This week Simon Maple from InfoQ published an interview with Jelastic Co-founder and CEO Ruslan Synytsky. The focus was on the new additions to our advisory board – James Gosling and Bruno Souza and also the story of how the remaining advisers joined our incredible team.
Below is the interview
Jelastic, the cloud hosting platform for Java and PHP applications recently announced two new additions to their team. James Gosling, creator of the Java language, and Bruno Souza, Brazilian Java developer and Java Champion, will be joining Jelastic as an independent director and advisor, respectively. We interviewed Jelastic CEO, Ruslan Synytsky, to hear his thoughts about the new positions and how they will provide value to Jelastic.
InfoQ: Give us some background about the Jelastic advisory board. How long has it been around for, and how has it evolved?
Ruslan: Over the years we have met many important and influential people in the industry who have shown tremendous support and a significant interest in Jelastic and our technology. They became evangelists, helping us to improve, evolve and grow and they are now advisers who wholeheartedly endorse and support Jelastic.
The advisory board has been around since the beginning and our first adviser was Soeren von Varchmin. After Soeren came on board, we realized that we needed more expertise and started to look for experts to cover different and very specific areas that needed attention. For us, it’s not about the marketing value of having these well known “star” advisers. It’s about how they can help to improve Jelastic and solve complex issues.
It’s also important to note that each adviser is responsible for clearly defined roles at Jelastic based on their field of expertise. I will expand on this in the next question.
InfoQ: How did you know James and Bruno before they joined Jelastic?
Ruslan – I met with James via our investors and it took some time to find a mutually convenient time for a meeting. We met at Java Sushi in San Francisco where James provided feedback, his industry vision and thoughts on Java’s future development and the current state. He also shared his opinion on IT development, Java in the future and cloud – Java in the cloud is very significant for us.
We continued to converse via email and met again at JavaOne 2014 where James shared more valuable advice on marketing and business development. We then came to a formal agreement where he would join us as an independent director.
In May 2014, Jelastic reached out via email to Bruno to thank him for mentioning Jelastic in various presentations and to notify him of our new partners in Brazil. We had many discussions about getting the Java community in Brazil more aware of Jelastic and also asked Bruno to take a closer look at our platform and provide some feedback.
I met him in Brazil at RubyConf this year and we had several long conversations. We figured out that we fit very well to each other because he understands Jelastic and loves technology and he has ideas how to help Jelastic. After that, we had a meeting at JavaOne and he suggested we should participate in the JCP. He also provides us with good introductions to Java User Groups in various countries. Now, he helps us to build relations in the Java community.
InfoQ: What do James and Bruno each bring to the Jelastic Advisory Board
Ruslan: James Gosling will bring expertise and advice regarding Java in the cloud, marketing and business strategies. He has very strong expertise in business development and excellent advice on important board meeting topics. James will bring great influence to the board. As a technology guy, it’s a positive for me to have someone on the board who understands the technology to help with convincing and compelling investors.
Bruno will provide an in-depth analysis on our platform, suggest ways we can improve, obvious challenges we need to address and continue to engage the Java community in his unique and friendly way.
InfoQ: Can you discuss the evolution of the PaaS and IaaS space, Jelastic’s involvement and future plans?
Ruslan: People don’t care about acronyms, they need a solution for their complex issues. We believe a hybrid solution covers most cases. Simplification and flexibility are key points. I believe that enterprises will move faster to the PaaS space next year. The rate of adoption is getting faster. Its accelerating.
Eventually, PaaS will be everywhere and all cloud vendors will provide PaaS. It will become a mandatory requirement for development of IT projects because it saves a lot of time. In the past people used Assembler, C, then Java, PHP and other sets of languages to speed up their development time. PaaS is the next level of evolution that solves the same issue – productivity of development, getting results faster and cheaper.
PaaS will be a commodity, everywhere in IT.
InfoQ also spoke with James Gosling and Bruno Souza about their recent new roles.
InfoQ: Why is Jelastic a good fit for you?
James Gosling: I’ve been a big fan of Jelastic for years. I love the way they make clouds easy: just write your app and skip all the mess of configuring a pile of servers. Since I’ve gone from being on the side of those implementing clouds to being a user of clouds, I hope to help them do an even better job.
Bruno Souza: As a Java developer it’s easy to love the simplicity of deploying applications in a truly Java-based, standards compliant environment, that is easy to customize. Jelastic provides a JVM in the cloud, scalable and ready to use! But I specially love that fact that Jelastic brings a new business model to the cloud, one that promotes local companies, and counter the high centralization of cloud providers. Jelastic promotes the power of Java, by building on top of Java’s run anywhere promise, and extending this to allow many providers to compete in this market. Working with JUGs around the world, I hope to help Jelastic deliver on their vision of getting the cloud everywhere, in the hands of developers.
And here’s some additional information from Simon’s interview with Ruslan
InfoQ: Which skills do the Jelastic Advisory Board provide to the company?
James Gosling – Questions related to Java in the cloud, influence on our strategic roadmap, high level marketing and business strategies.
Rasmus Lerdorf – Strong technical expertise on PHP and user experience/usability.
Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius – Database expertise, specifically MySQL and MariaDB.
Mark Zbikowski – Internal development processes.
Soeren von Varchmin – Business development and relations in the public cloud sector.
Bruno Souza – Java community engagement.
Igor Sysoev – Everything related to NGINX.
Serguei Beloussov – General business development and valuable advice.
InfoQ: Describe the dynamic Jelastic has with the Advisory Board. When/how do you meet? What areas are discussed?
James Gosling – The first time I met James was in 2006 I was working on a project at the National Space Agency in Ukraine. The project was submitted in a competition where James was part of the judging panel for the Best Java Open Source Project. There was no first prize. Only 10 were chosen and my project was awarded as one of the top 10. I received a diploma/certificate signed by James as “The Father of Java” which I still have and value to this day.
I do not think that James would remember this, but I certainly do because at the time, it was an important and very big achievement for simple Java programmer guy.
When we started Jelastic, we needed to make a choice on which programming language would be “the one”. It was a fight between PHP and Java. We eventually decided on Java over PHP because we could see bigger issues with Java in the hosting industry – that we could solve, because we had the experience.
Six months later, after our first release and some marketing, a friend sent a link where James Gosling was speaking about Jelastic as part of his Liquid Robotics project. As you can imagine, it was a very significant moment for us to know that “The Father of Java” was using Jelastic and publicly endorsing our platform.
In the video, Gosling goes on to say, “I really love Jelastic… It’s a Java hosting system so you don’t get a bare Linux machine. What you get is a JavaEE container, and you can drop WAR files on it, and they’ve got this really nice control panel where you get a slider that says how many clones of GlassFish do you want, a checkbox that says you want MySQL or Cassandra or Mongo or whatever [database system]. You don’t have to go into the Linux ‘Oh my God, what it takes to install anything.’ It’s like which version of Linux is compatible with which app server and what time… No. They just take care of that and it works lovely.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
I later met with James via our investors and it took some time to find a mutually convenient time for a meeting. We met at Java Sushi in San Francisco where James provided feedback, his industry vision and thoughts on Java’s future development and the current state. He also shared his opinion on IT development, Java in the future and cloud – Java in the cloud is very significant for us.
We continued to converse via email and then again met at JavaOne 2014 where James shared more valuable advice on marketing and business development. And then, we came to a formal agreement where he would join us as an Independent Director.
Rasmus Lerdorf – My first contact with Rasmus was via Twitter where Serguei asked him to have a conversation with me, which he agreed to. We asked to speak with him because at the time, we were working on PHP implementation. We were looking for a highly technical expert, and Rasmus is the best guy.
In our first conversation I explained what we do, our plans with PHP and questions regarding PHP implementation.
Later, we had a meeting in person in Palo Alto and again discussed our product and expanded our conversations. The relationship was built over some time. It’s about finding the right person for the right project. I understand and appreciate the value of relationship building and mutual trust.
Eventually, I asked Rasmus to be an adviser. He agreed and came to Ukraine and met our team.
Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius – Serguei Beloussov introduced me to Monty. He suggested that I should visit him in person. I visited him in Finland at his home where we discussed potential cooperation. He explained what he does and a new project he was working on. We agreed to collaborate and added support of MarinaDB to Jelastic. Monty provides us with good feedback about database development, how to build high level databases and the future direction of NoSQL and SQL. He also came to Ukraine to meet our team where there were discussions on technical details, implementations of new features and currently technology.
These days, I discuss technology with Monty and the best places in the world to live and visit.
Mark Zbikowski – Serguei introduced us and Mark visited Ukraine a couple of times and worked with our team. He works with us to improve internal processes on product development. Everything related to processes and team building.
Soeren von Varchmin – After we closed funding in 2011 with Runa Capital I met Soeren. He came to Ukraine several times and we discussed many topics including business development and how to communicate with hosting providers. It was actually Soeren who introduced us to dogado/Host Europe and ServInt, our first hosting partners. Soeren’s added value is networking and his great ideas. Currently he helps us with ideas, business development and introductions to public cloud opportunities.
Bruno Souza – In May 2014, Jelastic reached out via email to Bruno to thank him for mentioning Jelastic in various presentations and to notify him of our new partners in Brazil. We had many discussions about getting the Java community in Brazil more aware of Jelastic and also asked Bruno to take a closer look at our platform and provide some feedback.
I met him in Brazil at RubyConf this year and we had several long conversations. We figured out that we fit very well to each other because he understands Jelastic and loves technology and he has ideas how to help Jelastic. After that, we had a meeting at JavaOne and he suggested we should participate in JCP. He also provides us with good introductions to Java User Groups in various countries. Now, he helps us to build relations in the Java community.
Igor Sysoev – I met Igor via Serguei Beloussov. Runa Capital invested in NGINX around the same time they invested in Jelastic and we were using NGINX a lot. We met at a conference in 2011 and had discussions with his team. Our engineers started to talk to their engineers. Igor assists us with everything related to NGINX technology. We are using NGINX a lot and their team helped us to build a technical solution based on NGINX.
Serguei Beloussov – The first time that I met him was when we presented the idea of Jelastic to investors. We won a contest to show the project and they invited us to present in person.
After that, we decided that Serguei can open the right doors. He provides a lot of useful feedback.
David Blevins – I met David when he first promoted TomEE. We agreed to add TomEE support to Jelastic. In fact, Jelastic was the first PaaS to add TomEE support. We also met in LA in person and over the years at JavaOne we catch up and have conversations. We also shared a booth last year at JavaOne with David’s team from Tomitribe.