gridscale: the German Startup Building the Future of Cloud Computing
An interview with Henrik Hasenkamp, CEO & co-founder at Gridscale.io
This post is part of our Future of Business series where we interview the leading founders and executives on the front lines of their industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we had with Henrik Hasenkamp, CEO & co-founder of Gridscale.io
1.) What's the history of Gridscale? Where and how did you begin?
During the last 15 years we, the founders Michael, Torsten and myself gathered a lot of experience in the hosting and cloud market working at other cloud providers. In 2014, it became apparent to us how complex and complicated most cloud products were from a user perspective, let alone the pricing models. They were far away from being transparent and are hard to understand. Our partners, customers and employees enjoyed using these products less every single day, mostly driven by their non-intuitive interfaces. We felt the urge to enable users to use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) without having to make a diploma beforehand!
We realized that the positive development of the IaaS and PaaS (platform services) market would be a great chance to make our vision of an easy-to-use, intuitive, highly available and flexible cloud service become reality. We then founded gridscale (www.gridscale.io) in September 2014 and built an architecture that combined all the features users were looking for. gridscale went live in late 2015. We managed to develop a solution that is now able to offer the best performance at the best price in the market with the ease-of-use and flexibility users were looking for.
2.) What specific problem does gridscale solve? Who are you solving it for?
We are fortunate that we solve a number of problems with gridscale, many of which we already talked about. However, in the last year, we went a step further. We did not only look at what problems we could solve for users, but also resellers and agencies. Here we found that there was no cloud computing solution that could offer the management of multiple tenants in one solution, also with respect to the setup of individual prices and features or central billing for their customers. You have to imagine that e.g. agencies who deliver web projects for their customers go through a lot of pain. They are faced with a large number of infrastructure contracts with different contract durations, often with limited flexibility when it comes to resource scaling, a jumble of access rights, and so on. In other words – it’s a mess!
3.) What is your solution to their problem?
With gridscale, you can combine exactly the resources, such as CPU cores, RAM and SSD storage, that you need and pay per minute – no more being bound to predefined packages! Beside offering our intuitive core product, we developed what we call “partner panel” for resellers and agencies. The partner panel allows the management of customers in a central place. These partners can now determine the prices and features for their customers and also benefit from high-end features such as private MPLS. The solution also enables our partners to appear as the IaaS provider themselves as they are able to benefit from our white label solution. This is especially of interest to system houses who are not only the IT-consultants for companies but also offer their own software and hardware solutions. State-of-the-art technology solutions such as gridscale not only help them to protect and grow their business by offering modern IT solutions, but also create brand awareness.
4.) How big of an opportunity is this?
The market growth in this space is significant. The global IaaS market was estimated at $16bn for 2015, which doesn’t even include the PaaS market. In Europe, the market was estimated at €2bn at the same time with a CAGR of 30%. Despite the large players, such as AWS or Azure, the market is very fragmented, hence new players with the right value proposition have great growth potential.
5.) What's the future of cloud computing?
More and more companies are discovering that cloud computing provides IT departments with much more flexibility and autonomy. IT departments will no longer be dependent on other internal departments, e.g. to get IT resources for a new project. This leads to a tremendous acceleration of development processes and to a much higher innovative power of companies. It will not be as painful anymore as it is today for companies to simply try something new and stop the project in case of failure or dislike. Overall, we will experience much greater agility of IT.
Along with this, however, we will also encounter security gaps and problematic handling of personal data more frequently. High agility and the high development speed has the downside that the quality of the development may suffer. The increasing number of development frameworks lead to developers delivering excellent results within a specific framework, but at the same time no longer understanding the full stack (including the system environment). However, the system environment is very important for a developed application to run safely.
Hence, technologies such as container virtualization (e.g. Docker, Kubernetes, Nomad, etc.) are increasingly being used, right up to the serverless environment. These approaches to infrastructure promise a solution to the security-critical system environments.
6.) What are the top tech trends you're seeing in cloud computing?
- Container Virtualization and its associated Continuous Integrations
- Serverless Computing and Function-as-a-Service
- Smart PaaS services make a lot of work easier for developers