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Top Considerations for IT Leaders in 2020 and Beyond – The Six Five Insiders Edition
by Daniel Newman | June 2, 2020

On this episode of The Six Five – Insiders Edition hosts Daniel Newman and Patrick Moorhead welcome Clumio CEO Poojan Kumar to discuss top considerations for IT leaders in 2020 as well as new announcements from Clumio.

In the conversation, Daniel, Patrick and Poojan explored data’s changing role in business. Data no longer just lives in a data center. Thanks to cloud and SaaS applications, data is everywhere. In some cases, data is crucial to business operations. In other cases, data truly is the business. Businesses need to know where the data is at all times and how to access it. And then they have to make sure, in case of a cyber security attack, that the data is secure.

The new economics of IT. Poojan shared thoughts on how cloud is changing the economics of IT specifically moving to from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure. Cloud is a very expensive proposition if you don’t know how to work it. Companies can be paying for storage, compute, and network — this is where moving to a cloud native solution can help. Building in the cloud provides a better opportunity to control expenses and take advantage of cloud economics.

Building on application deployment speed, iterations, and time to value. Poojan, Daniel, and Patrick discussed how building and running in the cloud can allow continuous innovation and development. Clumio has developers constantly working on updates to applications that get pushed live to customers once a week. Customers only have to refresh the application to see the difference.

Implications of SaaS applications on data protection. The trio also discussed how spread out data actually is now in an organization. Most orgs have public clouds, multiple SaaS applications, and maybe a private cloud too. We’ve seen greater productivity from all of these apps, but data protection has become even more challenging. Fragmented back-ups and current data protection strategies won’t cut it anymore. Clumio’s cloud native strategy combines all data into one place that’s easy to view and back up — a game changer for CIO’s everywhere.

Cloud security and compliance. Poojan shared thoughts on Clumio’s take on security and compliance issues for data storage in the cloud. Most companies today have built strategies to comply with the GDPR and CCPA. In specific industries you have HIPAA and PCI compliance standards that need to be met. Clumio has built in encryption features and key management features that secure data no matter where it is — in the cloud or in flight.

Introducing Clumio’s RDS Support. Lastly, Poojan shared that Clumio is introducing support for RDS. Clumio has developed a new service that will essentially add a layer of protection and compliance to the data in a database like AWS. Clumio is really showing signs and promise of a data management service in the public cloud — a really exciting prospect for the future. You can learn more about this launch from Clumio’s website.

Be sure to listen to the full episode and while you’re at it hit subscribe so you never miss an episode of The Six Five.

Disclaimer: The Six Five Insiders Podcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this podcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

This podcast was sponsored by Clumio.

Transcript:

Daniel Newman: Welcome to The Six Five Insider’s Edition. I’m your host today Daniel Newman, Principal Analyst at Futurum Research joined by my always esteemed cohost, Patrick Moorhead. Patrick, how you doing today?

Patrick Moorhead: It’s going great. Last few weeks have been really crazy and there’s a lot of downsides to that in being in the middle of a global pandemic, but I’m typically on the road or in airports 45 weeks a year. So I’m actually in town now. I don’t even know what to do with myself. I get to see my daughter home from college, my high school son is at home doing school. And I realized my wife actually still likes me, even though I’m home.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, that’s going to be tested over the next several months. I heard a joke somebody said to me, along the way is “There’s going to be a rise in divorces and a whole bunch of babies born in December”. So we’re going to have to see how this all plays out, but for everyone out there depending on when you’re listening to the show because we know the podcast, people tend to subscribe and listen current but sometimes you’re getting this in a rears or you’re hearing this a few months back.

We are at the end of March 2020 and we are among unprecedented times right now with the COVID-19 pandemic that has basically grounded the workforce in many parts of the world and is completely shifted the trajectory of our everyday lives and has had a major influence on the tech industry and so we’re really excited about this particular podcast. We’re excited to have the chance to have Poojan Kumar. And Poojan is the CEO of Clumio, a fast rising startup in the Silicon Valley in the cloud storage space. But I won’t actually take any more of his thunder because I want to give the chance for Poojan to jump onto the show and introduce himself. So Poojan, welcome to The Six Five Insider’s Edition.

Poojan Kumar: Thank you, Daniel. Thank you, Patrick. Excited to be here. My name is Poojan Kumar, I’m the co-founder and CEO for Clumio. I’ve been doing enterprise products for the last 20 plus years. Started my career in Oracle, built Excel data for Oracle and spent some time at VMware at a startup before this called PernixData. Then got acquired by Nutanix, spent some time in Nutanix and then jump started Clumio about two years ago at this point to really go and build a cloud company. So excited to be here.

Daniel Newman: Yeah. Excited to have you. And we’ve had a few chances to talk offline and I always really enjoy the entrepreneurial spirit. Both Pat and I are entrepreneurs, have had different stints in our careers of working for companies and starting companies and actually doing both and always appreciate those early days. And you’ve had some really interesting exits. Those companies you mentioned like Nutanix, that was a really quick rising company and you had a big part of it and here you are doing it all over again. So definitely excited to have you to do that.

So before we jump into the topic at hand, because we want to learn more about what Clumio is doing. When we talked offline the other day, you were sharing a little bit about what is Clumio is doing during this pandemic. How you guys have immobilized the company. I think everyone out there is interested and we’ve talked to some big companies, we’ve talked to some smaller and some startup companies and you being in that startup, a quick growing C-series. Talk a little bit about how the company went from every day in office to where you are today and how’s everyone feeling?

Poojan Kumar: Yeah, I think it’s been a big change. And again from Friday to Monday, suddenly from everybody in the office to everybody working from home. And then as a startup, we typically, when we talk to candidates we tell people that, “Okay, this is not your typical midsize to a big company. We do expect you to come in the office every day”. Obviously there’s some exceptions here and there, but we do expect you to come every day and then that face to face interaction. All of that is very, very important. And then suddenly you go from that to saying, “Okay guys, we have to figure this out. You’re going to be working from home.”

So it’s been a little bit of adjusting period for everybody, as you can imagine. But I think the big thing here is that ultimately since we are a cloud company and the fact that you have access to all kinds of collaboration tools, like we use Zoom like we are using right now, we use Slack. You do all of these things and we have a bunch of SAS tools for other collaboration. All of our development is in the cloud.

So honestly speaking, I think fundamentally it’s very amenable for everybody to be working from home. Now of course, one thing you do miss is the fact that when you’re in the middle of a design exercise where you want a white board and want it to be share and all of that. So obviously that pose a little bit of a challenge, but I think thanks to all the collaboration tools available, we can tap into our working from home and people have actually really fared well. And this is something that we see as doing very productively for how much of our time we need to do it. Of course, looking forward to getting back in the office and being face to face again too.

Daniel Newman: Yeah, I think having the choice is the key? We want to be able to be flexible or work from home or have our employees work on flex schedules. We just want that choice. So when those important moments come, you can get together live. I said this in the beginning of this whole thing, I said for years we’ve had the technology and the tools to work remotely. This is actually not new. It’s amazing how many of us got caught off guard in terms of having the tech to do this. But we actually did live events and we have offices and meetings because of the social nature of people. I said, we don’t go to these giant tech conferences, like a Mobile World Congress, because we can’t learn about the newest 5G device online. We go because we want to shake hands, have dinners, drink good wine, engage with people in a different circumstance than you normally would.

So it is really interesting and it’s great to hear that you guys have been able to be fluid and that you’ve kept things moving. And it sounds like you’ve really kept things moving. So I’m going to dive into the first question. I think Pat’s queuing up the hard question. That’s going to come right after this. So data has been a big exercise actually through this whole pandemic, but it’s been a massive point of conversation for the last, I don’t know, three or four years. I mean longer, but three or four years, it feels like big data, analytics, AI, ML have been just these buzz words. But it is changing the role of business as a whole. And I think that’s been foundational to what you’re doing right now. Talk a little bit about how you’re seeing data changing in its role in business.

Poojan Kumar: To say fundamentally, every business today especially after going through digital transformation and things like that. It’s all about the data that you’re managing. Like when they look at a small and medium business to a large enterprise right now, my wife owns and small and medium business. She’s a dentist and really everything in the practice can go away. The most important thing is the data. Nobody cares about anything else and that is true across the board. More than that, in this current world of the cloud and SaaS, what you’re seeing is data is no longer something that historically sat in the data center and had complete knowledge and access about it.

Now with applications built in the cloud and the fact that you’re using all kinds of other SaaS applications out there, there is so much more that the data is everywhere around you. Sometimes you don’t even know about where the critical pieces of data is. So now it becomes much more important to obviously know where your data is, have access to it at all times. And then fundamentally have ways to make sure that in cases of, in a situation like where we are and ransomware attacks and other situations, you absolutely are sure that your data is secure. And so all of these things become very important and every CIO that we talk to has this top of mind.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, it’s amazing just how much data has expanded. I remember when before machine learning and AI came along, we were all calling it big data. But in many ways it was hard to fully leverage that because our scale-out infrastructure systems had a hard time dealing with because quite frankly, they couldn’t share the same memory space. The great thing about machine learning and the scale-out systems is we have literally the killer application or the killer tool to work on data to actually do something that’s relevant and important to enterprise the cloud. And not just the situation that we’re in today has really changed everything. The public cloud and has really created a new economics of for IT. And we’ve gone from, I consider the drunken sailor mode of, hey it’s public cloud or you’re dead to an internalization of hybrid cloud and multi cloud as well.

Poojan Kumar: Absolutely. And I think analytics is a great use case that you pointed out and AI and ML on top of it. I had Exadata for Oracle, back in the day you could do that thing and that eight-node cluster and things like that. But today, people need an architecture like a snowflake that has a lot of similarities to how we are built Clumio also, but an architecture that is built in the cloud, so you have the elasticity.

So you can take a bunch of resources, scale them up really fast. Do a bunch of compute using Lambda and things like that kind of stuff. We do at Clumio also and then essentially put it down. So that elasticity, allows you to analyze a lot more data. Those services in the cloud with AI and ML allow you to get access to things that typically you need PhDs to essentially have access to.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I think the great part about that is in a sense, when we’re talking Cloud Native, you’re not just building for the public cloud, you’re building for every cloud. And I’m glad we arrived at that because enterprise IT just couldn’t take building for two completely different environments and when you consider where all the data, 80% of the data is today, and we’re 20% of the data is today and how much has to go. There’s no way that would go without going Cloud Native first.

Poojan Kumar: That’s absolutely right. And I think that is one of the things that every enterprise out there it’s struggling with. Not just every enterprise, if you look at any vendor out there also that built the architecture that was focused on the data center then on prem, is really trying to figure out what does it mean for the architecture to be Cloud Native? How can I take advantage of the cloud the right way because in the cloud, you can’t be running things 24 by 7. Then it becomes a very expensive tool so to speak. How do I take advantage of the services like the Lambdas and the object storage and all those things? All the beautiful innovation that AWS, Azure and GCPs is of the world I’ve been doing. And so that is what Cloud Native really means. And so at least for us as Clumio and other companies, and you’ll see many more companies that will be born in the public cloud. They want to be born in the cloud and they want to leverage the public cloud the right way to deliver the right solutions and the right economics to their customer.

Daniel Newman: So let’s talk a little bit about the whole application deployment, speed, innovation and time to value that you fundamentally believe you’re able to create, because obviously you’re not entering a new business. But you’re creating a new model for an existing business and you really fundamentally believe you could change it. And these are some of those key areas that you really want to dial in on. So talk about how you envisioned the shift from status quo to what Clumio is taking on in those areas.

Poojan Kumar: Yeah, so I think that’s the thing. So if you look at a service like what we built in our cloud, the fact that it’s delivered running in the cloud and the fact that we have this background continuous innovation, continuous development, the CICD pipeline that we have built. So we have developers sitting today, wherever they’re sitting around the globe, building all of this code. And then they’re pushing it into the pipeline, so to speak. And then we have a way to essentially for it to go through the pipeline. And ultimately it shows up for our end customer with the simplicity of a refresh of a browser.

So every feature release that we have, and we literally update our platform every week on a Thursday. And so our customers have access to all of these new features every week without any heavy lifting. So that is a drastic change in terms of how services are built and delivered to the customer today in the cloud.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah and it’s one thing to build and develop a service, there’s also the implications of building and even using SaaS applications related to data protection. Our data is everywhere. It’s across multiple clouds and multiple places. And what that does is put a lot of pressure on the backup tools that are out there. And quite frankly, makes it a whole lot more difficult right now.

Poojan Kumar: Yeah, exactly. I think that’s the thing I come back to. For a CIO today, who has data in the data center, who has a bunch of applications in the cloud, who is using a bunch of other SaaS tools. The reason what we have built is very attractive is we give them one place. So when you use Clumio the single service, go to clumio.com. You have visibility to all of your data sources, you have ways to set up policies to protect them. So your compliance and data protection, especially in times when you need it, is there at a single place with the simplicity.

And I think that is very, very important in the current day and age. But in terms of visibility on where your data is sitting and also the peace of mind that the data is protected. Especially in a place like public cloud with the security of a service like Clumio and things like that. And that’s the reason why people are excited about what we have done.

Patrick Moorhead: Yeah, I have the sense that in this new cloud world, all these tools are fragmented and current DP strategies are not working like they should in a cloud. And I think quite frankly, what you guys have brought to bear helps solve that problem.

Poojan Kumar: You said it completely perfectly right. Which is, the current strategies that are not working. And also the current methodologies are very arcane, because see it’s like this in 2020, I wouldn’t want to go and buy Oracle CRM software and a bunch of servers and buy a bunch of professional services and get CRM. I would go to salesforce.com and I won’t buy a chain software and a bunch of Dell servers and try to build email for myself. I’ll go to Office 365 or G Suite. So that is what is needed and what is happening more and more is this whole thing around, okay, I have to do it myself. Guess what? Because in the data center I had to do it myself with infrastructure in the cloud. I get the primitives, but I have to go and build all of these things on top of it myself to deliver data protection.

Guess what? That’s not something that I need to do for my business. If there is a service that I can leverage to do that like I did for CRM and for email, I want to do that so that I can build things that are valued directly to my business. And that’s what we are essentially going and coming and saying, and that’s the message that CIOs around the world are liking.

Daniel Newman: So I hear you Poojan, I think you’ve hit the spot. And some of those examples that you mentioned about email servers versus using 365, or just all the cloudification CRM. Going to a Salesforce versus a traditional on-prem, but there has been some things that have slowed this process down. And I think this is probably the headwind that you guys are facing to break through to the next peak. And it’s entirely possible. I think you guys know this is going to be possible and that’s going to be security and compliance. There’s a reason that companies have stuck to on-prem in certain cases. There’s a reason that some of the companies that, Pat you and I work with, still have massive mainframe businesses that are actually really profitable. And it’s because there’s pieces of businesses that can’t seem to get away from those old behaviors.

And a lot of it’s not being driven by the tech and the tech’s ability to work. It’s being driven by old habits dying hard, fear and then external security and compliance issues. So you can’t necessarily fix the old habits and the fear, but you guys do believe you’ve got an approach for handling the security and compliance. So talk a little bit about how Clumio sees that, how you see that evolving.

Poojan Kumar: Yeah, absolutely. And I think from day one, we have taken a very strong security posture because again, the data is the most important thing, as we said. It is the most important thing. And that is the data that you are essentially entrusting to a cloud provider or to somebody like Clumio when you’re essentially using a SaaS service like us. So obviously from that perspective, that security posture is very important. So whether it comes to features around encryption and key management and making sure data is always encrypted in flight when it leads a customer’s environment of VPC and whether it’s sitting with Clumio. And then also going and building all of the compliance around whether if it’s healthcare provider, we have HIPAA, we have PCI for payment providers. We have your SOC 2 Type 2 type compliance and other ISO certifications and things like that, that we have essentially gone and built.

All of that posture is very, very important. And those are also things that you have to think about from the get go. These are not afterthoughts. If you go in five years into your company, or if you’re a legacy company, so many more years into the company and try to think about compliance. The controls that are needed to get implemented so that a customer can get comfort that yeah, this company is really compliant and they’ve built the right way. The encryption is taught through the right way. All those things are things that we started off from the get go. And that is what gives our customers the comfort.

Some of these customers we have today, there are a bunch of healthcare providers for instance. They won’t even talk to us without this compliant in place. I think that posture that we have taken has actually paid a huge amount for us just because people take us much more seriously because we take their data seriously.

Daniel Newman: Pat I know you were jumping in because you’ve got the next question, but I just wanted to throw in there. I think that’s the hurdle, Poojan. I think if you can convince the market that compliance and security, especially as industries, sensitive industries, financials, healthcare. They’re always going to have that extra scrutiny. But I think the CIOs, the ITDMs and the people running the businesses really want something like what you’re doing. They just want to feel like those hurdles have been overcome. And so I’d say keep pushing on that one. And the more and more that you’re able to get into some of these high compliance sensitive spaces, I think you’ll make the market happy. I said old habits and there’s doing things the way they’ve always been done, but that doesn’t mean the IT decision makers and Pat you and I’ve interviewed some really interesting CEOs on the show.

We just did one not too long ago with the CIO of Dell Tech and when she was actually talking about the challenges, these people have massive deployment issues. Their goals are to make things as simple, streamlined and scalable as possible. So, I think if you push on that one, my analysts take on that, is that is going to be the hurdle that if you guys are able to overcome. We’ll definitely see the uptake propel at even greater speed.

Patrick Moorhead: It’s interesting, Daniel. I actually say Clumio as a solution to compliance issues, not a hurdle because what a lot of these regulated industries haven’t been able to do is do multi cloud or even do public cloud because they have to explain to the regulators where all of their data is at any time. Is it encrypted? Is it not encrypted? Is it secure? Who has access to it? And that includes backup data. So I see the actual solution.

Daniel Newman: As much as you think we’re arguing, we’re saying the same thing. The point I’m trying to make is that this is an opportunity. This is an opportunity to compel these highly regulated compliance driven industries, that there is a way to do multi cloud, to do storage, to do pure cloud for storage in even highly regulated industries or for sensitive data. So I think we’re saying the same thing, Pat. Let’s take this argument offline. Let’s get back to talking to Poojan.

Patrick Moorhead: Exactly. And Poojan in the pre call, I know there was a little bit of a special surprise here is that you were going to talk about something that you were doing in the future. Daniel characterized it as a surprise announcement here and a little bit about what’s next.

Poojan Kumar: Absolutely. So as you see what we have done so far is we have gone after data sources around virtualization with VMware, we have gone up to applications, built natively in the public cloud with EBS. We’re doing other SaaS data sources, but one of the key things in our vision was to obviously go and build a data protection as a service offering and deliver it with the simplicity because simplicity sells. But ultimately we also want to go and build a data platform company, where you can do some very interesting things with the data that you’re essentially protecting. So to that effect, one of the most key pieces of data that sit in any enterprise out there is data sitting in databases.

And so one of the big announcements that we have coming out with is our support for RDS, which is the past database as a service sitting on AWS for any database behind it and really going and building a solution that not only goes in and takes it a step further with compliance and being able to take data that we are protecting and essentially giving ransomware protection and really going and building other use cases on top of the data that is sitting in RDS. And really going a step further and going and showing the signs and promise of a data management service in the public cloud.

So that’s a big thing that you’re going to come up with, with RDS. And customers already heard this under NDA. I’ve been super excited on how we are essentially taking the database data and doing much more with it, obviously starting with protecting it.

Daniel Newman: I think that’s fantastic and for everyone out there that’s hearing this, Clumio Poojan, talk just a little bit because that’s a great, exciting announcement. It’s an area that needs to be dialed in further and doing this in a pure cloud play is going to only add value, but talk a little bit about just Clumio’s momentum, what you can share. I know you’re not public yet, which is a little different for us, but series C closed a significant round not too long ago. What’s just that next wave forward? Let’s close it out hearing a little bit about that.

Poojan Kumar: So we have a ton to go and do. That’s the reason we have all the momentum, all the money we have raised is ultimately this is a play where a next ambition company in this space is going to essentially replace all of the legacy players out there and all of that complexity with a true multi cloud platform and go and build additional services on top of this platform. And we are only barely scratching the surface right now with doing this on AWS, with the data sources that we are doing. We have to go and expand and really become a multi-cloud company, go and build this and run it across every region around the globe and go and deliver some of these applications are on top of it.

Some ourselves, some may be partnering with other ICs out there. So that’s the grand vision. And it’s going to take a take some time for us to go and deliver this, but that’s really what we are shooting for.

Daniel Newman: So Poojan, everyone can head out there wants to learn more can go to Clumio. It’s clumio.com. I got that right?

Poojan Kumar: Yes.

Daniel Newman: And a lot more… Definitely check out our show notes because in the show notes, we’re going to highlight some of this information about the new release, about RDS. We’ll highlight a little bit more information about the company as a whole. Poojan I want to thank you so much. I know it’s a busy and crazy time as a startup CEO in the Silicon Valley. It’s a different world right now. So thanks for taking out half hour to sit down with Patrick and I. We love having leaders, future big enterprises and hopefully the big, fast cloud enterprises on our show.

So for everybody out there, I’m going to wrap this up for Patrick Moorhead, for myself. Thanks for tuning into The Six Five. Hit that subscribe button. We appreciate Clumio as our sponsor of this Insider’s Edition. We will see you very soon.

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Daniel Newman