Women’s Day Special: AiThority Interview with Anshu Agarwal, CEO and Founder at Nimbella
Hi Anshu. Please tell us about your current role and how you arrived at Nimbella.
I am the CEO and co-founder of Nimbella, a cloud-agnostic serverless cloud platform provider. Nimbella came to fruition as a result of my experience working at different startups. My startup journey began at Speedera where I really learned the tools of the trade. We weathered each challenge, enjoying the up times and surviving the tough ones, and came out as a coherent and resilient team. I quickly realized that working at a startup felt way more fulfilling. Once I got a taste of working for one, I never turned back. I continued working from one startup to another because they all went through acquisitions by large companies and rapidly morphed into the big corporate culture in no time. This is what ultimately led to my journey to founding Nimbella. Rather than joining another one, my co-founders and I decided that it was time to do something to execute our own vision. We all come from the cloud infrastructure space and saw technical and operational gaps in Serverless Computing, which is the latest era of cloud computing where you don’t think of servers at all. Having complete conviction in this computing model and complementary skill sets with the shared vision and commitment of building a company with the right culture, we started Nimbella.
As a technologist, what unique milestones did you cross in your career so far?
I am an engineer by background and always wanted to work on cutting-edge technologies. My thesis at grad school was on speech and facial recognition so I stayed in research, but it was at a time in the 1990s when the compute and data were so limited that we didn’t make much progress in creating real world applications. It was always a scientific project. My career took a different path after I completed business school and saw that there was a lot more than engineering that goes into a business. This was the first turning point in my career because I moved from research to creating products and taking them to market. The next important milestone that happened was when I joined my first startup. I had been working for large technology companies, but joining a small startup was my opportunity to learn whatever I wanted to and make a difference. I also got a taste of the cyclical nature of markets where we go through highs and lows but learned how to survive with the right product at the right time. Now we are in an era of cloud computing where artificial intelligence and machine learning is no longer science fiction. What I’m doing today enables these technologies to create real-world applications. In fact it feels like I have come full circle where my education was in this field when the infrastructure wasn’t ready and now I am working on the very infrastructure that has made this all possible.
Please tell us about Nimbella and what are your top services/solutions?
Nimbella is a serverless cloud platform that can be deployed on any cloud to support an organization’s multi-cloud or private-cloud strategy. The serverless platforms and frameworks in use today are lacking the abstractions, automation, and integrations that are necessary to accelerate the adoption of serverless technology in the enterprise and in new application domains. Nimbella fills the technology gaps and unifies the programming experience around serverless to deliver a complete and integrated solution that works across clouds. It is based on open-source and is available as a managed and hosted service and as an installable full-stack solution that can be deployed on any private or public cloud.
What is your go-to-market strategy for 2021 in the post-pandemic era?
Nimbella’s go-to-market strategy for 2021 and beyond is based on product-led-growth. We have a freemium model of our service so developers can be up and running within 60 seconds. Developers are different from traditional buyers that can’t be sold to, but follow the trends, the developer influencers, and look for educational content rather than marketing content. However, the decision-making-buyers are developer leaders who look at how a particular product fits in their plan for application modernization. Therefore, we offer our product as a service for developers to try and build applications and we also offer our product to enterprises who want to run in their own environment across the organization. Our reach to our prospective customers is through educational content of blogs and videos, gamification and targeted developer advocacy programs.
Popular trend: Can Cloud Ops platforms be built in open source / No code?
Cloud Ops Platforms can absolutely be built using open source. There are many tools that fall under the category of cloud ops, but they need to bring the cloud resources used by an organization together. They can be built to operate with no code but that usually comes with customization and automation.
Why should CIOs and CISOs look to modernize their Cloud in a serverless environment?
It’s imperative for CIOs and CISOs to modernize their Cloud in a serverless environment so it’s future-protected. The movement to cloud native is nothing new and has been around for quite some time, but CIOs must ensure that they’re not locking themselves to one cloud and are adopting platforms that allow them to support a multi-cloud strategy. This may not be a need today, but it’s definitely something that should be taken into account while deciding how to modernize because there is vendor lock-in if your platform only runs in one cloud. Also the CIOs should look into what platform fits their needs because developers need standardization and organizations need customization for their workloads therefore they should choose a platform that gives them these controls. In addition not all workloads may be suited to run as serverless functions and they may require containers so the serverless platform they choose should support containers and functions with no distinction.
How is going serverless different from Edge or Virtualization / Kubernetes?
Serverless is a computing paradigm for developers where they only code application logic and leave the rest for the serverless platform to handle. On the other hand with virtualization or Kubernetes, maintaining servers or server applications still remains a responsibility of the developer or the DevOps team. The problem with today’s serverless platforms offered by large cloud vendors is that they are specific to that vendor creating vendor lock-in. Kubernetes on the other hand is a great normalizer across clouds so you can move your application from one cloud to another. But it comes with its challenges – the developer learning curve is very steep and since the developer is also managing infrastructure resources along with writing application logic, the developer productivity is impacted. It doesn’t need to be a zero sum game. You don’t have to choose one over another. Some serverless platforms like Nimbella run on underlying Kubernetes so a developer gets what they want and their code is also portable to any cloud eliminating the risk of lock-in.
Please tell us a piece of advice to every CIO looking to adopt a serverless Cloud migration tool in 2021.
These are the considerations that CIOs should look into when deciding what serverless platform to adopt:
– Does the Serverless platform allow your applications to be migrated and re- architected over time without any business disruption?
– Does the Serverless platform provide out-of-the-box support for stateful applications because enterprise applications have state.
– Does the Serverless platform support the cloud providers used by the organization? Can the platform be deployed on-premises to support the organizational needs?
– Is the platform consistent with open source standards used in the industry? If the platform is built on open-source, it is usually more beneficial as the platform will be leveraging community innovation.
What is your advice to female IT / data science professionals ahead of the International Women’s Day event:
My advice to any female professionals is that you can do anything that you are passionate about. Follow your passion, build your network, don’t be shy in asking for advice or help. I feel that women are perfectionists and we don’t want to fail or make mistakes but this is something I had to learn the hard way that it is ok to take risks and make mistakes because that is where the most learning happens.
Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to see here:
Padmasree Warrior, Former CEO, Nio
Thank you, Anshu! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Anshu Agarwal is a CEO and Founder at Nimbella
Nimbella is an enterprise-grade stateful serverless platform that can be deployed on any cloud to support multi-cloud or private-cloud strategy. The serverless platforms and frameworks in use today are lacking the abstractions, automation, and integrations that are necessary to accelerate the adoption of serverless technology in the enterprise and in new application domains.
Nimbella fills the technology gaps and unifies the programming experience around serverless to deliver a complete and integrated solution that works across clouds. It is based on open-source and is available as a managed and hosted service and as a full-stack solution that can be deployed on any private or public cloud.