Sramana Mitra: In this general universe that you’re operating in, where do you see open problems? If you were starting a company today, where would you look into?
Peter Nichol: That’s a great question. I would say there’re probably two areas that are big trends emerging in the future that haven’t been addressed in a meaningful way. We’ve seen the movement of a lot of companies to the cloud. I think the next trend would be companies looking for cloud independence.
In other words, a lot of companies have moved to AWS, for example. That’s the biggest cloud provider out there. Companies are now going to be starting to look for independence. In other words, they don’t want to be locked in to a specific cloud provider. They want to have some degree of independence and they want to be able to run their applications across multiple cloud providers and not just Amazon.
Sramana Mitra: How does that play out? Does that mean that they will have some sort of middleware that’s their own and that interfaces with multiple public cloud vendors that risk-distributes across difference vendors? Or do you expect that they will be putting in investment in infrastructure themselves?
Peter Nichol: The bigger companies will be doing this themselves. There are opportunities and this is where I would focus my efforts. This is where I see gaps. There are opportunities for companies to start providing that infrastructure software – that middle layer – which will give companies the ability to operate over multiple cloud providers. That’s one of the gaps that I see in the market at the moment.
Sramana Mitra: Very interesting. Excellent. Is there anything else you want to include in this conversation?
Peter Nichol: This is another trend which relates very much to the one I just mentioned. There’re probably two other trends that I would mention. One trend is the move towards shared infrastructure in general. Typically, companies run a lot of applications in a very siloed way. They have a separate infrastructure for different applications. That’s a very inefficient way of using infrastructure.
We’re starting to see a lot of companies utilizing tools that allow them to run multiple applications on a single-shared infrastructure. That’s going to be a big trend going forward. The last trend, which is interesting, is new technologies which make application development much easier.
One example of this is Kubernetes which is a technology that came out of Google. It allows the application developer to develop at a higher level of abstraction and takes away a lot of his burden of knowing exactly what database it’s running on, knowing exactly what cloud provider it’s running on so that application developers can develop an app that can run anywhere, on any cloud, on any database.
Sramana Mitra: This is a trend that we have seen in many different formats. The AI engines are trying to accomplish that. Even Microsoft is trying to accomplish a level of abstraction so that people with good domain knowledge can build AI apps without having to be AI geniuses. The layers have become very complicated. The abstraction is becoming a real requirement now to move forward in this very complex technology stack.
Peter Nichol: Absolutely. I think it’s going to be something that further pushes companies towards using applications and infrastructure across multiple cloud providers, including potentially their own internal infrastructure.
Sramana Mitra: Terrific. Thank you for your time.