Interview Jelastic CEO: “We Expect Strong Growth of the Container-First Strategy”

Ruslan SynytskyAs a global Platform-as-a-Service provider, Jelastic is focused on enabling easy set-up of cloud infrastructure, containers and application management for ISVs, telcos, hosting providers and enterprises. HostingJournalist.com sat down with their CEO, Ruslan Synytsky, to learn more about current trends with regard to the use of Kubernetes and container orchestration, as well as Kubernetes issues and opportunities identified for CSPs and MSPs.

Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Jelastic is a Multi-Cloud DevOps PaaS automating creation, scaling, clustering and security updates of cloud-native and traditional applications. The company has a deep expertise in the hosting industry working with (cloud) hosting service providers around the globe.

How important is the (cloud) hosting market for Jelastic, also compared to the selling market for Jelastic overall?

Ruslan Synytsky: “Cloud services and applications allow teams to communicate, collaborate and remain productive. Also, some organizations change the whole model of product delivery moving to digitalization and as-a-Service mode, going through so-called “SaaSification”. Thus, the role of cloud hosting is strengthening exponentially.”

“Jelastic is offering an extended PaaS layer that includes container and infrastructure management, as well as the possibility to transform and run projects as SaaS. This way, our platform is covering all major cloud layers, thus hosting providers and cloud customers are the core selling market for Jelastic.”

What trends are you signaling for 2020 and 2021?

Synytsky: “The coronavirus outbreak is actively forcing a lot of organizations to a rapid digital transformation, embracing cloud and mobility trends. It’s a period of big challenges and, at the same time, big opportunities. For the IaaS market it means more consumption as hosting needs are increasing. For SaaS it brings more engagement because of this massive digitalization wave, while for PaaS it is more demand as complex infrastructure requires smart, easy and efficient management.”

“The adoption of cloud hosting grows together with cloud spends. According to Flexera research, organizations are over budget for cloud resources by an average of 23% and expect cloud spend to increase by 47% next year. So, in addition to migrating more workloads to the cloud, companies will focus on optimizing cloud usage as the main priority in 2020 and afterward. This will lead to the appearance of cost optimization tools from cloud providers and third-party organizations, changes in cloud hosting pricing plans, and higher adoption of multi-cloud strategy to combine options with different price levels.”

“Also, we expect strong growth of the container-first strategy and more intense adoption of cloud-native applications – moving from initial adopters to wider use across industries. We’re increasingly reading about the popularity of Kubernetes for automating deployment, scaling and operations of application containers across multiple servers.”

What is your opinion on the use of Kubernetes by CSPs and MSPs? And how popular is it really?

Synytsky: “There is a growing number of ISVs that are publishing applications built specifically for Kubernetes infrastructure, and end customers are actively installing them, so the popularity of this technology will keep growing. As a result, more CSPs and MSPs will be forced to extend their product portfolio to satisfy the customers’ demand.”

“Large international cloud vendors already introduced offerings related to Kubernetes but smaller local hosting providers just started to adopt and integrate this technology due to complexity and skills required.”

“Orchestration of such workloads brings additional difficulties. Lack of expertise in integration and management of Kubernetes technology, necessity in advanced automation for building the clusters from scratch and periodically updating them create new hard-to-overcome barriers for companies. That’s why CSPs and MSPs often choose ready-to-go solutions from third-party platforms. And Jelastic can help such companies by providing not only required turnkey automation tools but also metering and billing integration for enabling cloud business around Kubernetes hosting services.”

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When you compare it to traditional VPS, what is the importance of this container orchestration platform for the overall market?

Synytsky: “Usually, traditional VPS runs multiple services or applications inside, while containers help to distribute applications across isolated instances that enables on-demand scaling, high availability, zero-downtime software updates and security patches.”

“There are many customers who have usage spikes that could be seasonal or based on particular events. The ability to scale on demand is extremely important for such customers. VPS solutions can’t cover these needs in a simple and reliable way due to significant limitations of the legacy architecture. As a result, the customers migrate to service providers with more advanced containerized cloud orchestration tools.”

“Also, it is easier to set up and automate a proper continuous integration and deployment processes using containers, thus speeding up delivery of new features, keeping environments up-to-date and minimizing the risk of security breaches.”

What are the most important drivers behind Kubernetes adoption?

Synytsky: “Managers want to grow the business and pay less for infrastructure. Admin teams want a stable and highly available platform that can run applications at scale. Developers want reliable and reproducible flows to write, deploy, test and debug code. Kubernetes promises it all.”

“The cost of downtimes is one of the major drivers. If you have downtime you lose revenue, trust to your brand and productivity of team members because they are distracted by fixes of production problems. So, people are looking for a solution and Kubernetes can help to solve this issue through flexible scalability, as well as availability across multiple servers, different locations and clouds.”

“Cost saving is another driver because containers optimize infrastructure utilization. With containers, you can put more workloads on the same infrastructure compared to the VMs.”

“In addition, the community is one more great driver. There is a big community behind Kubernetes and many smart minds involved in the project. So, if you have a question you will be able to find the answer.”

What kind of legacy technologies are going to be replaced by Kubernetes?

Synytsky: “Many companies say that kubernetes is a new everything. For example, VMware says Kubernetes is a new Java. RedHat stated that it is a new application server or even a new Linux. I can agree with some of the statements. Kubernetes is a great tool that can potentially replace some existing technologies. On the other side, I don’t believe it’s the solution for everything. It cannot cover all needs and use cases. For many people Kubernetes is still way too complex, so they prefer to stick to existing familiar solutions. Also, tech guys can come up with new innovations and switch the focus to the next hyped technology. Time will tell.”

Can you give two examples of IT use cases where Kubernetes does not provide new answers?

Synytsky: “Kubernetes made it possible to develop cloud-native microservices or decompose traditional applications making them more technologically advanced. But there’s no universal answer here since every project is individual. Kubernetes is definitely not a magic platform that will solve all your problems related to applications deployment and management.”

“Often it makes more sense to create a traditional cloud environment based on system containers rather than deal with Kubernetes and microservice complexity. The cluster installation and ongoing management will require specific expertise. Also, Kubernetes master and worker nodes consume resources all the time, even if your cluster is idle. So, for initial prototyping, small projects with limited budgets and projects that do not expect to handle high traffic, as well as for many legacy applications, Kubernetes may not be the best option. In addition, there are alternatives that solve the same problems as Kubernetes but do not require significant investment in the architecture redesign and in hiring advanced engineers. For example, Jelastic PaaS, even having integration of Kubernetes, covers most of the use cases managing application and system containers without extra orchestration layer.”

What verticals/industries are especially adopting Kubernetes (and why)?

Synytsky: “While analyzing industries that adopt Kubernetes, we can notice that software development companies have the biggest share. The reason is that such companies are more open to try new technologies, thus often they become first adopters. Also, the companies that develop new greenfield applications are more likely open to try Kubernetes. So, I would say the verticals such as computer software and information technology services are the core adopters of Kubernetes.”

What technical struggles may CSPs and MSPs encounter when using Kubernetes?

Synytsky: “Spinning up Kubernetes clusters on own servers from scratch, automating nodes scaling, upgrading running clusters to new versions without downtime, arranging multi-tenancy and overall orchestration are super complicated procedures. It requires a deep understanding of the cluster components and ways they should be interconnected, as well as time and skills for monitoring setup and troubleshooting.”

“So, in order to provide managed services around Kubernetes installation and further maintenance, MSPs and CSPs have to extend support and DevOps teams with highly-experienced members focused on K8s technology. In addition, Kubernetes deployment automation tools have to be integrated to the existing provisioning, billing and support systems for enabling service providers to make a real business on it. Offering Kubernetes-as-a-Service is a much more complex exercise compared to just using it for own needs.

What organizational and/or resource challenges may be encountered by end users/enterprises?

Synytsky: “Writing scalable applications in the microservice way, as well as its further profiling and debugging might be a serious challenge for end users. Troubleshooting and finding the root cause of the issues on the Kubernetes level are not trivial tasks and require new skills.”

“Optimizing cost of distributed and scalable applications is another challenge. Appropriate scaling limit configuration of used middleware software, containers and Kubernetes itself requires deep analysis and careful finetuning.”

“In addition, there is a promise that if you create an application specifically for Kubernetes, you will be able to easily migrate from one vendor to another. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% true because cloud providers offer different distributions of Kubernetes, so the deploy process can vary and require application adjustments. I hope this problem will be solved in the future and we will get more standardized Kubernetes deployments across different cloud vendors.”

What can be the reasons for shifting from self-managed Kubernetes to a public Kubernetes provider like Jelastic?

Synytsky: “Often companies prefer to go with managed Kubernetes services rather than running it by themselves based on three main reasons:

  • Complexity in configuration and management, too many risks to worry about.
  • Difficult to find and expensive to keep the Kubernetes experts focused only on infrastructure management and optimization.
  • “Need for Speed” in product delivery demanded by continuous market changes, and thus full concentration of internal team on own product development but not Kubernetes management.”

About the issues solved for CSPs and MSPs by Jelastic

Jelastic’s team has a deep expertise in the hosting industry working with (cloud) hosting service providers around the globe and supporting them on the way to instant business growth. Jelastic PaaS offers CSPs and MSPs a diversity and freedom of choice in technology and business models, data sovereignty and privacy, full focus on own business development instead of infrastructure management, as well as efficiency while investing money and efforts in digitalization and cloud hosting tools.

Jelastic has moved ahead solving a number of barriers for CSPs and MSPs by providing “necessary functionality to start offering Kubernetes hosting easily while gaining maximum return of investment”:

  • Complex Kubernetes cluster setup is fully automated and converted to “one click” within intuitive UI.
  • Secure multi-tenancy with advanced support of application and system containers.
  • Instant vertical scaling based on the load changes fully automated by the platform.
  • Automatic or manual horizontal scaling of K8s worker nodes with integrated autodiscovery.
  • Pay-per-Use pricing model that solves “right-sizing” problem and enables efficient Kubernetes hosting, thus the customers won’t need to reserve resources beforehand which gives immense competitive advantage to service providers.
  • Integrated Kubernetes Dynamic Volume Provisioner for automatic placing of application volumes on the shared storage and providing customers access via SFTP/NFS or integrated file manager.
  • Pre-configured ingress controllers for transferring requests even without Public Ips.
  • Built-in Let’s Encrypt SSL integration with automatic renewal.
  • Provision the clusters across multiple regions, clouds and on-premises with no fractions and differences in configurations and easy migration without infrastructure vendor lock-in.
  • Built-in resource usage metering integrated with billing system of service providers.
  • Out-of-box monitoring and troubleshooting tools for providing the required quality of services.
  • Integrated business and marketing tools for a better engagement of the end customers.

About Ruslan Synytsky, CEO and co-founder of Jelastic

Ruslan Synytsky has a strong experience in running cloud business and in cooperation with a network of independent hosting service providers. In addition to business experience, Ruslan is a technical guy who created the Platform-as-a-Service that now is available across 78 data centers in 36 countries.

To learn more about Jelastic, visit: https://jelastic.com.

 

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