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Startup Rackware moves Cloud Workloads from Anywhere-to-Anywhere

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, IT departments are increasingly looking for more control over their cloud workloads. IT wants to be able to administer their own workloads, and move these around as they please. Another trend is the increasing concern with disaster recovery.

As cloud adoption continues to accelerate, IT departments are increasingly looking for more control over their cloud workloads. IT wants to be able to administer their own workloads, and move these around as they please. Another trend is the increasing concern with disaster recovery. Indeed, more and more companies actually have groups within their IT organization that specifically look after planning for disaster recovery and business continuity.

One startup that is helping IT departments meet these new requirements is Rackware. Joining us today to discuss more about Rackware’s technology is CEO and co-founder Sash Sunkara.

IT Specialist Thank you for sharing some insights Sash. To start with, can you provide some brief background on Rackware, such as what year you were started and the background of the founders?

Sash RackWare was founded in 2009 by Todd Matters and myself who identified a growing interest among enterprises to want to use the public cloud as an extension of their internal IT.

Prior to founding RackWare in 2009, I was vice president of marketing for QLogic’s Network Solutions Division, co-founder and chief business officer at 3Leaf Systems, vice president of program management at Brocade Communications. I started my career at HP developing networking switches and routers. I hold a BSEE degree from California State University, Sacramento, where I graduated with honors.

Matters served as senior director of engineering at QLogic (acquired by Intel in 2012) as a result of QLogic’s 2006 acquisition of SilverStorm Technologies (InfiniCon) where he was also a co-founder and served as CTO and vice-president of engineering.  Matters began his engineering career at Unisys building networking systems for very large scale Burroughs and IBM mainframes, working directly with Tier 1 international banks to solve their manageability, reliability, security, scale, and performance challenges.  Matters graduated with honors from Millersville State College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics and has in excess of 10 patents to his name. 

IT Specialist At a high level, can you provide Rackware’s’s overall perspective on the state of the cloud market? Are these suppositions correct and are there any other macro-trends you could highlight?

Sash RackWare believes that there will be growing need for workload portability solutions in the cloud infrastructure market over the next few years.  The Cloud will increasingly become accepted in place of or in addition to traditional data centers due to the increases in agility, availability and reliability that the Cloud provides.  Within the Cloud space, we are seeing several use cases and themes and anticipate that this trend will increase dramatically in the next few years:

1.      The concept of “self-service” will be more ingrained in the industry, allowing end users to administer and maintain their workloads themselves rather than relying on traditional IT services.

2.      The notion of Cloud-based Disaster Recovery will be greatly adopted due to cost effectiveness and increases in recovery times over traditional tape and image archival plans.

IT Specialist What would you describe as Rackware’s core value-proposition for enterprise IT?

Sash RackWare’s technology is unique in that it is the only software product on the market that provides true workload migration and replication capabilities that lives up to the term:  “Anywhere-to-Anywhere”.  Workloads can be protected or moved to and from physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructures. Below is an overview of our value proposition to IT:

IT Specialist Turning now to your products, can you provide an overview of your core Rackware Management Module product? What are the main cloud providers that RMM supports – I noticed that RMM for Amazon, Softlayer and Centurylink are each separate products?

Sash Our flagship product, theRackWare Management Module, provides support for all Cloud platforms – NTT, OpenStack, VMware, SunGard, CloudSigma in addition to AWS, Softlayer and Centurylink. 

We have built extensive integrations with AWS, SoftLayer and CenturyLink that leverage native features of these clouds (such as monitoring, blueprints, etc.) to provide out-of-the-box support for migration, scaling and DR using these clouds. Adding support for other cloud platforms is also very easy because of our extensible architecture.

IT Specialist Turning to your solutions, one that jumped out at me was disaster recovery. Can you explain how Rackware’s DR solution actually works in practice? Do you think most companies do have some kind of DR solution in place by now?

Sash DR is a solution that is constantly evolving and will never go away. All companies have DR solutions for their crucial apps. As they upgrade their apps or as they find new cost-effective DR solutions, many of them opt to deploy more modern DR solutions.

RackWare’s DR solution, from the user’s perspective is a very simple, yet powerful way to implement DR in a cost effective manner, but that gives dramatically increased performance over traditional ways of taking backups.  We take advantage of Cloud’s unique ability to take an image and start it up as a live workload.  We first capture the production workload image into the Cloud (without the use of agents), and then synchronize, on a user defined basis, all the changes that occur over time.  The recovery image is updated in lock-step (set frequency) with the production server, and when an outage occurs, the recovery image takes over all workload (failover).  When the outage is over, the changes on the recovery instance are re-synced back to the production server and normal operations resume.

Most companies have a small portion of their mission critical workloads protected by real-time replication solutions and/or clustering.  The rest of their workloads are protected by image or tape, which have extremely slow recovery times.  Our solution takes the best of both worlds and packages them up in a cost-effective DR offering.

IT Specialist On the technology side, could you explain how your solution actually works? Is there an API that connects the Rackware Management Solution software to the actual cloud solution the customer is using?

Sash Our software is completely agentless, so there is no software to install on either the source or the target infrastructures.  It uses the OS’s native facilities for gathering and discovering application and network information, and then interfaces with the Cloud vendors open APIs.

IT Specialist What role does the enterprise IT professional play in implementing and managing a Rackware solution – how easy is it to get started and then manage going forward?

Sash With RackWare, the enterprise IT professional essentially multiplies the work that could be normally achieved by orders of magnitude because the software is doing all the “heavy lifting”.  It is extremely easy to get started and management going forward is very easy as well. With RackWare’s easy to use, wizard-like interface the enterprise IT professional undergoes training and then manages the migration and DR configuration on their own. Below are sample screenshots:

IT Specialist How has the response to Rackware’s solution been in the enterprise IT marketplace? Are there any particular customers or case studies you’d like to highlight?

Sash The response within the enterprise IT marketplace has been overwhelmingly positive.  We grew our revenue by 350% in 2014 and doubled the number of our customers and partners.

One of our retail customers measured their migration with and without RackWare and found a very interesting data point. Prior to using RackWare they moved 50 servers manually into the cloud. It took them 20 weeks. After using RackWare, it took them less than a week to migrate the same number of servers!

We have many marquee names in our customer list.  One case study that is available on our website is ZS Associates, and illustrates how they use RackWare for Physical-to-Physical DR.  The case study can be downloaded at http://www.rackwareinc.com/case-study-zs-associates/?ldsrc=IT_specialist

IT Specialist Turning now to the corporate level, can you tell us how much money has Rackware raised and who are your core investors?

Sash RackWare has received $5.3 Million in venture capital funding from KickStart Seed Fund and Osage Venture Partners.

IT Specialist Finally, for people who may be interested in testing the Rackware solution or beginning a dialogue with you, what is the best way for them to start working with you?

Sash End users can get in touch with us very easily by visiting www.rackwareinc.com/?ldsrc=IT_specialist or emailing us at info@rackwareinc.com.  For potential partners that are interested in speaking to us to join our reseller or OEM programs, please visit http://www.rackwareinc.com/partners/?ldsrc=IT_specialist .

IT Specialist Thank you for the information Sash, and best of luck going forward.

 

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