For many of us in the IT industry, migrating to the cloud is old news. Even the concept of how DevOps can help on the road to the cloud is not a novel idea. However, we need to remember that while many organizations have some cloud-based infrastructure, the real migration to the cloud is still ahead of us. By the same token, while DevOps is more popular than ever, the percentage of organizations that have fully adopted DevOps is still small.
My talk with JT Giri, CEO and co-founder of nClouds, dives into this truth and how companies like nClouds are helping organizations big and small to make the move. As usual, the streaming audio of our conversation is below, followed by the transcript of our chat.
Alan Shimel: Hello, everyone. This is Alan Shimel, editor in chief of DevOps.com, and we’re here for another DevOps Chat. Today’s DevOps Chat guest is JT Giri, CEO of nClouds. JT, welcome to DevOps Chat.
JT Giri: Hey Alan, great to be here. Thank you.
Shimel: Thank you. Thank you for being here. So JT, let’s start off a little bit about – before we get to nClouds, let’s start off – I don’t know if everyone in our audience has heard of JT Giri and your background. So why don’t we go there first, so you can give us a little background.
Giri: Absolutely. I spent the last ten years doing DevOps consulting before it was called DevOps – so helping companies to streamline their operation and managing complex infrastructure and helping them to put processes in place. My end goal was always to make sure the customer could focus on their end goal, like delivering greater value to their clients. So that’s what I’ve been doing the last 10 years.
Shimel: Got it. And then you founded nClouds. When was nClouds founded?
Giri: Yeah, so it was kind of a transition from consulting to founding this company with the mission of helping companies with cloud adoption and helping them to manage modern infrastructures that would integrate continuous delivery, continuous integration, building better culture. So we transitioned from consulting to a company.
Shimel: And you know what? You’ve done it and congratulations. I’ve done it now several times. And it’s scary, right? It can be a little scary when you – you know, it’s a big responsibility, but ultimately that’s what makes an entrepreneur, right?
Giri: Yeah, absolutely. And I think at some point you realize you can add far more value to your clients if you grow it as a team, especially 24/7 support. One of the DevOps principles is to take ownership, right? So we wanted to provide that to our customers and every gig we do, we make sure we are there for them. You know, we provide 24/7 support and make sure we are responsible for their infrastructure. It’s just simply very hard to do it yourself, you know? So that’s why we transitioned into a company and it’s been great. We’ve done over 100 AWS implementations and the transformation for our clients has been amazing. Before where it used to take them three months to deploy code, now they can deploy everyday. So it’s just been an amazing journey.
Shimel: Yeah, it has. And I mean, you know, again, as an entrepreneur and you having done this too, JT, it’s nice to get some recognition beyond – I mean other recognition is putting the money in the bank and growing the business, right? But it’s also nice to get awards, kudos or some industry recognition that things are moving in the right direction or the arrow is pointing up, as they say in football. And JT, recently nClouds received some recognition like that, didn’t they?
Giri: Yes. Yeah, so we’ve been nominated in the 20 most promising DevOps providers of 2017 and as I was saying, it’s really exciting for us, because we’ve been doing great things for our clients and the transformation has been amazing, where now the customer can focus on delivering value to their clients faster. You know, we help them with cloud migration and streamline their operations. So it feels good to be recognized, definitely. [Note from Editor: Just after our interview, nClouds was named to CIOReview’s 20 Most Promising DevOps Solution Providers – 2017.]
Shimel: Got it. And JT, you know, nClouds is working pretty closely with Amazon AWS, isn’t it?
Giri: Yes, we are an Advanced AWS consulting partner. We’re also an AWS Managed Service provider and DevOps competency partner.
Shimel: Got it. And how is that, JT? Because again, for our folks out in the audience, I’m sure many of our listeners are actually working on AWS-hosted infrastructure right now. But you know, from my experience anyway, there’s people who work directly with AWS and they muddle through it. They may get some training and maybe they’re old hat at it. And then there’s a large segment of I think the industry and of the customer base who really, they need the nClouds of the world. They need AWS expertise to help them make it happen. And I’ve got to assume that that forms a good chunk of your customer base right now, yeah?
Giri: Yeah, absolutely. So Alan, you know, you’re in the space and you know how confusing things are right now. You know, there’s people already moving to server-less and there’s Kubernetes, Nomad, and you know, there’s like five or six container schedulers … They want to be like Amazon or Netflix or Google of the world, but it’s very hard to get there. Since we’ve done this so many times, we have experience working with the client and taking one step at a time. Because if you’re starting out it can be intimidating, because you don’t know – you have a good vision and you want to release code fast and you want to make sure you can innovate fast. You want to migrate to AWS, but it’s very, very tough. And Alan, when we speak with customers, some of them are still starting with the config management conversations, right?
Giri: And so we have to kind of tone it down for them. For them, the next step is, “Hey, let’s figure out – maybe we need to work on implementing some kind of config management for you before we even think about micro services,” right? So that’s when someone like us can come in and help you to understand, where can we get the biggest bang for the buck? What should be the next step? And really help you pave the way to go to this transformation with a DevOps path.
Shimel: Yep, agreed. So JT, you know, when we start talk about it though – I want to turn back – you actually wrote an article back in May that was up on DevOps.com about why your company needs an automated infrastructure now. And when you were talking it kind of triggered that for me. For our listeners out there, why do their companies need an automated infrastructure right now?
Giri: So if you subscribe to lean thinking, anything that doesn’t add value to your customer is a waste, right? So you need to define your work rigorously to be used that way. With automated infrastructure you can actually facilitate that. You can scale up and down based on your customer needs. And then you can focus on adding value to your customer and you can also lower the cost, where you just scale based on the client’s needs – and all this can yield better reliability. You know, the customers will be happy. If you’re not leveraging automation and if you’re treating the cloud infrastructure like on-prem, then you’re not really getting any value out of the cloud. So that’s why I wrote that article, just illustrating that you have to focus on automation and the cloud so you can lower the cost, have efficient workflow, and in return deliver better reliability and better customer experiences.
Shimel: Excellent, excellent. So you know, JT, you and I and people like us, we’re living in a DevOps bubble. We think DevOps is great. We think this type of methodology, this way of thinking, this kind of cultural organization is a no-brainer and of course it has to make things better. But there are a lot of people who maybe haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid, or they just don’t see it. And they’re saying, “Okay, that’s cool. That’s this week’s buzzword. What’s next? How do we keep this going?” Where do you see this going, JT? And when I say this, I mean this whole sort of – I call it Agile IT, because I heard someone at Gartner use the term. But DevOps, Agile, this new way of doing things – where do you see it going
Giri: Yeah, so I think we have a long way to go, Alan. As I mentioned earlier, you know, we are in the Valley and we are drinking this DevOps Kool-Aid. And because we have experienced this, right? Like I’ve done a lot of DevOps transformations and I can see before and after and it’s just amazing when you get the results. But there are a lot of companies out there, as I was mentioning earlier – they’re still beginning to think about config management systems, right? And they’re still doing config management in Pearl. And another challenge I face, especially when we’re working with enterprises, people have gotten used to doing things a certain way and all of a sudden there’s like so many better ways to manage your infrastructure.
So Alan, I think we have a long way to go and I think when people feel like, “Oh, this is just a buzz,” what we try to do with companies is take small steps, right? If they’re still working on config management, try to implement that and show them metrics on how things were before the implementation.
Shimel: So JT, what about nClouds? What’s next with nClouds? I know recently you guys have added some talent there and you’ve got this award going on and you’re getting buzz in the industry. Where do you see the company going?
Giri: Yeah, so our mission from day one has been to drive this cloud adoption and help companies with DevOps transformation. So companies like Google or Netflix, the unicorns, they can really attract a lot of DevOps talent. But there are a lot of companies and a lot of enterprises out there and they’re not able to attract that kind of talent. So our mission is to bring DevOps transformation to all of these companies, right? That’s why we’ve been hiring. And Randy Newell joined recently, so we’re very excited about that, and we have been hiring very talented engineers.
And we also released a product called nOps.io, which manages security and change management of the cloud. So over the last several years the focus has been a lot on infrastructure tooling, like Terraform and (AWS) CloudFormation. And I think we’re missing the process piece of the puzzle in this DevOps. So that’s what we’re trying to bridge, where if there’s a hundred people or ten people making changes in your infrastructure, how do you manage those changes? How do you make sure security is not an afterthought? How do you make sure every single change is documented and traced without slowing people down? So we’ll continue to innovate and help companies in the DevOps space, yes.
Shimel: Got it, got it. All right, well JT, we’re about out of time here. Thanks for coming up and appearing on this episode of DevOps Chat. Continued success with nClouds. And we’d like to see more articles from you up on DevOps.com, actually. I’m sure our audience – our audience really liked the first one, and we’d like to see a lot more.
Giri: Thanks, Alan. Thanks for having me.
Shimel: But good luck. Thank you. All right. Hey, JT Giri of nClouds – CEO and founder of nClouds, thanks for being this episode’s guest on DevOps Chat. This is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com and DevOps Chat. We’ll see you on the next episode of DevOps Chat.