An interview with Antonio Piraino, CTO of ScienceLogic
CTO of ScienceLogic
HostReview had to opportunity to interview Antonio Piraino, CTO of ScienceLogic. He talks about how the technology and industry disruptions created by the cloud are creating new management challenges and reshaping the management vendor landscape. He also gives some predictions on what to watch out for in 2012. Enjoy the interview!
Mr. Antonio Piraino, recently you have occupied the position of CTO. Could you please tell more about yourself and your vision for ScienceLogic?
Before joining ScienceLogic, I served as vice president and research director at Tier1 Research, a division of The 451 Group, where I focused on data center, hosting and cloud computing technology. Prior to becoming an analyst, I spent many years in IT, working for enterprises and service providers in the U.S. and abroad, with stints at Telecom Italia, China Telecom, Derivco, BCE Teleglobe and Akamai.
At ScienceLogic, my goal is to guide the IT operations and cloud management vision and product strategy as well elevate the company’s influence with service provider, enterprise and federal customers. I aim to serve as a catalyst to advise customers about how to use our product to rapidly introduce new service offerings and revenue streams (increasing topline growth) whilereducing operational costs.
What is your preferred management style?
I like seeing employees express themselves in whatever way that they are comfortable, whether it is manifested verbally, though programmatic code or even artistically. The point is that ideas, and even friction, are needed in order to ensure that future distractions are eliminated and a culture is created where everyone is bought into not only the same product initiatives, but also the same target market mindset. If it hasn’t been aired, it remains corked up in the dissatisfaction bottle. Since I have arrived at ScienceLogic, I have been encouraging the sharing of practical market experience too, so that we’re confident that we’re solving real world problems, and to ensure everyone has a vested ownership in our strategic direction.
A couple weeks after your appointment, ScienceLogic announced it has opened an office in Austin, Texas. What are your future plans for expansion?
ScienceLogic has made a significant investment in personnel over the last year and a half to drive growth, hiring 46 people in 2011 alone, and the expansion into Austin is an example of that. Although we have centralized our core development activity in the D.C. area, our Austin office functions as our sales and marketing hub, and we have 17 employees in that office currently. Our commercial plans will see us further expand across North America and acrossEMEA from our UK regional hub.
ScienceLogic had a banner year in 2011, increasing revenue growth 34% over 2010 and acquiring more new customers in 2011 than at any time in our history (an increase of 30%). From 2004 through 2011, ScienceLogic’s revenue grew at a compound annual growth rate of 60%, and the company had sales order compound annual growth of 64%.
What is your vision for the cloud computing future and what role ScienceLogic will play in it?
The technology and industry disruptions created by the cloud are creating new management challenges and reshaping the management vendor landscape. Incumbent vendors, who must retool their products, will struggle to compete with emerging, more nimble providers with modern solutions designed for the new paradigm. Tools designed in a different era, when all managed resources were on premises and connected by an internal network, will become irrelevant and obsolete. Management frameworks and point products will need to be augmented and packaged with new virtualization and cloud tools, creating even more management complexity.
Providers need a better way forward; a different management approach that fulfills our stated mission of being a change agent to help customers simplify and better run their IT operations and services.
ScienceLogic is well positioned for the flood of private cloud migrations that will occur over the next five years, with a management platform that is already proven to deliver and manage both data center and cloud-based infrastructures and applications in service provider and enterprise production environments. Myriad startups focus only on one particular management function such as monitoring or provisioning. The established vendors are trying to retrofit, reposition and rebrand their frameworks and point products for the cloud. With deep roots in the service provider industry, ScienceLogic designed its award-winning management platform from day one to support IT operationsacross distributed IT infrastructures.
What are the key benefits ScienceLogic’s platform provides for enterprise and service provider businesses?
The ScienceLogic platform is a modern technology re-architected just three years ago to manage highly virtualized and cloud-based infrastructures. The product handles the scale, security, automation and high availability needed to run today’s complex IT environments and manage any mix of physical, virtual and cloud resources as one entity. For hosting providers in particular, ScienceLogic provides a fully multi-tenant, scalable and integrated IT operations and cloud management platform that helps them deliver differentiated services, accelerate quote to cash, avoid embarrassing and costly service outages, and reduce customer churn.
The ScienceLogic platform is a single solution offering pre-integrated management functions that work seamlessly across the spectrum of IT operations. Instead of implementing multiple solutions that create or reinforce operational and data silos, and can take months or even years to deploy, the ScienceLogic platform is delivered in an appliance model that simplifies data center andcloud management in a single, easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy solution. It provides a holistic view of computing assets wherever they are – in data centers, remote and mobile assets, or public, private and hybrid clouds.
ScienceLogic unites and correlates critical IT operations and dynamic cloud management functions such as performance, fault, availability, asset,service desk, automation, and event management. Facilitated by a centralized management database and a single code base, ScienceLogic technology provides a constantly updated picture of service delivery across these various management disciplines to maintain consistent end user service levels and enable more strategic decisions in support of the business.
In addition, an auto-discovery process, rich API, and built-in monitoring templates enable the ScienceLogic platform to support multiple vendors and platforms out of the box. This lets customers collect data on and manage virtually any off-the-shelf or custom-built application, component, or service in an evolving IT infrastructure, all from a single product. Auto-application of the monitoring templates means the ScienceLogic platform can monitor fluid infrastructure components such as vMotion that can negatively impact performance.
ScienceLogic’s automation capabilities are also a key strength, providing the ability to manage the provisioning of monitoring without human intervention as part of the standard workflow, such as when customers provision a new virtual machine. This built-in automation along with the rich API enables easy integration with the orchestration/provisioning and back-end systems, such as billing, needed to facilitate self-service computing.
What are the main benefits of the ScienceLogic platform with its rich, open API over other cloud monitoring solutions?
ScienceLogic provides a simple, powerful way to customize and automate data center and private cloud monitoring.
Its open APIs use REST web services to put the power in the hands of an organization’s engineers to integrate the ScienceLogic platform with other management applications, such as provisioning tools, and business systems, like billing systems, which helps better align IT with the business.
The use of REST eliminates functionality and usability issues. The APIs are self-documenting and easy to use – they are usable by applications written in any modern programming language (Java, Python, PHP, etc.). In addition, the ScienceLogic API supports multiple languages, so engineers can choose which one they use to call it.
Are there any other comparable products currently offered by competitors?
ScienceLogic is an alternative to ‘Big 4’ framework solutions, point tools and open source solutions that either cannot efficiently integrate all their acquired products together into a single, workable solution or scale to manage distributed computing environments.
In your opinion, what were the defining characteristics of 2011 in terms of business and technology trends?
It’s undeniable that cloud computing was one of the biggest business and technology trends of 2011. We have finally reached the point of acceptance that cloud computing is real and here to stay. In 2011 executives spent much of the year considering the cloud’s financial and productivity benefits versus continuing to perform all IT functions in-house, and recognized that in order to enable growth, efficiency and greater scalability of their business, cloud computing is becoming a highly leverageable model. And I say model purposefully, since it is a consumption model defined by resource efficiency. IT is an enablement of more efficient business productivity using a series of modern technology functions together, rather than any one point product like virtualization, to save the day. From a higher level, it also means that outsourcing of IT infrastructure, and affiliated management, is reaching the point of no return, and accelerating vis a vis the broader IT market.
What are the hottest and upcoming cloud trends? Share with our readers your prediction on what to watch out for in 2012?
As IT budgets continue to face pressure in 2012, enterprises will leverage external service providers and cloud computing to save capital expenditure. The cloud’s greatest promise is its ability to help organizations improve their business models and productivity. In 2012, service providers will begin to provide differentiated and resilient offerings that will benefit the enterprise IT market as a whole.
In 2012 we will see:
New Levels of Cloud Management – In 2011, cloud providers concentrated on creating or emulating the ‘top’ cloud computing platforms from an infrastructure, self-service and pricing perspective. In 2012, the opportunity for cloud providers and IT cloud system administrators will be tackling visibility and control of those increasingly expansive, decentralized and fluid virtual environments. Best of breed monitoring, management and instrumentation will be the focus in 2012.
Cloud Wars – In 2012, cloud computing will mature and consumer cloud environments at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Salesforce.com will begin competing for consumer and business dollars. The resulting war will pull in the managed hosting and data center providers as well as smaller players, but they won’t be able to compete on pure muscle and price alone – they will need to identify niche markets where they can deliver new services. The cloud war will lead to more holistic and innovative cloud solutions and differentiated service catalogs.
The Giffen Good Phenomenon – Cloud computing will defy the laws of demand in 2012, exhibiting the characteristics of a modern-day Giffen good. The price elasticity of demand for a Giffen good is positive, meaning that as the price goes up, demand goes up as well. Cloud computing – with its benefits of elasticity and agility – will increasingly become an essential good in the coming year, with businesses willing to spend a larger proportion of their IT budgets on cloud-based resources.
Operational Business Intelligence – The concept of Big Data and business analytics are among the fastest growing uses for cloud computing resources in 2011 and beyond. This data is being leveraged by executives to make smarter decisions to drive their top line; and IT infrastructure yields data and analytics that can help improve the bottom line as well. The ability to make intelligent decisions, especially around IT operations, will become more central to allbusiness operations.
What news can we expect from your company in the coming months?
ScienceLogic will continue to improve upon its IT operations and cloud management capabilities, especially for public and private cloud environments. As companies look to reduce costs and improve the top line, ScienceLogic is strongly positioned to alleviate both pressure points as well as empower service providers to create new business services.
For example, enterprise IT teams and service providers are wrestling with implementing, managing, and optimizing video conferencing, citing challenges including gaining visibility into performance and availability across multi-vendor environments, bandwidth capacity needs, and troubleshooting. These are all challenges that will continue to grow in 2012.
Amidst that landscape, ScienceLogic will soon be in a position to help IT managers and managed service providers address these challenges and provide better video collaboration service delivery.