With CoreStack, enterprises can work across multiple cloud providers with minimum risks and increased reliability, all the while optimising overall costs.
First, there was the 'cloud'. As cloud computing gained popularity, everyone - from large enterprises and startups to SMBs - flocked to this technology. Then came the service providers.
Over the last 10-odd years that this technology has been around, businesses have been spoilt for choice when it comes to vendors. And as we move to a multi-cloud architecture, management of cloud services across multiple service providers has become one of the main challenges.
This Seattle and Bengaluru based cloud governance startup helps companies work with multiple vendors. It offers a single system that can track pricing and create policies to empower in-house IT teams in saving business expenses.
The beginning of the cloud journey
It started with the four co-founders leaving their long-standing corporate careers to start a multi-cloud governance startup. Ezhilarasan Natarajan (Ez), Thiruvalluvar NB (Thiru), Sabapathy A (Saba) and KK Narayanan (KK) created Cloudenablers in 2015 in stealth mode and began researching a group of cloud-based businesses. They were already working on building cloud and related services since 2007.
As these technologies started gaining popularity, they focussed on making them easy to consume, especially for enterprises that were going from using traditional infrastructures to new generation technologies.
The co-founders of Cloudenablers believed that enterprises would realise the flexibility and benefits of cloud computing only if there was a solution that allowed them to optimise and use their resources without compromising on corporate policies and compliances. Cloudenablers thus launched its product CoreStack in 2016 as a separate startup.
CoreStack is spearheaded by Ez who has 20 years of experience in delivering business solutions across multiple industry segments. Ez has worked in key management positions for several technology companies including Texas Instruments, JDA (formerly i2Technologies), Mindtree, Capgemini Group and Alcatel-Lucent.
“We are helping customers who are using cloud and struggling with problems like unpredictable bills, a sprawl of ungoverned services, lengthy cycles to provision R&D environments for engineering teams, ad-hoc and very tactical approach to audits and compliance,” says Ez.
CoreStack solves these problems by making governance autonomous, intelligent, and transparent. It helps drive up efficiencies, minimise overall risks and increase reliability while optimising costs.
With newer technologies like big data, IoT and analytics becoming more important to retain customers and grow, companies are starting to adopt multi-provider hybrid architectures, and the cloud has become an indispensable component when it comes to digital transformation.
According to Oracle CEO Marc Hurd, the cloud is here to stay with about 80 percent of all workload moving to the cloud by 2025. “This also brings in new complexities and security risks. Without a well-thought governance strategy, costs can rise rapidly. This is where we add significant value and success to our customers,” says Ez.
The CoreStack platform governs the four critical components of the cloud – Ops, Cost, Compliance and Consumption, and focusses on building everything the cloud-native way.
“We do not push yet another tool into an enterprise. Instead, we help them use their existing cloud services and tools more effectively by on-boarding them and building end to end automation,” he adds.
CoreStack’s first customer was a large mobile service provider which had a hybrid cloud setup using Open Stack with capacity spill-over to the public cloud.
The project involved several challenges including increased capex and opex bills, poor utilisation, lack of control on governing usage and no optimal utilisation of its data centre and public cloud resources. CoreStack helped the company achieve increased productivity and cost savings by allowing it to track and provision consumption. Within two months, the customer was willing to pay for the platform and requested for additional capabilities.
Until it came out of stealth mode, the company was bootstrapped, and the founders had invested $2 million before taking any angel investments. Recently, it closed funding led by Z5 Capital with participation from prominent Seattle and Bay Area investors and strategic partners. This round comes after a round of funding from angel investors.
Building an agnostic platform with cloud-native capabilities and ensuring it to be friction-free when it came to governance was a major challenge for the company.
“Our razor focus is to grow 5x-8x over next 12-24 months. We understand that building strategic partnerships is pivotal for growth. Hence, we are on our way to build a solid partner based growth ecosystem,” says Ez.
CoreStack is positioned to meet the growing demand for its governance platform in the enterprise sector. The company plans to focus on healthcare, financial services, public sector and education verticals. It also plans to accelerate sales, invest in new product capabilities, grow its operational support team, and expand its market reach.
Ez claims the company has 35 enterprise customers spread across multiple countries and industry verticals. CoreStack competes with Diligent and IBM and was part of the TiE-Seattle and TiE-Mumbai delegation in October.
Research firm Gartner expects the top 10 providers to account for nearly 70 percent of the IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) market by 2021, up from 50 percent in 2016.
"The increasing dominance of the hyperscale IaaS providers creates both enormous opportunities and challenges for end users and other market participants," says Sid Nag, Research Director at Gartner.
"While it enables efficiencies and cost benefits, organisations need to be cautious about IaaS providers potentially gaining unchecked influence over customers and the market. In response to multi-cloud adoption trends, organisations will increasingly demand a simpler way to move workloads, applications and data across providers' IaaS offerings without penalties,” he adds.