Commanding Kubernetes | Haseeb Budhani at Rafay

If you’re on a DevOps team and managing clustered apps needing rapid scaling and deployment, you may use an open-source solution called Kubernetes.

This technology is an ideal platform for cloud-based applications. But like everything in the modern era, the technology in it and around it changes too rapidly for most companies to manage. You’d need a team of ten experts in your organization to keep up—and that wouldn’t be very cost-effective.

This is the problem Haseeb Budhani recognized when he co-founded Rafay, a company that offers a Kubernetes management solution. On this edition of UpTech Report, Haseeb explains how this technology works and how it’s helping companies handle a rapidly evolving marketplace.

More information:

Haseeb Budhani is the CEO of Rafay Systems, which he co-founded in late 2017. Prior to Rafay, Haseeb oversaw Akamai Technologies’ expansion into the enterprise marketas the company’s Vice President of Enterprise Strategy. Akamai acquired Haseeb’s previous company, Soha Systems, in 2016. Haseeb co-founded Soha in 2013 and served as the company’s CEO.

Prior to Soha, Haseeb served as the Chief Product Officer for Infineta Systems, where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s product marketing, marketing communications and partner management activities. Previously, Haseeb held senior product management, marketing and engineering roles at NET, Personal IT, Citrix Systems, Orbital Data, IP Infusion and Oblix. Haseeb holds an MBA from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and a B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!

Haseeb Budhani 0:00
Contactless applications are really important now, one six months ago, nobody cared. I could shake hands. And I can’t do that anymore. Right. So I got to now think about going, how do I serve my clientele? And our new apps? It’s happening now.

Alexander Ferguson 0:20
Haseeb, I’m excited to chat with you today and learn more about Rafay systems to start us off. Can you describe in a nutshell, five seconds? What is Rafay Systems? What would you share

Haseeb Budhani 0:34
Kubernetes management for IT organizations in midsize enterprises.

Alexander Ferguson 0:40
Nicely specific. So obviously, you are very in tune on one industry one market can you describe more to the person that you serve and the problem that you saw within the like, hey, we can we can solve this?

Haseeb Budhani 0:54
Sure. The the buyer of our technology is usually a C level person in a company or senior person who has a mandate which has to do with modernization, there are apps in my company that need to be organized, which means they they were going to be containerized, maybe run in the cloud. And I need to invoke expression for this. The consumer of the technology is developers who write the applications. It’s DevOps that bridges the gap from developers to this other team called operations or IT operations that end up running all of these things. So really, I can think of this as a triangle, or maybe two triangles sitting next to each other. There’s the decision maker, there’s developers, there’s DevOps, and there’s ops, all have to be involved. And there’s a there’s a fifth, I guess, wording here, which is, I guess, not on this picture, which is security, any platform such as this, when it’s purchased and used by an enterprise, not not a not a small company in a corner doing some fun things on the internet, you know, an enterprise they have security requirements, right? So they really have to understand, is it secure? Is it well thought through? does it tie into my existing enterprise, you know, processes as it relates to compliance and governance, all of those things have to be true. But definitely we start with the senior person and then kind of work downwards.

Alexander Ferguson 2:16
Now, what about your platform services is different than they could just do it on their own?

Haseeb Budhani 2:22
They certainly can people, people do try, I think the challenges we are at kind of at the cusp of a new thing happening in our industry. And it’s been going on for maybe maybe a couple of years. And arguably, I think COVID-19 has accelerated that process, where people were modernizing apps, that’s not a new thing. But now, if you’re in the retail industry, if you’re in the banking industry, contactless applications are really important now, one six months ago, nobody cared. I could shake hands. And I can’t do that anymore. Right. So I got to now think about when How do I serve my clientele, catering to apps, it’s happening now. But the orchestration layer, and everything underneath, it’s all new to all of us. I mean, there are no 100% experts in this world called Kubernetes. It is too new, and the orbit of Kubernetes. Every day, there’s something new this week Kubernetes, one dot 19. Or maybe in the last few days, one dot 19 was announced. And I thought was like two weeks ago wonder 18 was and that was three months ago. But it just happening too fast. And this morning, like right before this call, I learned from one of my colleagues that now Amazon has this new operating system called bottle rocket, which is better for containers. Oh my God, every day, there’s something new hiring to keep up, we do. This is our job. This is all we do. But a typical IT organization, there are 50 things going on. And they cannot afford to build, you know, like a center of excellence for coordinators in their company. If you take 10 people, and this is all they do. That’s not a good investment for your company. It’s actually really, it’s actually cheaper for you. Certainly the ROI is there. But it’s cheaper for you to buy this versus burgers in house.

Alexander Ferguson 4:03
We’re going in a direction where every company is effectively a software company. And now the speed of execution where they have to develop new applications you’re saying is only increasing that’s COVID. And the complexity of all the different layers. There’s no good reason why someone internally needs to should know how to manage all of it. So it’s better to segment ties and find someone who can help when it comes to Kubernetes. They don’t have to worry about how that works because it trains so fast that I catch that correctly.

Haseeb Budhani 4:31
Yeah, I think every company shall give you an example from this morning. There’s a there’s a midsize bank that we’ve been working with where they have a DevOps team. They’re very, very good. But they’ve decided that we do need some additional help because it is moving so fast. So they’ve been decided to invest in a platform they’re looking at us they’re looking at a couple of competitors of course but but they did. I think they are expert enough to know that they should invest in a tool. I think that’s really important. Right? They learn and the lessons. In fact, in decades, they learned, you know, they they spent six, nine months only working with this and they realize, oh, this is a lot. And you know what the right thing for our company for our business is to find somebody who has a platform that we can consume and be up and running faster, and maybe also helps us out on an ongoing basis. And we can talk about what that means momentarily. But I think most companies come to that conclusion very fast. And that’s the right thing to do for their businesses, because they realize, Oh, my God, I gotta I have to worry about the application. I gotta worry about all these other things. This one little thing becomes a long pole in this tent. Don’t let it become the long pole. Understand, go find a way to well, conceptual, I guess. And, you know, get going faster.

Alexander Ferguson 5:42
Tell me more about your platform, how it works, How’s it different for it to be able to manage Kubernetes?

Haseeb Budhani 5:49
Yeah, so the interest so the problem that is not new, it just that the consumption is kind of gone up drastically, relative to a year ago, so many companies have existed in this space honoring the Kubernetes or general container orchestration problem. This is a 678 year old problem. Now. I think the the few differences that probably come to light when you know, things become mainstream. And when you know, when you’re doing this in a corner, sometimes you don’t think about these things. SAS is important, right? Being able to consume complex technologies as a SaaS product is really, really key. And a lot of people ask me, So what’s the big deal? Right? Well, you know, I could have known data centers, but I go to Amazon, right? Why? It’s better, right? I should go let them focus on the data stuff. I can just say build me a VPC. But anybody who remembers how those things work in an actual data center remembers that is not a very, it’s a non trivial focus on building a VPC? Well, they just build your network or a bunch of switches. It’s actually awesome, right? So this is a SaaS product, this product is designed for isolation and multi tenancy in companies, no company is wanting every company’s multiple teams, you need hard isolation, across organizations, I should not be able to see your infrastructure. And I should be able to manage it all centrally. So having this multi tiered model in a product like this, so that a central organization like it can can have governance and purview over everything. But every team gets to do what they want to do. These are important things. So we built our platform that way, the SaaS product is designed with multi tenancy in mind, it’s designed for fleet management. So that’s a phrase that’s coming up again, and again, as industry, and many of our kind of, you know, well established competitors are now you know, also implementing that idea in their products. Nobody’s got one or two clusters. We thought they would, but they don’t they have many, it just it is what it is. And definitely the reason is blast radius, different teams are on different versions of Kubernetes. When I upgrade to this version of Kubernetes, these obligations break. So you know what, let’s just start giving people their own clusters. And now I got a fleet. So how am I going to manage this? How do I know what’s running there? And that in itself is a problem. So, you know, taking an old school technology, and I guess, latching on fleet management features is, it’s gonna take time, right, there’s churn in that, right. So sometimes, you know, startups look, I mean, startups are about luck and timing. Of course, you have to have technology, otherwise, you don’t get a seat at the table. But it’s luck and timing. Right. Sometimes the the second batch if you’re going right, they actually learn from the Masters, right? So I would, I would say that, you know, the few companies that existed before we came along for many years, mandated an incredibly good job, right? And they taught people like us, here’s a better way to solve the problem. And we kind of, you know, building our company on the shoulders of giants.

Alexander Ferguson 8:36
Then, kind of looking at the development over has been three years, four years ago, then an existence

Haseeb Budhani 8:46
feels like forever. To an hour. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Less than three years. It has not yet been two

Alexander Ferguson 8:52
years. Yeah. Okay. Obviously, things change and continue to morph. Tell me more about like, in the last year, where it where, how has things changed? And where is it going? In the next year in the near future? Where do you guys focus?

Haseeb Budhani 9:06
Yeah, so I talked about this function called feed management that is definitely very near and dear to our hearts, because that implies people that run gerbil run compute in a distributed fashion, it’s going to be all over the place. So we always dreamed that the world would have apps running everywhere, and they know that they need like, the central thing to manage it, just you know, from a, from a development and computer, henceforth, it’s just a really awesome promises. So that seems to be happening quite a bit more and more, we’re seeing more use cases where customers want to run in a distributed fashion. You know, the, the bread and butter use case for us is an enterprise that runs applications in you know, maybe a couple of data centers, and maybe two three different regions in Amazon, right. So it’s a it’s a relatively, you know, contained environment, maybe three, four or five locations, if you will. And of course, I mean, you know, it’s a problem it’s working or selling product to address it and we get Making a product better, more dashboards, more governance etc. And people people want it. In fact, that’s always a good sign in my limited experience, you know, when people start saying, you know, I need more visibility, I need more governance, you know, that usually means the product side to get to making his way up, you know, up and above, you know, in the organization, which actually, you know, means you have more, you know, visibility across the organization. And fortunately, you can make more money. But the idea that, you know, a number of partners working with and we’ll be making some announcements later this year with some very large companies who are building managed services for compute closer to endpoints, so compute at the edge. So think Kubernetes, running closer to endpoints, right? Think retail stores, think factories, etc. There’s a number of these really fascinating use cases that are come about in the last year. And definitely I believe COVID has accelerated them. Where you know, and it would really look at an actual example, use, you drive up to your nearby grocery store, and you pull up and you send a text, and then somebody shows up, and then you show them a QR code, and they know exactly who you are. You don’t don’t touch anything, and you put things. We’ve seen that in other places. But you know, I go to the the one nearby, they asked me, Are you Bob? Don’t look like a bob, right? I looked like it should be better. Apple can’t do that. By the way. Apple stores already do this, right? You You scan your QR code, and they know who you are. How do you get that technology to the next 5000 retailers? This is happening right now. It’s just fascinating. Because the maps and what’s happening with these retailers, as many of them have taken written these application. They have strong, strong engineers. Okay, I’m running it in one store now. Now I got to run this another 100. Stores are doing stores, what how is that going to happen? Am I going to how big is my team going to be when I’m done? If we can automate this, so a lot of large, those brothers see that problem. And they’re launching products to address this gap. And we happen to be working with a couple of them. And I’m just really excited about that.

Alexander Ferguson 12:16
Where can people go to learn more about what you guys are doing and what’s a good first step that they should take where they reach out.

Haseeb Budhani 12:24
So is the website. On the website, of course, you’ll find stuff about our product, and so on. But there’s also a documentation sites or DOCS, It’s open, please review it, see what the product actually does. I think most people who listen to a podcast like this or go to a website like ours, they already have, you know, a lot of clarity on the need, and the technical landscape. Right? So they are in a position to you know, really kind of look at a product like ours and go, Yeah, vice is different, right? I mean, I’ve heard this problem. I mean, we already have this other thing, why do I care about this? We we attempt to answer those questions on our website, and more importantly in our documentation, because our our initial touch point in the company is always a very technical audience, actually, we really enjoy that interaction. Because these are people who come in and you know, they’re not just going to sit there and going, Okay, let me look at this slide deck, right? They’re asking us questions, right? Tell me why this, how did you solve this problem? What do you mean by multi tenancy? What does that actually mean? Right? That’s what we have attempted to answer. And please do engage with our content. And of course, we’re happy to you know, set up demos as in when customers have interest.

Alexander Ferguson 13:36
That concludes the audio version of this episode. To see the original and more visit our UpTech Report YouTube channel. If you know a tech company, we should interview, you can nominate them at UpTech Or if you just prefer to listen, make sure you subscribe to this series on Apple podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app.



YouTube | LinkedIn | Twitter| Podcast

Getting the Game On | Sam Caucci at 1Huddle

Sibling Thrivalry | Crystal Huang at ProSky