While it takes a little while for teams to adjust to the new environment, implementing cloud infrastructure is rapidly becoming the new normal.
The worldwide adoption of cloud solutions skyrocketed in the last couple of years. However, not every organization has the expertise needed for these systems to run smoothly, which often leads to increased costs and security gaps. While consumer-grade tools like a Virtual Private Network can add a layer of protection, experts emphasize that enterprises require more advanced tools to keep their cloud infrastructure under control.
Our guest today is Maxim Melamedov, the CEO and co-founder of Zesty – a company creating a new cloud management experience.
Tell us about your journey throughout the years. How did the idea of Zesty originate?
After working together in various companies, my co-founder Alexey Baikov, and I found that we were constantly encountering the same problems: engineers working in the cloud were forced into making static decisions and were required to compensate for the unpredictability of application needs. This left them in a constant battle between the need for stability and performance versus cost efficiency.
Together we set out to combat this problem by creating technology that could leverage the cloud’s flexibility and growing offerings while meeting constantly changing application needs. We created Zesty to empower DevOps teams and improve their everyday lives by automating manual and repetitive cloud management processes while maintaining application stability and performance.
We founded Zesty, which was originally named CloudVisor, in early 2019 and launched its first product, the AWS Commitment Manager in March. In 2021 we launched our cloud storage autoscaler, Zesty Disk, and along the way raised $40 million in funding, acquired over 100 customers, and have grown our headcount to 100 and climbing.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? What are the main issues your products help solve?
At Zesty, we are creating tools to empower an autonomous and efficient cloud management experience. Cloud utilization, with all its benefits, still requires many hours of manual management, and Zesty’s tools are automating those processes, saving not only hours but a company’s budget. It does this by focusing on two critical, often needlessly expensive, and hands-on parts of cloud management – disk storage and EC2 instances.
Zesty Disk automatically adjusts (either shrinking or expanding) storage volumes, improving application performance by 300%, ensuring stability and performance, and keeping costs in check, reducing them by up to 70%.
Zesty’s Commitment Manager uses advanced analytics to take advantage of the cost-saving potential of the AWS Reserved Instances marketplace. The accurate assessment of future needs often forces companies to either buy On-demand instances, at a higher cost or have too many Reserved Instances they are paying for, but don’t need. Commitment Manager continuously analyzes a company's Amazon EC2 usage along with the RI marketplace to leverage the most lucrative Reserved Instances discounts for the companies, reducing costs by up to 50%.
What other company processes do you hope to see automated in the near future?
There is a lot of demand for increased automation across all forms of cloud management, but one with the most potential in the near future is automating the process of right-sizing containers. There is a substantial amount of manual work still required and increasing automation of container management would be a surefire way to increase efficiency.
How did the recent global events affect your field of work? Were there any new challenges you had to adapt to?
Zesty was founded in 2019, so we were still an extremely young company when the pandemic hit. Yet, despite this challenge, there was still a tremendous need for our product, especially as businesses had to quickly adjust budgets in the face of an unpredictable landscape. Companies were on the hunt for cost-saving tools and we fit very comfortably in that niche.
Because our product, Commitment Manager, enabled businesses to scale in the cloud while saving 50% on compute costs, we provided significant value in a time of uncertainty. As a small company, we could be agile and easily adjust to a work-from-home environment, while continuing to do what we set out to do from the beginning.
As more companies move their workload to the cloud, are there any details that might be overlooked when making the switch?
Oftentimes, ROI and total cost of ownership are calculated by relatively static excel sheets, not taking into consideration traffic costs and the numerous additional charges that actually running operations on the cloud often entail.
Many customers don’t fully understand how the cloud operates and treat it the same way they treated on-premise, just managed by a vendor. They don’t understand how performance is different, how storage consumption is different, and how networking and security are maintained differently. Not being aware of all those differences can lead to an unpleasant surprise once the first few bills come. It's important to really do the groundwork to fully understand the differences to ensure that you are getting what you need at the price point you want.
What misconceptions surrounding the cloud infrastructure do you come across most often? What do you think these myths are based on?
Many people think the cloud is infinite and available at a moment's notice,so they move to the cloud in order to increase flexibility and scale fast. But the cloud is not as rapidly flexible as it seems, with different regions having different capabilities and cloud providers putting pricing structures in place which limit flexibility. As a result, users often have to pay a lot of money for on-demand scalability, for example when they need to increase EC2 usage, which leads to tremendous cost and reduces the potential savings that the cloud offers.
Why do you think companies often hesitate to try out new and innovative solutions that would enhance their operations?
There is a level of concern, and legitimately so, that many companies have when it comes to their cloud operations, and many of them feel uncomfortable risking business-critical operations to relatively new solutions. That is why the most powerful tool for solutions like ours are customer testimonials backing up what we are saying – it's a lot easier to make that leap once you have seen other companies take it.
In your opinion, what kind of threats companies of all sizes should be prepared to take on in the next few years? What measures should be implemented as soon as possible?
The world of cybersecurity is so complicated and dynamic, with so many new threats every day that as a company not focused on the field it's not fair for us to say.
And finally, what’s next for Zesty?
Zesty is expanding extremely quickly, but our dream has remained the same. We want to enable companies to live the cloud dream, so they never have to sacrifice cost efficiency for flexibility. We want to free engineers from managing infrastructure, so they can continue to build great technology. And finally, we want to automate everything. We are currently working on more technology that would help automate various menial tasks, so engineers are free to create and scale with ease in the cloud.