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M.R. Asks 3 Questions: AB Periasamy, Co-Founder & CEO, MinIO

By March 17, 2023Article

AB’s Unicorn company has pioneered high-performance Kubernetes-native object storage, helping enterprises use the cloud operating model to determine where to run their workloads – depending on what they are optimizing for. 

As a Series B company, MinIO has $126 million in funding raised to date, with a billion dollar valuation. Investors include Intel Capital, Softbank Vision Fund 2, Dell Technologies Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, General Catalyst and key angel investors.

As one of the leading proponents and thinkers on the subject of open source software, AB is able to masterfully articulate differences between philosophy and business models – and how the two create cloud function.

M.R. Rangaswami: Can you explain all this chatter about cloud repatriation?

AB Periasamy: Simply put, the concept of “cloud repatriation” is repatriating workloads from public clouds to a private cloud. For years, the mantra of the cloud was fairly straightforward: put everything in the public cloud and keep it there forever. This model made sense as businesses optimized for elasticity, developer agility, service availability and flexibility. 

Things changed when businesses reached scale, however, as the benefits were swamped by economics and lock-in. This is leading many enterprises to re-think their approach to the cloud – with a focus on the operating model of the cloud – not where it runs. 

It’s important to remember the cloud operating model has a cycle. There are times to leverage the public cloud. There are times to leverage the private cloud. There are times to leverage the colo model. Given the ecosystem that has built up around the cloud – there is certainly self-interest in driving enterprise workloads in that direction – there are the consulting fees to get you there and the consulting fees to manage costs once you realize it is more expensive than forecasted. Nonetheless, sophisticated enterprises are increasingly taking their own counsel on determining what is best for the business – and that is driving the repatriation discussion. 

M.R.: What are the key principles of the cloud operating model?

AB: The cloud is not a physical location anymore. Today, the tooling and skill set that was once the dominion of AWS, GCP and Azure, is now available everywhere. Kubernetes is not confined to the public cloud distributions of EKS, GKE and AKS – there are dozens of distributions. MinIO, for example, works in the public cloud, private cloud and the edge. The building blocks of the cloud run anywhere.

Developers know this. It is why they have become the engine of value creation in the enterprise. They know the cloud is about engineering principles, things like containerization, orchestration, microservices, software-defined everything, RESTful APIs and automation.  

Understanding these principles and understanding that they operate just as effectively outside of the public cloud creates true optionality and freedom. There is no “one” answer here – but with the cloud operating model as the guide, enterprises create optionality. Optionality is good.

M.R.: How has the cloud lifecycle changed and is repatriation the answer?

AB: Early cloud native adopters quickly learned principles of the cloud. Over time, workloads grew and costs ballooned. The workloads and principles were no longer novel – but the cost to support the workloads at scale was.

For enterprises, it has become clear that the value has been inverted by the costs of remaining on the cloud. This is the lifecycle of the cloud. You extract the agility, elasticity, and flexibility value, then you turn your attention to economics and operational acuity.

Repatriation is but one tool. There are many. It is really about optimization. What you are optimizing for should help determine where you should run your workload. At MinIO, we are agnostic, you can find us in every cloud marketplace (AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM). You can find us on every Kubernetes distribution (EKS, GKS, AKS, OpenShift, Tanzu, Rafay). That is the definition of multi-cloud. 

We talk about balancing needs and optimizing for workloads. Again, some workloads are born in the public cloud. Some workloads grow out of it. Others are just better on the private cloud. It will depend. 

What matters is that when your organization is committed to the principles of the cloud operating model you have the flexibility to decide and with that comes leverage. And who doesn’t like a little leverage – especially in today’s economy.

M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com