Sramana Mitra: You started your next company in 2012?
Loris Degioanni: 2013. I left Riverbed in 2012. My rotation period with Riverbed was for two years. Despite being very happy at Riverbed and despite learning a lot, I was infected with the bug of being an entrepreneur. It’s really hard to get rid of. Even in the nicest places, I don’t think I can work for somebody else.
I need to wake up, feeling that I am making a difference. I couldn’t feel that at Riverbed. The company was successful. I was contributing, but I couldn’t find that path on what I was doing. Also, you don’t have ownership. I prefer to have situations where I am have more control and impact.
It was natural for me to go back to starting another company. Things were pretty different now, because I had accumulated quite a bit of experience, quite a bit of connections, and a little bit of credibility as well through my previous journey.
I also had made enough money for somebody like me to be happy. I am not the kind of guy who has to have a Ferrari in the garage. I don’t get any satisfaction from that. Based on my lifestyle, I was in a situation in which I could take a little bit of risk without jeopardizing my family’s situation.
I decided to leave Riverbed. I was very excited because the world was changing. We were in the middle of the cloud computing wave with the shift from mainframe to PCs, from servers to virtual machines. These were the best times for people like me. They create inflection points.
In particular, my experience with my previous company of doing monitoring and visibility was very relevant because when you have a shift like this, most of the monitoring and visibility tools become inappropriate. Typically, there will be a new wave of companies that solve the problem for the new ecosystem. Cloud was exploding.
I left Riverbed to start working on something that would allow me to offer similar functionality targeted to cloud computing. In particular, one big problem with what we’re doing was based on connecting to the network and capturing the packets. This requires you to typically sit on the network router and being able to plug into the router to get a mirror of all the data that’s in the network.
This is not possible anymore in the world of cloud computing. You’re just renting virtual machines from somebody like Amazon. Our advantage, despite being very useful, was disappearing architecturally. You couldn’t just retrofit the tools. You had to think of a different way to accomplish this.
While I was focusing on this problem after leaving Riverbed, another thing happened. Containers and micro-services became mainstream. Containers are a new way to package software that makes it much more efficient and allows you to break this software into modules.
This is very important for big companies because they have thousands of developers. Monolithic pieces of software are very inefficient and hard to maintain.