Vishal Biyani, Co-Founder and CTO at InfraCloud shared his views about the organization, technology and the future ahead in an exclusive interview with team IT-Voice:
Prateek: How the organization started its journey & how did you (founders) met?
Vishal Biyani: I will answer how we met the question first and then come to the journey. So me (Vishal) and Girish are from the same college – VIT Pune and were a year apart. I was in Mechanical Engg. while Girish was doing Computer Science. We knew each other via a common friend – but that was it in college. In 2013 I had returned from the US and was working on DevOps and Girish was working at a startup as a VP of DevOps. Then both of us caught up over coffee etc. and we both were looking to do something innovative in terms of tech and organization building which we felt our current roles wouldn’t allow us to do.
While we were in touch – this new technology called Docker was already very popular among developers and Kubernetes was the new tech from Google in OSS (Open Source Software). Over the next few meetings – when we met and chatted about these trends and some things we had read by visionaries in space – it became clear that this is going to be a big shift. And hence the idea was born and we started looking for customers. One of Girish’s previous contacts gave some work, another customer came via our network and when I decided to leave the startup I was working at – they became the third customer.
Prateek: Pandemic’s impact on InfraCloud and how are you managing remote-first policy?
Vishal Biyani: We were lucky to spot the signs quite early – while an official lockdown happened on 24th March, InfraCloud announced on 12th March to stop coming to offices (Though we had just signed a lease for a larger new office in Baner, Pune). Secondly, we were always remote-friendly and had a few folks working remotely & almost all customers in different geography and timezone definitely played to our advantage.
Now once we went into lockdown – we proactively optimized some working practices by learning from companies such as GitLab. Gitlab is an OSS company and they share their organization practices also like Open Source and they were remote for a fairly long time – we highly recommend learning from them for anyone who wants to get good at working in a distributed manner. For example, we emphasized on reducing the time people spent on calls and instead used asynchronous and written communication more. It takes some amount of practice and coaching – but once you get it, the upside is huge!
Prateek: How Kubernetes is helping companies amidst pandemic
Vishal Biyani: So we have to understand a bit more about where Kubernetes fits in the larger scheme of things. Kubernetes is an infrastructure technology which means it is not necessarily visible to the end user. Now during the pandemic what has happened is that adoption of digital technologies has accelerated. Kubernetes also – which was already getting adopted widely, the adoption has only accelerated in pandemic as the larger digital adoption increased.
Prateek: How are you leveraging cloud native open source tools for your customers
Vishal Biyani: So there are two aspects to this – we are making adopting cloud native technologies easy for our customers based on our experience of implementing those across customers. Secondly, sometimes we will also see a need and we build and open source tools for ex. BotKube is something we built in 2018. Very recently we open sourced Krius – which makes setting up monitoring easy in the cloud native world!
Prateek: What does the Kubernetes future look like?
Vishal Biyani: So if you look at a technology like Linux OS – which was born ~30 years ago and today is a mainstream OS technology on any piece of hardware. Similarly, Kubernetes is becoming the Operating System for data centers, edge computers, telecom towers and so on. Kubernetes has come a long way but will become more and more mature – and something that just works and no one has to look at it as much. This also means newer innovations will happen on a layer above Kubernetes and will be very different compared to previous waves of innovation.
Prateek: How do you see the market changing in the next 8-10 years & Kubernetes’ impact on it?
Vishal Biyani: I personally think 8-10 years is too long a window to predict anything realistically. Technologies move very very fast and anything beyond 18-24 months is tremendously hard to predict. For example, I always thought Mesos will become the mainstream Data Center OS – but in a span of 2-3 years Kubernetes took over that spot. So we are way more wrong than we are right 🙂 Coming back to answer – we definitely think in the next ~2 years either a layer on top of Kubernetes to make it much easier would be born or a potential competition to Kubernetes could emerge. Irrespective of both outcomes – I think infrastructure space will have some interesting innovations on which the next generation of applications from cloud to edge will be built – and it would be fascinating to watch that so closely!