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M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Haseeb Budhani, Co-Founder & CEO, Rafay Systems

By December 22, 2022Article

Kubernetes usage is experiencing record growth—96% of organizations are using or evaluating Kubernetes. However, modern enterprises are challenged with having to use a disparate number of applications to run Kubernetes projects. 

Haseeb Budhani is the CEO of Rafay Systems, which he co-founded in October of 2017. Previously spending just as much time wrestling with Kubernetes ops as they did developing the software product they were selling. Haseeb knew there had to be a better way to manage the operations for their modern infrastructure, Haseeb and Hemanth (his Co-Founder) built their own and founded Rafay Systems.

Rafay’s cloud-native Kubernetes Operations Platform is the industry’s first and only product purpose-built for platform teams that addresses the complexity of K8s, delivering the automation developers and operations want with the right level of standardization, control and governance. 

This is what Haseeb’s expertise offers us:

M.R. Rangaswami: Kubernetes has become incredibly popular since its inception. Can you please explain why it gained popularity so quickly, why you founded Rafay and what problem(s) Rafay’s approach to Kubernetes operations and management solves for modern enterprises?

Haseeb Budhani: According to Gartner, enterprises adopt Kubernetes to manage modern applications in the cloud because it automates application deployment and scalability, bolsters application stability and works across public and private clouds, among other benefits. The problem is that Kubernetes has a steep learning curve and is complicated to manage at enterprise scale. My colleagues and I started Rafay because we had previously experienced the negative impact of suboptimal infrastructure automation. We witnessed multiple first-gen companies that were founded to help developers provision Kubernetes clusters for container orchestration, but found that they did little to eliminate the complexities of Kubernetes or to provide governance-focused features to ensure clusters are enterprise-ready. 

In working with Rafay’s customers, we have affirmed our foundational hypothesis around how a majority of enterprises are keen to speed up their application modernization journeys, but run into the same set of Kubernetes roadblocks. As a result, many of these enterprises begin a long and costly journey of stitching together a variety of off-the-shelf or OSS tools, along with hiring more resources over time to make Kubernetes work. However, the sheer complexity of enterprise-grade requirements and a shortage of engineers with deep Kubernetes experience makes this a doomed endeavor. 

At Rafay we address these challenges with our Kubernetes Operations Platform (KOP). Our vision is to deliver a broad platform that enables IT to automate and control every aspect of Kubernetes operations for enterprise and service providers. Similar to how VMware’s vCenter enables the management and operations of virtual machines across multiple VMware hosts, enterprises need a vCenter-like experience for their Kubernetes cluster fleets: an automation and governance framework that IT teams can leverage to deploy and manage Kubernetes across on-premises and cloud environments. Rafay’s core offering is the industry’s first and only platform that brings together all the capabilities enterprises need to turn Kubernetes from a roadblock to an enabler, including multi-cluster management, security, network and application visibility, configuration management, cost management and more. With Rafay, enterprise platform teams can centralize and standardize the use and management of Kubernetes across the company. Our SaaS-first approach enables enterprises to be operational within days – not months – thus helping to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives, while keeping operating costs low.

M.R.: Platform teams are quickly rising as the quarterbacks of innovation for companies. What does this proliferation mean for the future of Kubernetes management?

Haseeb: The pace of innovation in cloud technologies is nothing less than astronomical. This pace exerts pressure on enterprise teams to keep up with changing automation frameworks, integrations and the multitude of tools and supporting services required for the enterprise’s cloud journey to be successful. It ends in many enterprises struggling to stay on track with their application delivery roadmap and timelines. To reduce this complexity and ultimately streamline the deployment and management of Kubernetes and modern applications, platform teams are being instituted to take the helm – no pun intended.

By providing a shared services platform for Kubernetes management and operations, platform teams abstract the operational complexity associated with Kubernetes, with the goal of empowering developers to consume Kubernetes and deploy modern applications in a self-service fashion. Enterprises then gain operational efficiencies by standardizing and automating all the tasks from code to cloud – that is, all the steps between code complete and deploying that completed application in the cloud.

M.R. How do you see the use of Kubernetes growing, and how should enterprises prepare
now in order to leverage it in the best way possible?

Haseeb: As businesses continue to leverage cloud technologies, Kubernetes adoption will radically increase to help companies manage their modern applications more easily. 96% of organizations are already using or evaluating Kubernetes – but these businesses are starting to experience the increasing costs and complexities associated with building Kubernetes management platforms in-house.

More and more, businesses will need to rely on off-the-shelf Kubernetes management offerings to help them manage the chaos. This growing reliance on Kubernetes management and operations solutions is clearly factored into the Kubernetes solutions market size, which is estimated to reach $5.5B+ by 2028.

Many companies attempt to build Kubernetes management platforms on their own. This exercise may seem easy at first as teams get Kubernetes up and running in the lab, but in a production environment, the problem set expands far beyond basic cluster provisioning capabilities.

The complexities of managing Kubernetes intensify as it is used by multiple teams to deploy a growing number of applications across public and private clouds. What’s more, the Kubernetes skills gap is a real issue – tapping into this talent pool is very competitive and, once beginners become experienced, many can take advantage of the open job market.Haseeb

To prepare for the wide-spread growth of Kubernetes, companies should seek experienced partners – ideally those who solve Kubernetes automation and governance requirements with a product-based approach – to guide them through their Kubernetes journey and avoid the pitfalls and wasted time many other companies have experienced. By doing so, enterprises can leapfrog their competition and gain the massive competitive advantage that faster innovation delivers.

M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of

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