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DC Startup Divvycloud Makes Managing The Cloud Easy

As enterprises large a small continue to grow, IT departments are faced with new challenges. How can they manage their clouds? Are they making maximum use of their cloud's capabilities? How can they leverage their cloud deployments to reduce costs?

As enterprises large a small continue to grow, IT departments are faced with new challenges. How can they manage their clouds? Are they making maximum use of their cloud's capabilities? How can they leverage their cloud deployments to reduce costs? These are critical issues for IT to answer, as the entire point of moving to the cloud is to make managing a company's IT infrastructure more easily and at lower costs. Luckily, for IT specialists who are trying to figure out the asnwers to these questions, Washington, DC-based startup Divvycloud has some answers for them. A graduate from B2B-focused accelerator Accelerprise's program, Divvycloud has already raised two rounds of funding and is quickly achieving traction in the market. Joining us today is one of Divvycloud's founders Brian Johnson.   

IT Specialist: Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. To start with, can you provide some brief background on who the founders of Divvycloud are and what are your backgrounds?

Brian: The two founders are myself and my colleague Chris DeRamus. Both Chris and I come from the large gaming company Electronic Arts. At EA, we ran the operations for their large multi-player games online. We managed several data centers, thousands of severs and a large engineering team. Many of these games had hundreds of thousands are even millions of players all playing at one time, so it was a huge operational IT challenge.

IT Specialist: What was your team’s inspiration for founding Divvycloud?

Brian: When the cloud first began to pique IT departments’ interest with the advent of Amazon, Chris and I looked for ways to leverage the cloud at EA. We concluded that by moving our legacy products to the cloud, we could save money and improve performance.

We gained a huge amount of experience doing this, but we did discover some downsides of using the Amazon cloud. First, it would go down at least a couple of times a year, costing EA hundreds and thousands of dollars.

We also, interestingly enough, discovered that the cost savings were not what we anticipated. The virtualized power of the Amazon cloud was not as much as our data centers, and hence we frequently needed to spin up way more server power on the Amazon cloud than.

Finally, cybersecurity was a constant concern, as we were always concerned we would wake up one morning and that EA would have suffered a massive compromise.

With that background, we began to think about how to create a solution for enterprise IT departments that would help them manage and control all of their various cloud services from a single, easy to use interface. The idea was to provide IT departments with comprehensive visibility across their cloud computing servers – including the ability to see potential breaches in real time – as well as to track costs and usage so that IT departments would get the maximum cost-effectiveness from their cloud services.

IT Specialist: What is your current view of the global cloud market, and what problems was Divvycloud created to help solve?

Brian: One of the major trends we are seeing is the increasing use of hybrid cloud architectures, where IT departments employ both public and private clouds. As part of this trend, we are also seeing companies start to use multiple cloud vendors across their enterprise. Finally, as many larger enterprises move to the cloud, they are managing cloud deployments across multiple regions and time zones. As I understand you focus on multi-cloud management – can you explain what this means? Also, is it a real trend within the enterprise that IT departments are managing multiple clouds?

IT Specialist: It looks like you allow for three main functions, cloud management; cloud tracking; cloud auditing. Can you explain in practice what each of these three things mean?

Brian: Absolutely. Let me go over each of these in turn:

Cloud Management: Divvycloud’s solution provides a single point of contact to manage all of IT’s cloud resources. As I noted above, enterprises today may be running multiple cloud products from multiple cloud vendors. Each of these different vendors have their own management platform, and maintaining control and visibility of all cloud services across the enterprise is difficult since they each have separate management tool sets.

DivvyCloud provides complete configuration management capabilities across multiple cloud platforms and hypervisors, all from a single easy to use tool. This single point of control means IT now can have a comprehensive view of change and visibility across their entire enterprise.

Cloud Tracking: The cloud tracking function allows you to closely watch how you’re spending your money. The cloud has endless availability, and unlike with on-prem data centers, there are no limits to how large you can scale. Our cloud tracking capability allows you to get key intelligence into your spending across all your different cloud accounts and instantly see how those hourly charges impact your yearly spending.

We also have a really neat function called “Cost Simulation”. Our solutions allows IT professionals to simulate different cloud services and functions, for example how scaling up or down affects your operational spending. Rather than trialing different services and then deciding, this cloud simulation function allows you to understand in advance the affect of potential scaling up or down.  For example, say you want to convert your AWS systems to reserved instances? Our Cost Simulation function can show you how much you’d save. And likewise, what the additional costs would be to scale up additional servers.

Cloud Security: I think just about every IT pro I’ve spoken with has this nightmare where they wake up and discover there cloud service has been breached. I know this was my great fear when I first started moving to the Amazon cloud when I was with EA.

From the perspective of the IT department, one of the risks as your enterprise adopts the cloud is so-called “shadow IT.” The easy availability of cloud services is a wonderful thing, but now anyone in your company with a credit card can spin up their own Amazon cloud service. How do manage this?

DivvyCloud provides role-based access control (RBAC) across multiple cloud management platforms from a single tool and interface. DivvyCloud enables administrators and managers to gain visibility and accountability of changes across their enterprise, and our solution allows IT cloud managers to see unusual activity that might indicate a breach has occurred.

IT Specialist: What are the different types of cloud computing vendors you support – I assume Amazon of course but could you list the others?

Brian: Sure, let me outline these:

For public clouds we support Amazon Web Services (EC2/VPC) and Rackspace Next Generation CloudServers. For private clouds we support OpenStack and Eucalyptus.

We are also actively working on providing compatibility with other public/private cloud vendors and should have additional support in the near future.

IT Specialist: Turning to your interface, how does it compare to the cloud vendors themselves, for example, Amazon’s?

We focus on making our interface fun and easy to work with. The Amazon interface might be fine when you have 100 servers, but what happens when you grow to several hundred or even thousands, especially if they are spread out across multiple regions and accounts? Then things can get dicey.

For example, you obviously have to switch between interfaces if you manage multiple vendors, or even when you switch between geographic region with the same vendor. DivvyCloud solves this pain point for enterprise IT specialists by allowing everything to be controlled from a single interface. And if you talk to our customers, you’ll hear that the DivvyCloud tool is much easier to use than Amazon’s interface.

IT Specialist: Since our core audience are enterprise IT specialists, what would you sum up as the value proposition of Divvycloud to them?

Brian: We simplify the lives of enterprise IT professionals by allowing them to manage all of their cloud services across multiple vendors from a single interface. This helps companies control costs and take back control of their clouds for a better security posture.

IT Specialist: Turning now to Divvycloud at the corporate level, how has the response in the market been to yur technology?

Brian: On the whole it’s been excellent. We’ve got a number of customers using our technology. One I am free to mention is my old company Electronic Arts.

IT Specialist: Finally, for customers who may be interested in working with Divvycloud and/or learning more and/or want to do a trial within their organization, what is the best way to interface with you? 

Brian: We are happy to answer any and all questions. For customers who want to trial DivvyCloud’s technology, they can go to our site and download our solution.

IT Specialist: Thank you for taking the time to be with us today Brian, and best of luck going forward.

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