In the summer of 2009 I left Citrix Systems (NASDAQ: CTXS) where I was CTO in the Virtualization and Management Divsion for more than 3 years. Citrix had acquired the last company I founded, Reflectent Software, and it was a terrific experience working for a great company. I still have many friends and colleagues at Citrix and I sit on a board of one of their spin-outs, an embedded systems company named IntervalZero.
As a group of technologists at Citrix, we spent a fair amount of time contemplating the growth and timing of web-based applications, the proliferation of multiple devices and how it would affect the core Citrix business that is largely built on remote display of traditional client-server applications.
I grew more passionate about web-based apps, rich HTML5 applications that could easily be delivered over the internet from multi-tenant cloud-based servers. I had seen the power – even before the advent of the iPhone and iPad and I was awe-struck by the simplicity of single instance documents that could be accessed, concurrently, from multiple devices, multiple device types and an environment where one didn’t have to care about synchronization. Lastly, I was passionate about the always-on, reliable 24/7 infrastructure that seemed to come with most cloud-based applications – that the experts in each field were running them and keeping them running better than we could as IT operators.
Having seen the light as an individual consumer of these applications, I thought about how long it would be before IT organizations everywhere were also consuming these services. I thought about how hard it would be for them to make the transition when they could barely upgrade their own software over the past 10 years. Lastly, I thought that these cloud-based systems represented a huge shift and an opportunity and decided to start Exoprise.
Metrics and Automation
Most IT organizations don’t have great insight into the usage of their existing systems. Whether it’s a 100 person company or a 5,000 person company, they just don’t know what’s being used, what isn’t, and how sophisticated their usage is of the applications and technology.
We found this out at Reflectent. We had incredible usage data that IT leaders were very interested in but, at times, we struggled to monetize it. Having gone out and talked to prospects and friends in the IT industry about how the cloud will reshape IT, I asked a few questions of IT leaders:
- How will you choose the right cloud property for your organization?
- Will it just be a function of the best deal you can get, just cost?
- How will you secure your cloud adoption, automate it and manage it?
- Do you contemplate hybrid cloud environments, where some users are on different systems for security and/or usage reasons?
In many cases, the answers I got were “Wow, good question, I need to figure this stuff out. I can’t even upgrade Office 2000.” And, in many cases, we agreed that their organizations would benefit from an automated guide to selecting, migrating and managing the right cloud property for their end-users, for the business units that they serve. We postulated that it might look like a “consumer reports” or “Mint for IT” but that it should heavily take into account their existing infrastructure and needs.
That’s what Exoprise does; we help businesses adopt the cloud. We help them independently evaluate their needs, choose, migrate and manage their cloud initiatives. It’s a challenging goal that should take us many years to execute – but external, cloud-based applications and infrastructure are here to stay and IT professionals need help to make the right decisions for their organizations.