[YSTV] In Conversation with Daniel O'Prey, Founder and CEO of MadeiraCloud
Wednesday November 14, 2012,
5 min Read
MadeiraCloud brings the familiar concept of an IDE to cloud management. It is a Visual Integrated Management Environment (VIME) for cloud applications which offers a powerful, visual, extendable, integrated solution to managing infrastructure resources. Their propriety WYSIWYG builder lets users drag-and-drop resources to a canvas and connect them visually to configure the network.
YourStory.in caught up with Daniel O'Prey who is the CEO & Founder of MadeiraCloud. After studying Business Management and Information Management at the University of Sheffield, UK. Daniel worked as an independent developer and designer in London and New York, heading the development of a cloud based SIM card management portal for a leading European MVNO and acting as an IT consultant to Telecoms SMBs.
In this interview, Daniel gives us a unique insight into MadeiraCloud's offering, its position in the cloud visualization market and the dynamics of working with an international team.
YS: How would you describe Madeira in brief?
Dan: MadeiraCloud is a visual management platform for cloud infrastructure. When you are launching a new application on the cloud, you will typically use a diagramming tool like Microsoft Visio and then go across to a provisioning tool like the AWS Console or command line and create the resources to match the architectural design diagram. The first step of what Madeira does is combing these two in to one easy to use package. Our unique drag-and-drop data-center designer is specialized for AWS and allows you to provision the entire diagram in just one click.
YS: Tell us a little about the team at Madeira Cloud.
Dan: My co-founder and our CTO, Zhao Peng, has been involved in the cloud/grid/distributed computing space for about 9 years now. At University he was working on combining grid and Xen to create IaaS back in 2003, but unfortunately his professor told him not to pursue it! He then went on to work for Platform Computing here in Beijing, then on to lead China Mobile's Big Cloud IaaS project, which he left to co-found MadeiraCloud with myself.
So Peng's the real technical brains behind the operation and I am more on the front facing side. Although I worked as a developer creating a cloud based SIM card management platform for a leading European mobile virtual network operator, I actually studied Business Management at University and that is my passion. I originally came to China to explore the opportunities for a cloud startup in the domestic market, but after meeting Peng and hearing his initial idea for what is now Madeira I quickly decided that it had a lot more potential than anything for the Chinese market at this stage.
YS: How did you settle upon the pricing of your services?
Dan: We are actually in our public beta stage now (launched in June), so we do not have a published pricing plan at the moment. We will be a freemium product once we launch, with tiered pricing plans based on the numbers of resource usage. We felt that it was important to offer a freemium solution with the rise of "Shadow IT" we are seeing less of top down directives on what tools to use and more of the end users actually finding the best SaaS tool for the job and just using it. This allows anyone to get value from our product for small projects and make internal recommendations to purchase company plans, which will give an overview of the whole of the organisation to CIOs.
YS: What are your views on competition in the market? Are there others and do you foresee someone coming up?
Dan: There are a couple of small companies doing a very similar thing to us, but we believe we've out executed them and are the leader in this space. Profit Bricks provide a data center designer similar to ours, but you can only use it to manage their infrastructure cloud, whereas we want to be vendor neutral and support multi-cloud management. The idea of designing and deploying to multiple public and private clouds is the goal, not simply being a management console replacement. It's still early days for the cloud in general, especially for our segment, so I'm sure there will be lots of new entrants to come but we have the first mover advantage.
YS: How do you handle the dynamics between a UK-Chinese co-founding team?
Dan: It's certainly not as hard as I imagined it would have been, but I've still got a lot to learn about doing business in China. To be honest, Peng is quite Western when it comes to business, and speaks his mind so we are always on the same page. The leading cause of failure in start-ups is arguments between the founders within the first year. We've made it to just over a year now, and although we had a few, there was no major disagreements. Being old civilizations, I think there is actually quite a lot in common culturally between China and the UK. Overall, I think we balance each other's differences out and it adds to the stability of the team.
YS: What are your views on India as a market?
Dan: I have lived in China for over 2 years and I still don't know enough to truly comment, so I don't feel I am well placed to make an informed opinion on India. From the little I do know, India has some great strengths in language, international connections, and particularly software development, but also a lot of problems with growth and corruption. I see little point in comparing India and China, they are both growing and both will play more of an international role in decades to come, and should take advantages of the shift of power from the West to Asia and promote trade between the two rather than seeing each other as competitors.
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