Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Kaavo: Application Centric Management & Security for Cloud Computing

Techno-Pulse hosts Jamal Mazhar in an exclusive e-Mail Interview on Cloud Computing Services.

Jamal_Mazhar_CEO_Kaavo Jamal Mazhar is Founder and CEO of Kaavo. He possesses more than 15 years of experience in technology, engineering and consulting with a range of Fortune 500 companies including GE and ING. He has BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and MBA from NYU Stern School of Business.

Kaavo Inc. provides solutions for managing distributed applications in the clouds.  Kaavo’s core product, IMOD, takes an application centric approach for managing infrastructure and makes it easier for businesses to run secure and scalable services and applications in the clouds. Kaavo partner includes companies like IBM, Amazon, Rackspace, and NIIT Technologies.

  • Kaavo is named Cool Vendors in Cloud Management, 2010 by leading analyst firm Gartner Inc. Though a young start-up, you've carved a niche in the cloud service arena. Hearty Congratulations to you & your team from Techno-Pulse. How does it feel?

It feels great, it validates the value we are delivering to the customers using our unique and innovative technology.

  • A NASSCOM-Zinnov study has predicted that Global Cloud opportunity (SaaS+IaaS+PaaS) is expected to exceed USD 30 billion by 2012. I foresee emerging India’s next wave of growth in IT will be driven by Cloud Services especially SaaS companies. Being a leading Indian cloud provider what’s your practical experience in Indian market?

We are still in the very early stage of the industry. Given the growth in the Indian economy and how fast the local companies are growing, I believe, cloud adoption in India would be similar to the cell phone adoption. Cell phones were introduced in India well after their introduction in the developed countries; however, they were adopted faster than the developed countries as the existing landline infrastructure was non-existent and the technology addressed something which was not do-able with the available infrastructure.

  • India is emerging as an Economic Power House. What is the Cloud Computing implementation scene in India specifically for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs)? How the clean slate image (in terms of software implementation) of Indian SMBs can help them in implementing Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is empowering, as anyone in any part of world with internet connection and a credit card can run and manage applications in the state of the art global datacenters; companies leveraging cloud will be able to innovate cheaper and faster. Ideas are more important now as large companies cannot use big computing infrastructure as a barrier to entry. At Kaavo we use cloud to deliver our solution using SaaS model and we wouldn't be able to deliver an enterprise class robust solution without it.

  • Kaavo’s core product IMOD (Infrastructure and Middleware on Demand) is basically an application centric management of resources. How is it different from Infrastructure Centric Management of resources?

When people are moving to the cloud, they are looking to securely and efficiently run applications in the cloud, they are not looking to replace their internal IT servers/network infrastructure with the server/routers in the cloud.

Infrastructure centric is a bottom up approach, i.e. manage servers, storage, and network resources individually. In contrast application centric approach, is a top down approach, i.e. manage all the required resources as a unified system for a given application. All the information for deploying and managing run-time services levels for the resources required by a given application is capture in a single System Definition. You can learn more about this in my blog.

  • Can you share some information on kaavo’s customers, specifically in Indian market?

Most of our customers in the Indian market are early adopters and are using our solution in the self serve mode by signing up online at https://imod.kaavo.com. We have also partnered with NIIT Technologies and they are offering cloud services using our technology.

  • Data Security & Privacy are the key concerns for cloud based applications. In a press release on Mar 15; 2010:

Gartner study says that 60 percent of virtualized servers will be less secure than the physical servers they replace. But this is not because virtualization is inherently insecure, says Gartner’s Neil MacDonald. It’s because the people implementing this new, unfamiliar, technology aren’t doing it right.

       How Kaavo’s IMOD is taking care of these issues?

When talking about security, it important to understand the role and responsibilities of who is responsible for what. Here is the list of key items to consider:

1) Datacenter security: Physical security of the infrastructure and vetting the employees working there is the responsibility of the cloud provider, e.g. Amazon, IBM, Rackspace, etc., for private cloud setup this is the responsibility of the customer team running the datacenter.

2) Virtualization Software: Again, the party running the datacenter is responsible for maintaining the security patches and configuration of the Hypervisor.

3) Virtual Server Security: Customers using the virtual servers is responsible for properly configuring firewall rules etc. Kaavo provides automation to help do this easily.

4) Network Security: If data is sensitive, customers can setup private network on top of the cloud provider network, this way all the customer application data travels on the virtual private network. Kaavo provides automation to help with this setup.

5) Data Security: If data is sensitive then it should be stored in an encrypted format in the cloud. Kaavo IMOD allows users to store data using AES 256-bit encryption in the cloud.

The point is that the tools and technologies are available to make cloud more secure or as secure as private datacenters. However, it comes down to recognizing the roles and responsibilities, asking the right questions and using the right tools.

  • Though Cloud Computing has been generating a lot of buzz for the last couple of years; when its comes to adoptation of the cloud technologies by industry, even US has got a relatively low adoption rate. Any specific reason behind this trend or is it just the lack of awareness?

Adoption rate is high among startups and it is picking up among enterprise customers. Enterprise datacenter infrastructure is more than four hundred billion dollars per year business, and it will take time for the enterprise customers to evaluate their current applications and infrastructure investments and put together an enterprise cloud adoption program. Enterprise customers have to retool and retrain their IT staff and put together proper processes to fully take advantage of the cloud, all of this cannot happen overnight.

  • Do you think Cloud Computing specifically, SaaS; will help to eliminate rampant software piracy?

I do not think so, I think software piracy is a cat and mouse game.

  • Undoubtedly, India is a global leader in IT services. How long do you think India needs to wait for its own Googles and Microsofts specifically in Cloud Computing?

If we look at the history of Silicon Valley, the Fairchild was the first success and after that several employees of Fairchild went on to form VC firms (e.g. Sequoia, KPCB) and other startups (e.g. Intel) and it started the whole ecosystem. Prior to the success of Fairchild, all the major technology companies in the US were founded on the East Coast, e.g. G.E., AT&T (Bell Labs), IBM, alt. Given all that is happening, it is just a matter of time before we will see a breakout success in the technology innovation from India and the successful company will act as a catalyst for further technology innovation in India.

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  1. I think you should write a journal on a cloud computing. You always write great.

  2. I am happy to say that now this become more and more popular than any other techniques for getting more response and i would like to personally thanks to this author because here i got very important information for my self as a web master. Thanks

  3. This is a great interview. The future of Cloud computing in India is very bright, since we have the the max customers in globe.

  4. This is a great and informative interview. Jamal Sir you have got a lead start. All the best

  5. Nils Puhlmann will provide an overview of where we are today and what areas of cloud security are actively being worked on in the industry at the third season of Business Technology Summit 2o1o in Bangalore. Further he will discuss about the specific risk and threat areas and how can they be mitigated? What other security efforts are underway in the industry to ensure that security is a key part of every cloud offering? For more information log on to www.btsummit.com