It’s always great to see companies in the DevOps space grow and expand their breadth of services. JFrog is the latest to fit that description. The company last week announced its acquisition of Trainologic, a Dev and DevOps technology consulting company, to expand its reach by helping new customers start their DevOps journey and supporting existing customers along the way.
In this DevOps Chat, we speak with JFrog CEO and co-founder Shlomi Ben Haim and Gal Marda, founder and CEO of Trainologic, about the acquisition and how Trainologic fits into the JFrog vision of end-to-end continuous updates.
As usual, the streaming audio is immediately below, followed by the transcript of our conversation.
Alan Shimel: Hey, everyone, it’s Alan Shimel, DevOps.com. You’re listening to another DevOps Chat. Today’s DevOps Chat is around some big news coming out of our friends at JFrog, and I’m happy to be joined by my friend, Shlomi Ben Haim, CEO and co-founder of JFrog. Shlomi, welcome.
Shlomi Ben Haim: Hey, Alan. Thank you for having us.
Shimel: Thank you. And joining Shlomi is a new member of the JFrog family, Gal Marda, who is the, I guess, founder and CEO of—or was the founder and CEO of Trainologic, correct?
Gal Marda: Correct. Great to be here. Thanks, Alan.
Shimel: Welcome, and welcome to the JFrog family.
Marda: Thanks a lot. It’s very exciting for me.
Shimel: So, I’m gonna let—Gal, I’m gonna let you tell our audience the big news coming out today. What went down here?
Marda: So, what went down, as Alan said, it’s very exciting, actually. Shlomi had this great idea of JFrog coming out with this platform, the EPlus platform, which is a complete revolution in the DevOps industry, in my opinion, and he thought that DevOps and the vision of liquid software, to make it successful, it’s both tools and practices. And taking out this platform and making sure it’s successful requires some consulting services as well to make sure that JFrog customers are making the right decision on the way they used the Enterprise platform.
So, the idea was to join forces together and bring us on to make sure the customers are being successful with the use of the Enterprise Plus platform.
Shimel: Excellent. So, Shlomi, let me ask you—JFrog as a company has had tremendous success, tremendous growth. Last year, you moved, really, to a platform type of solution in the marketplace, right, offering the platform. Why Trainologic, why now?
Ben Haim: That’s a great question, Alan. So, as you know, and we spoke about it in the past, the real pain that DevOps is here to solve is not about the milestones of continuous integration and continuous deployment and continuous delivery and continuous testing. These are all very important milestones that created and ________ revolution.
But, basically, if we will all have a solution that helps us to get to a place that we have continuous updates, that software is being released fast and secure, then the DevOps evolution would be at the procurement level. What we released this year, the Enterprise Plus, is a bundle of seven different products, and it’s not any more one product that you install and run at the server side, then serve your developers. It’s more than that. It’s an end to end binary solution.
And what we figured out is that we need some experts to help us with the adoption and the know-how and the knowledge transfer among our users. So, we have 4,500 Enterprise customers today. We need Gal’s team to work with us in the field, on customer sites to support that goal.
Shimel: I wholeheartedly agree, Shlomi. You know, I’m reminded of, back in my days at Interliant, where we did early cloud hosting—things like Lotus Notes and PeopleSoft and Oracle applications. And what we discovered then was, you can never take a sophisticated application like that out of a box, plug it in, and say it’s gonna work, right? There was always, at best, 75 percent, it worked. You always needed professional services, 25 percent, to come in, customize it, fine-tune it, make it work.
And, really, that—you know, even in the security space, so many of the most successful security companies, when you look at their revenue breakdown, it was the professional services, because security is hard. And people just can’t do it, and so, to me, anyway, there’s no surprise that this is a DevOps problem as well is that you still need those experts to come in and do it.
My question to you is, though, is that, as a CEO in your position, you’re always—you’re gonna need to balance how many bodies do I want, right? How do we scale this? Because it’s a body intensive, it’s a people intensive business model.
And so, you know, what—and Gal, you may have experience, having led the charge at Trainologic. What do you do there? How do you keep it in check?
Marda: So, I—Shlomi, are you taking this, or me?
Shimel: Either of you.
Ben Haim: Yeah, I’ll speak about the ratio, and Gal, you will speak about the best practices coming from your experience. I think, Alan, you are right. When you come with—it’s not just the technology, it’s not just the new things that are happening in the market. And the DevOps market is booming. You see it from everywhere, from fundraising to technology adoption, new things, innovation, every morning we are waking up to some DevOps news. So, this is a very exciting day for companies like JFrog.
But what you also see is that a lot of companies are starting to onboard giant organizations, thousands of developers to a new methodology and new tools. Therefore, we have to keep the balance between what we release to the market and how it’s being adopted. Because otherwise, we will overwhelm our users with technology that nobody understands how to use, and they will—you know, the first reaction will be a reflex reaction of just dropping it and have this mantra of what works should be, stay as it is. If we want to keep innovation, if we—sorry, to push innovation—if we want to keep the market momentum, then we also have to support the market with the onboarding. This is one thing.
The second thing—JFrog is a product company. JFrog is not a service company. But building the product without helping our customers to better use them is meaningless. It’s just like having a great technology with the wrong execution. So, we are looking up to companies in our field that did this stuff two years ago, three years ago, and how the market adopted their platform. And we learned a lot from it, we did the analysis. So, when we reached out to Trainer Logic and asked Gal to join the team to the swamp, basically, the first thing that we looked at is, is this company already installing ________ Factory and Xray and Bitray and the JFrog pool? Second, is it a big enough team? It’s a TS Super Command Unit, so not too big, and if Gal and the team will be able to build a community, not just with the JFrog professional services, but also with the community of professional service companies around us, and to be some kind of a business development within these units around the world to help us spread the JFrog technology.
Shimel: Excellent. Gal, do you want to add to that?
Marda: Yeah, sure. So, you asked about scaling, so I think Shlomi has it correctly. We are going to be a relatively lean and mean command force. We’re not gonna be like thousands of people, but we’re, we can scale in several ways. One of them is, as Shlomi mentioned, by partnerships, okay? We tend to create a network of partners and a community that will help us work together. We’re not going to deal with it all by ourselves.
And, in terms of scaling inside and taking people and training them, that’s something that we’re very used to doing. We are making sure that young people are shadowing, and we’re grooming them, and we’re teaching them a lot more of our practices, and we’re making sure that they see a lot of different architecture and a lot of different customers with different ways of thinking. And with this kind of activity, they become very experienced in a relatively short time because they see a lot of stuff, and if you take talented people, you give them the right mentoring, you let them see a lot of different solutions and approaches, they become very efficient in a relatively short period of time.
Shimel: Excellent. So, is this, the commando teams going in and stuff, Gal, do you envision them—so, is every job a one-off, or is there a sort of standardized package that you’ll develop for most customers?
Marda: Well, it’s still in the making, but I am—we are planning to create some packages, because during our experience in last year’s meeting, a lot of different companies and providing them with different services, we realize that there are the same needs that are returning again and again.
One of them, for example, would be some kind of DevOps analysis, like a gap analysis of where you should be or where you want to be, and what’s your current DevOps state? So, for sure, there will be different types of packages, and inside those packages, of course, a lot of the work will be tailor made because every company is different, and as you know, DevOps is also very culture related and related to many other things in the company. So, for sure, it can’t be the exact same thing that will be provided, but the general framework in the packages will be, different packages will offer off the shelf.
Shimel: Excellent. So, Shlomi, Gal said the magic word—culture. How does this—you’ve done other acquisitions. You’ve acquired JFrog China, I saw awhile I was in China, I saw them at an event. Some other acquisitions you’ve done over the years. But those were kinda product related companies; this is clearly a service one. How does that—I mean, you have a great culture at JFrog, right? I’ve witnessed it firsthand. It’s admirable. How do you make—
Ben Haim: Thank you.
Shimel: – ________ Froggers in the swamp?
Ben Haim: Well, first of all, thank you, Alan. You know, we acquired four different companies, from Conan with the C++ package manager for DevOps and then CloudMunch, that becomes the JFrog Insight product. And then DMon and now Crenologic, and the one thing, one rule of ________ is the fact that you always, you should always seek for the combination between the strategy and the culture.
And, the first time that I met Gal, under the idea of the acquisition was at swampUP, in our user conference. So, for me, there is no better place to bring someone and show him JFrog, not just from a technology point of view and a product point of view, but also community relations and also the Frog vibe and the Frog DNA.
And then, when we started the discussion between us, actually, the two groups that worked hard on this deal were the HR group and the Operations group. And the first thing that we shared with Gal was the JFrog products. So, I think that Gal wouldn’t join JFrog if he would feel that this is not the right fit on the cultural point of view, and the strategy moving forward can be something that will change the world of the Enterprise culture.
So, the liquid software vision, together with the JFrog culture, I think kind of blended into what Gal believed in and what his team already is doing for the past 10 years. And what we have seen there was an identical picture of JFrog. It was almost like a glove to a hand, and now, after we signed and they are part of JFrog, I can say that this was a love story from the first moment we met.
Shimel: Alright, and it was a happy ending. [Laughter] So, I have to ask you, Shlomi—so, now, you’ve acquired a services company, Commandos, what’s next? What’s next at JFrog?
Ben Haim: That’s a perfect question. Actually, you sound like my ________ now. [Laughter] So, on the service level, I think that what Gal and Tali, our VP of Worldwide Sales, are working on now is how to merge these capabilities now with the Enterprise class, the JFrog class from adoption. This is one thing.
The second thing for JFrog is the extension of our technology. We see the consolidation in the DevOps market happening. There is two buckets that consolidate all the technology. One of them is the code repository, so you see what happened with GitHub and Bitbucket and so on. And the other one is the artifact repository. So, those two buckets are kind of consolidating all the technologies into it, and we are looking at it and we are looking at the landscape, and with the universal solution we provide and with the hybrid solution we provide and with the freedom of choice philosophy to be a developers first and DevOps first company, we will extend the technology.
So, stay tuned. I promise you that, at the beginning of 2019, we will have more news about technologies that support our goal.
Shimel: Fantastic. Gal, I’m gonna give you the last word.
Marda: Okay. Thanks for that, first. I must relate to what Shlomi said about love at first sight and the culture. It was amazing to see. When Shlomi called me, first of all, I was very flattered and surprised. But what I’ve realized very fast is that it’s kind of where we’re seeing the same thing but we were trying to help our customers in different ways. JFrog was doing that with creating great technology, and we were doing that with providing them with the best services we could.
But we tried to reach the exact same goal, the exact same way—developer first, technology first, and while we appreciate and we are all people persons and see the people and try to say, to maintain a very special culture. So, I think that’s a great fit in that matter, and I think it’s the most important one. So, I totally thank Shlomi for this opportunity to be part of JFrog, and I feel that we’re very much alike to begin with, but it’s a great honor to join a company like JFrog.
Shimel: Well, congratulations.
Ben Haim: Alan Shimel? Alan?
Shimel: Yes, Shlomi?
Ben Haim: You saw JFrog growing, and I’m very—you know, I’m very excited to have this conversation with you, because it’s like seeing different generations in JFrog. We will make the world of software liquid. We will liquefy software. This is our vision, so stay with us, I promise you we will have more news for you.
Shimel: I’m not going anywhere, and I have every confidence in you.
Ben Haim: [Laughter]
Shimel: Gal, to you, as they say in Boca Raton, Mazel Tov.
Marda: To dava. [Laughter]
Shimel: [Laughter] Alright. Shlomi Ben Haim, Gal Marda, JFrog—congratulations, good luck. We’ll check in early in 2019. This is Alan Shimel for DevOps.com, and you’ve just listened to another DevOps Chat.