Big Data

Startup Cloud Infra Tackles Big Data

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Editor’s note: Cloud Infra, a U.S. startup launched in February 2012, builds cloud-based software infrastructure services and has a Big Data platform for analyzing large unstructured data. The company was one of 11 startups selected from 200 applicants for the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure, India. S. New Melchizedec, a partner at Cloud Infra and a former Google engineer, shares his experience of Cloud Infra and also some advice for other startups.

SandHill.com: How did your company originate?

S. New Melchizedec: My co-founder and I have backgrounds working in Google on large-scale distributed processing and analysis systems (both using and building). When we were considering building something in the outside world, we found there was a big hole in terms of the tools available to get things going out of the box. With the high uptake of cloud-based hard infrastructure, there are various software pieces that every corporation has to either build in house, or adopt open source. A lot of companies were struggling with similar sorts of issues.

SandHill.com: Tell us about the product you built to solve this problem.

S. New Melchizedec: Our flagship product Cloud Bash, in a general sense, is a Big Data processing platform to quickly analyze large unstructured data.  Specifically we are adapting it to work its wonders on machine-generated logs.  With multiple machines generating logs, extracting information that is spread across them is an interesting problem to solve and can be extremely valuable.

Our Software-as-a-Service solution helps our customers be more agile and concentrate on their core business. Correlated server logs can reveal a wide variety of information. It can be leveraged to have minimal downtime. Issues can be identified quickly.

SandHill.com: What size of company is ideal for your product?

S. New Melchizedec: We concentrate on businesses and enterprises that have reasonably large IT deployments. The scale and ease of interaction are our strengths.

SandHill.com: What major challenges have you faced in getting your product to market?

S. New Melchizedec: Getting large clients to beta test our product is a challenge.  As our product will demonstrate scale, we need large data.  We are circumventing this by adding many small and medium users.

Over the next year we will make our product available for public adoption. We plan to analyze the typical use cases and add more and more intelligence on top. With value-adds for standard analysis, we hope to become the de facto standard for a cloud-based logging solution.

If I had it all to do over again, we would execute much faster and hit the market early.

On the business side of things, we are hoping to add a few more extremely smart people to our team in the next 12 months to help our company grow faster and stave off potential competition.

SandHill.com: In what ways is the Microsoft Accelerator program helping your company?

S. New Melchizedec: The Accelerator has given us access to many renowned mentors who are helping in shaping our product and execution strategy. The Accelerator program has helped us find a right balance between technology and product. It has helped us get early adopters to try the product and concentrate on priority features.

The environment in the Accelerator is very energetic and we enjoy engaging with all the other companies in this area.

SandHill.com: What business experience prior to launching this company has been most valuable in helping you deal with unexpected challenges? Please briefly describe a challenge where your past experience helped you deal with an incident after you launched your company.

S. New Melchizedec: We had virtually zero business experience prior to launching the company. We do have a lot of experience in product direction and planning. We don’t think we have made any mistakes or faced many challenges that we would have dealt with differently.

This is a learning experience for us during which we hope to avoid making too many big mistakes that might bring us down. The Accelerator is also keeping an eye out for us, and that is very reassuring.

SandHill.com: What book have you read during the past three years that most influenced your thinking and actions?

S. New Melchizedec: More than books, I get influenced more by blogs of accomplished people.  Paul Graham’s articles have influenced me the most.

SandHill.com: Who is your personal software company or software executive role model?

S. New Melchizedec: Sridhar Vembu of Zoho Corporation. He built a 100 percent bootstrapped empire. He’s a true entrepreneur.

SandHill.com: If you could change something about the software industry, what would it be?

S. New Melchizedec: The patent system.

SandHill.com: When you encounter challenges or setbacks, how do you pull yourself back up and become inspired again?

S. New Melchizedec: I step back and look at the grand picture and the amount of progress we have made. Looking forward helps me avoid sitting and sulking and getting bogged down.

SandHill.com: Where did you go on your favorite vacation? What makes it your favorite?

S. New Melchizedec: Phi-phi islands in Thailand. It’s one of the most beautiful and relaxing places and has awesome beach parties.

SandHill.com: What is your favorite sport? Why is it your favorite?

S. New Melchizedec: Football. It is extremely energetic and requires complex real-time co-ordination between people with differentiated skill sets.

SandHill.com: If you could go back and re-live a particular day, when would it be, and what happened that day?

S. New Melchizedec: I crushed Aditya, my co-founder, at badminton.

SandHill.com: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?

S. New Melchizedec: Get a strong co-founder; it helps to share everything in this very challenging world of startups.

Click here for more information about the Microsoft Accelerator for Windows Azure (India) program.

S. New Melchizedec is a partner at Cloud Infra. His background is in computer engineering and he worked at Google for seven years in various positions ranging from infrastructure development to machine learning algorithms. Before Google, he worked with Trilogy and Texas Instruments.

Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor at SandHill.com.

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