We started ZeroStack two years ago with a simple vision to help companies transition to a cloud-based IT model. What struck us was how much the conversation revolved around the cloud and its potential but the reality in the market was far from the promise. In many cases, the IT teams didn’t even have clarity on which path to take as every vendor was providing their own definition of cloud and how to get there. Imagine if you set the destination on your GPS and got a new set of directions every few minutes!
We decided to build a solution that provided the most direct path to build a cloud and run applications on it. We also set a lofty goal for ourselves — solve the challenge of on-going operations. With these touchstones, we came up with a new model for the cloud — a zero touch private cloud — that is fundamentally superior to existing designs in terms of time to value, flexibility and cost.
Our early conversations with potential customers were enlightening. They loved ZeroStack’s value proposition but were extremely skeptical. Perhaps what they heard sounded too good to be true (“Can we really have an always-on cloud built in 30 minutes or less with zero in-house expertise?”), but everyone was eager to see the product in action. The pull was strong enough that we got our initial funding at very early stage in the company. Then we started building an all-star team with expertise in virtualization, storage, networking, cloud management software and distributed systems. Every member of the team had the same passion to achieve the mission that my co-founder, Kiran Bondalapati, and I had started with. Their dedication and hard work helped us go from ideas on a whiteboard to ZeroStack Cloud Platforms in customer sites within a year.
The interaction with the early set of users were great learning experiences for both parties. We taught the customers how they can improve their current processes and move to an agile private cloud environment. Their developers and IT teams loved that we could make them best friends again! We learned very useful lessons from their actual use cases and quickly iterated on our design to give them a better experience. Our SaaS-based consumption model was a big help in this regard as it let us handle feature requests very quickly (typically within a week or two). That allowed us to improve at a rapid pace and instilled confidence in our team; the customers saw the vision materialize in front of their eyes and how fast we could get there. We had strong conviction that this would be a huge advantage of our architecture and it was gratifying to see our assumptions validated in the real world!
Today, I am proud to announce the general availability of the Zerostack Cloud Platform. I am also proud to say that we have gone from a utopian vision to a real product in less than two years while hitting our initial design targets. We’ve now done several deployments where the customer had no cloud-specific expertise and yet their existing IT team was able to get a cloud up and running in minutes with our solution.
I feel really fortunate to lead such a great team. It was truly a cross-functional effort across engineering, product, sales, support and marketing to get us to this momentous milestone. I am also grateful to our early adopters who took a leap of faith with us. The fact that we alert them about problems before they can happen and are ready with a fix is addressing their major pain. Our operations layer in the cloud helps us do certain things that other vendors are not able to do.
I look forward to more customer conversations and making each of them successful in their own journey. At the end that is what matters!