The Silicon Review
In today’s digital era, the IT organizations equipped to see and fully understand their applications and infrastructure are well poised to find, fix, and prevent performance or cloud-related issues – often before they arise. However, without expert guidance and fine-tuned solutions, digital transformation and the promise of hybrid cloud infrastructures can create unforeseen complexities throughout the process. Some organizations are beginning to lean on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to quickly and efficiently understand their risks, areas needing optimization, and ways to save cost. As more organizations migrate their IT to the cloud, this visibility, discovery, and the ability to react to potential issues (often in real time) is critical.
Virtana is an expert in hybrid cloud infrastructure optimization – boasting a portfolio of solutions currently helping more than 260 customers with their cloud migrations and digital transformation. Virtana’s technology and services give innovative organizations (industry leaders including PayPal, Dell, Sprint and eTrade) the clarity they need to take control of their infrastructure, transform their hybrid cloud operations, and deliver a superior brand performance. Their product suite modernizes IT, supporting its agility while guaranteeing performance, minimizing risk, and reducing cost. It guides users through a journey to see their infrastructure from a single pane of glass, act on issues that arise, and transform processes to automate for the future. Virtana delivers the industry’s only real-time hybrid cloud optimization platform for mission-critical environments, from the data center to the public cloud. The VirtualWisdom, CloudWisdom, and WorkloadWisdom platforms provide unprecedented visibility into the performance, health, and utilization of hybrid IT infrastructure — empowering customers to guarantee the performance and availability of their mission-critical applications and proactively prevent application slowdowns and outages.
In conversation with John Gentry, CTO of Virtana
Q. With private cloud monitoring, what are the challenges that can be addressed by the enterprise?
We interpret private cloud as infrastructure from multiple vendors – compute, storage, and network – even if systems are converged, they still come from different parties. This means that any monitoring is delivered through different panes of glass, and all without context. So how do I get to a single source of truth when each domain is only trying to prove their own innocence when there’s an issue? A vendor-agnostic, cross-domain solution is the only way to get full visibility of your entire infrastructure. Companies need to de-couple how they find and resolve problems, proactively manage capacity, and automate workload placement from the underlying infrastructure supporting their applications, whether those are on-premises, in the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Enabling them to deliver the SLAs to the business consistently and independent of where those applications are running.
Q. What other cloud-based services can be monitored with your services?
We support AWS, Azure, and all the associated infrastructure and services, catching anomalies and bottlenecks before they affect applications and ultimately, end-users. We allow users to access all of their performance metrics via customizable dashboards, capture and navigate exhaustive metrics in a single UI, and leverage advanced anomaly detection powered by machine learning. We also enable customers to accurately manage the balance between performance, risk, and cost. The cloud providers have some level of monitoring data and cost data available but they are not incented to provide an easy way for customers to understand their performance or manage their costs.
Q. COVID-19 is one of the first business-impacting global events that we’ve experienced in decades. How is Virtana addressing the needs of customers with mission-critical applications during the current pandemic?
It has so many ripple effects, society broadly will be forever changed – patterns we see in terms of interaction with each other and business systems may not go back – this is our new normal. Remote work may be the new reality for the future. We have a financial customer that never had a WFH policy. Overnight they had to go 100% remote. They asked how we can help divert resources to beef up capacity to VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure). Since they had Virtana in place, IT infrastructure wasn’t their greatest challenge during this time, it was getting their employees set up to work at home.
This situation is bringing people together and shifting the focus of the business to helping partners or customers solve problems versus giving to get. It’s truly ‘how can I help you’ versus ‘show me the money’ – we’re seeing a resurgence of basic humanity. We have a prospect – a frontline healthcare company in the Bay Area at the forefront of testing – they’ve gone through the evaluation phase with us, we made it through the technical criteria, they said Virtana was right for their patient care solution, and we were in procurement when COVID hit. Our rep called to check in with them, and instead of trying to close the deal, he said, ‘we know you need this solution – I don’t care when you can buy this, just use it.’ Virtana is now deployed, and we’re helping them ensure the applications supporting the front line are highly available and performant.
Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched? Trajectories for the next five years?
We recently launched a new service called Cloud Migration Readiness (CMR). We heard from our customers that they are challenged in their journey to the cloud. Either their costs are out of control or they are experiencing performance issues.In many cases, they don’t know what applications are even suitable to move to the cloud, and they don’t know what to move together or what to keep on-premises. So, they were asking us for help, and we had the key product capabilities to meet their needs. CMR is a phased approach to discovery, dependency mapping, profiling and move-grouping, and then simulation and testing, before the migration, and monitoring the entire hybrid environment before, during, and after that process. In terms of the trajectory for the next five years, I would say that the future is a hybrid or multi-cloud world increasingly driven by software or applications. That is going to require a new approach to IT Operations and to the relationships between IT Ops, Dev Ops, and Application Development teams. We are focused on leveraging our core strengths in hybrid infrastructure management and AIOps to deliver a next-generation hybrid cloud optimization solution that will enable customers to take control of their new software-defined, hybrid cloud world.
Leader behind the success of Virtana
John Gentry is said to be the voice of the customers, driving product strategy through direct customer feedback from Virtana deployments. Gentry has held leadership roles at Virtana for the last 11 years. As the current CTO of Business Development, he is the bridge between customers and the development team, striving to understand the key IT industry trends that affect product strategy and strategic alliances. As CTO, he is bringing Virtana’s technology vision to the hybrid cloud market, sharing the possibility of true digital transformation through the understanding and adoption of AIOps. Prior to Virtana, Gentry gained close to 20 years of experience in Marketing, Product Marketing, Sales and Sales Engineering in the Open Systems and Storage ecosystem. He was a double major in Economics and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz and first entered the technology field as a marketing intern for Borland International, where he had the honor of being the first Product Marketing Manager for their Java Compiler. Since then he’s held various positions at mid-sized Systems Integrators, Start-up collocation and managed service providers, and established storage networking companies CNT, McData and QLogic.