After struggling with his first cloud management company, Ostrato, Jay Chapel went back to the drawing board three years ago and took some of his most important learnings from that company to launch ParkMyCloud, which has been described as “Nest for the cloud.”
I spoke to Jay about how the cloud is like a city utility, future cloud technology and the importance of doing one thing really well.
Your company has described itself as “Nest for the cloud.” Can you explain to me simply what this means?
There are several parallels here. The main idea is that the cloud is like a [municipal] utility – it’s metered and billed based on usage, and like a utility you need to turn down or turn off your services based on usage. Nest helps you optimize and reduce your utility costs at home, and ParkMyCloud does the same for enterprises around the world using public cloud services from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and Alibaba Cloud.
You have been immersed in the cloud infrastructure space for at least the last 5 years. Where do you see the cloud space going, in terms of new technology or trends, in the next 5 years?
Some of the obvious trends are going to continue – migration of on-prem and private datacenters to the cloud or at least hybrid cloud, more and more multicloud, and massive increases in the use of serverless technologies. We will likely also see wider adoption and automation of AI and machine learning as a service for organizations that do not have machine learning experts on staff. We will probably also see the beginnings of quantum-capable compute hosts hit the cloud – this will have massive implications for cryptographic systems, AI, blockchain computation and numerous applications in healthcare, finance and basically everything else. The impact of quantum on crypto alone will also require some major changes in how the internet is secured, which will feed into the cloud providers and how their infrastructures are secured.
There is an enterprise IT trend to multicloud and hybrid cloud – such a prevalent trend that even if you are currently single-cloud, you should plan for the eventuality of using more than one cloud. The fact is, the multicloud future has already arrived. So, our suggestion is to use “cloud-agnostic tools” wherever possible – that is, tools not based on any one provider. Our experience tells us that a majority of enterprises lean this way. The upfront cost in terms of license fees or setup could be larger, but we think it comes down to (1) most people will end up hybrid or multi-cloud in the future, even if they aren’t now, and (2) cloud-agnostic tools are more likely to meet your needs as a user, as the companies building those tools will stay laser-focused on supporting and improving said functionality across the big CSPs.
ParkMyCloud is your second stint as CEO of a cloud management platform, your first being Ostrato. What leadership lessons did you learn in pivoting from Ostrato to ParkMyCloud?
It is, and the major lesson learned was the importance of the team around the idea and to focus on solving one problem really well. We bit off more than we could chew at Ostrato, and we created a complex platform that required a significant sales effort and did not solve one problem well. What we learned was that our target audience in DevOps and IT ops wanted tools to be simple and self-service, and they have a ‘try and buy’ mentality. This inspired the pivot to ParkMyCloud. We identified a problem (thanks to listening to enterprises’ feedback), we put together a great team, developed a great self-service solution, and offered a pricing model that fits with “try and buy.” We now have 700-plus enterprises in 25-plus countries using ParkMyCloud to automate their cloud cost control.