Cloud Conversations: Interview with Ramesh Panuganty, MD, Cloud360 at Cognizant Technology Solutions

6th Dec 2012
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Enterprises today are finding it extremely challenging to manage the assets running across physical, virtual, Private Cloud and Public Cloud. They are looking for tools that helps them take control of the infrastructure through a single, unified environment. There is a huge opportunity that exists in the multi-cloud management tools market. Cloud360 from Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS) is one of the leading Cloud management platforms for enterprises.

I got a chance to interview Mr. Ramesh Panuganty, the founder and MD for Cloud360. Ramesh shares his views about the Cloud adoption in enterprises, the challenges they face and how their product addresses them.

Here is the short bio of Ramesh -

Ramesh Panuganty is the Founder & Managing Director of Cloud360 at Cognizant Technology Solutions. Ramesh is responsible for the development of the Cloud360 portfolio of solutions & services, to automate cloud deployments by integrating provisioning, monitoring and management using policy-based automation. He works closely with the executive management at Cognizant for long term growth, sustainability, and scalability of Cloud360 based offerings across geographies. Right from ideating to building the Cloud360 product, Ramesh has successfully turned the project into a multi-million dollar global business. An achiever of rapid growth on the SaaS products with sustainable profitability, he has hands on experience in defining strategy, product management, venture leadership, engineering world class software, running operations, and customer satisfaction across Fortune 1000 customers.

What is the motivation behind creating Cloud360?

Around 2008, I saw that the industry was moving towards fluid computing models, and IT services becoming available as as-a-service models, as a result of the Hypervisors and economies of scale. The word Cloud didn’t even exist at the time but the economics wouldn’t justify legacy infrastructure models in the long term. I submitted a business plan to our executive management to invest in building a solution to address the changing landscape at customer organizations, help retain their investments, and create new modes of infrastructure delivery. Our management had a similar long term goal and approved the funding for the venture.

How is this designed to leverage Cognizant’s strength in enterprise consulting space? Can customers deploy Cloud360 without signing up for services?

Cloud360 is built as both a platform and an offering that can be deployed on-premise or offered as a SaaS service to meet a variety of enterprise customer needs. It inherently addresses the problems of adding compliance, governance of cloud platforms and makes the transformation non-disruptive. The net result of being able to enforce enterprise IT standards across production, development, and test environments and enabling agile business delivery helps us in leveraging this for any of the customers. The comprehensive, service-oriented cloud management platform integrates consulting, professional and IT services to fundamentally transform a client’s environment.

What is the technical architecture of Cloud360?

We have built an architecture to ensure application SLA adherence even when the network connectivity fails between the multi-tenant SaaS platform of Cloud360 and the application’s cloud infrastructure. This architecture helps us with hybrid cloud infrastructures and also supports multi-tenant architectures. The monitoring is done in both agent-based and agent-less mechanism at various components of application stack. The entire Cloud360 platform is built on the open-architecture except for the agents that are specific to commercial platforms. We have a home grown automation language that does the automation for provisioning, placement and auto remediation. The web application is built for fluidity that works across browser platforms, resolutions and client operating systems.

Do you complement or compete with existing orchestration engines like Microsoft System Center and VMware vCenter?

We complement the existing orchestration engines for various hypervisor platforms, and integrate with their APIs. We offer client-facing Self-Service Portal to provision, manage, automate, monitor and meter application environments across various infrastructure and cloud services.

It is natural to expect any of our customers to already have several IT systems including provisioning/deployments platforms, and we do have an integration layer to work with some of the popular systems. This integration layer is built to align with our philosophy of non-disruptive cloud enablement.

How do you enable hybrid scenarios for the enterprises?

Hybrid infrastructure environments are natural for any enterprise these days to get benefited from the economics of scale. We support these mixed environments across applications, or even on a single application. Network latencies could be a challenge for an application if not designed for this style of operations, otherwise – a single pane of glass to manage the applications for provisioning and automation help achieving hybrid scenarios.

Do you support cloud bursting? Is there a need for moving workloads back and forth between Private and Public Clouds?

Yes, we support cloud bursting and are managing this use-case for some of our current customers as well. If the application is highly elastic that scales up massively for part of the day or month, the cloud bursting makes a natural fitment for these. The typical workloads that encounter these scenarios are the ones that do number crunching during business hours, or provide consumer services, which face most traffic in the evening hours. There are also scenarios where batch-style data analysis must be done at night times before the business opens in the morning.

Which markets are you focused on? How do you see the APAC/India markets for Cloud360 when compared to America and Europe?

Till now, Cloud360 has successfully redefined the way top enterprises across industries operate in the cloud in North America, UK & Europe. The markets in APAC/India/Australia/Latin America are getting pretty matured and are also very open to public cloud adoption. We are now looking into these markets.

Tell us about your existing customers. Who are using Cloud360?

Cloud360 has been implemented in multiple customer engagements across Production, Development and Test environments.

For a Pharmaceutical major, Cloud360 enabled faster deployments of applications by providing on-demand, self-service provisioning, and management of application development, and test environments.

For an Internet search firm that required a public cloud-based advertising services platform in only six weeks, the Cloud360 team led with a flexible architecture design that allowed application development, testing, and proof-of-concept on the cloud, monitoring of every failure point, including threads and concurrency against critical response parameters.

Cloud360 helped a leading U.K. university roll out an application, scaling the environment, meant to handle 200 users, to 12,000 users in a very short time, with no people involvement and no compromise on the page load SLAs. For a leading U.S. insurance major that wanted to host its development and test environments on a public cloud environment, Cloud360 monitored the consumption across the various environments, suggested an optimized usage scenario and eventually reduced the provisioning timelines from months to minutes with transparency on the usage metrics.

What’s your view about Cloud interoperability and standardization?

Interoperability & standardization are pretty fragmented now with everyone having their own standards (machine images, APIs, list of possible operations, coverage, or even the simple naming conventions). I do not think there will ever be a single standard for obvious reasons. What in reality might matter the most is what is relevant for the applications – in terms of getting access to memory, CPU, system services like network, firewall, load balancing, emails, DNS, IP ranges, etc. If standards can come in such a way that enables a service-based access for these – it would help developers.

Cloud360 has brought a major business impact to its customers by enabling them to view their Cloud deployments through a single pane. The enterprises are now managing all types of Cloud application deployments – Public, Private and Hybrid – seamlessly using Cloud360 and are able to easily interoperate between them.

Cloud360 offers a self-service portal, scripting interfaces and web services for interoperability. With role-based authorizations, the users can login to configure or provision the applications or services, automate the monitoring and event handling.

What is the roadmap of Cloud360?

We, at Cognizant, have planned significant investments and a focused roadmap for Cloud360. The roadmap would be in terms of increasing our product features for application management, supporting broader range of cloud services, increasing our integration points with other ecosystem elements, increasing our automation, and increasing our service models or use-case scenarios.

We thank Ramesh for sharing his views with our readers!

- Janakiram MSV, Chief Editor, CloudStory.in

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