker and that’s usually all they care to know and it is not a small feat on its own.

Anthony:

How do you internally insure that client data can be restored if you yourself are subject to a major threat to your datacenter?

Nikita:

GridGain is a cloud application platform that enables development of highly scalable SaaS based or traditional enterprise applications that work on any managed infrastructure. As such we don’t own or operate any data centers.

Anthony:

When major players jump into the market with enormous resources both in development and marketing how does a small start-up protect a market share or niche today?

Nikita:

It’s the same process that was “invented” decades before: Provide better value (features/price). Specialize in specific market, technology, or features and utilize smaller size to our advantage by being more proactive/reactive to change (which is constant in clouds today)

Anthony:

Is there room in the “cloud” for small start-ups and how do they position themselves against the competition?

Nikita:

Cloud Computing is 90% startups (AWS is a small group in Amazon, for example). Offerings from larger companies (like MS Azure or Google App Engine) essentially have very small actual footprint apart from marketing, if any. Whether it is indicative of their slow reaction or just immaturity of the whole technology is an open question.

Another way to look at it is that start-ups benefit the most from the advancement of cloud computing as it significantly lowers the barriers for them. And I think having that “customer base” plays very well for other start-ups working on providing cloud computing solutions.

Anthony:

In terms of current market issues how does your firm determine pricing to attract new customers and retain existing one?

Nikita:

As a software middleware firm we strongly promote our unique pay-per-usage and subscription based pricing models for our software. This properly aligns our product with grids’ and clouds’ pricing models and therefore avoids typical pricing impedance: enterprise software is fixed priced (capital budget expenditure). Clouds are a pay-per-usage (operational budget expenditure).

We believe this will grow substantially in the years to come as more and more enterprises will realize that the software (even an infrastructure software like a cloud application) platform is essentially a service and can be purchased as such.

Anthony:

What issues determine how you address platform reliability and performance from the perspective of your application offering?

Nikita:

Cloud middleware like GridGain is all about reliability and performance. If not for these two properties that are extremely R&D intensive to implement, the entire segment would not probably even exist. Cloud computing middleware is inherently a massively parallel software system that deals with computational and data storage distribution and parallelization and issues around reliability and performance is what makes it so incredible hard to develop it.

Anthony:

With new announcements daily we see the major players continue to validate cloud applications. How do you protect or at least anticipate a market share niche with the incredible speed of change in today’s market?

Nikita:

Come to work every day and protect and anticipate for at least 10-12 hours :)

Anthony:

What is the new paradigm of cloud business models if any? Put your “futurist hat” on and describe how you see the “cloud” evolving over the next ten years?

Nikita:

We don’t see much of real break-through innovation for cloud computing going forward as pretty much all that matters (i.e. data center virtualization) has been developed in the last 5-10 years. We’ll see more and more applications developed as SaaS (as well as associated pay-per-usage pricing) and being hosted on cloud infrastructure.

Clouds are entering a slow adoption phase and innovations will be happening on a much smaller scale in specific areas such as security, software middleware, management, etc.

The revolution is over and we now have to build a new eco-system on the newly formed foundation.

By Anthony Park

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