Lawson: SnapLogic is a relatively newcomer to the integration space. You’ve been around since about 2009. How does that change how you approach the integration market?
Joshi: The challenge in the industry today is the on-premise solutions, the Informaticas of the world, were built at least a decade or two decades before today, right? They were built for an environment that was radically different from what it is today. They were built to run within the confines of a firewall, so there was no issue about security or lack thereof to connecting to these on-premise applications. They were built for simple connectivity.
They were more technical in usage, because IT was the one who was building all these integrations. IT needed to understand the internals. The application internals such as which table has the customer data, what is the connection between the customer data table and the product data table? What is the relationship? They really have to understand all these internals and then write code or use adapters to populate these tables.
In today’s world, a lot of these applications, the SaaS applications are exposing the business data as APIs. A user who’s consuming those APIs doesn’t really need to understand the application internals. So there’s an opportunity here to really deliver a platform that’s simple enough for even the non-hardcore IT folks to use and integrate applications. That section has already been delivered to the API layer.
SnapLogic is tapping into this new world by delivering what we call Elastic Integration. Here’s an easy way of thinking about elasticity. More and more customers are using SaaS or they're building custom applications either in a public cloud or in the private cloud, and all these applications can be elastic, because customers no longer need to procure additional hardware to handle spikes in data. Now, if the integration layer that ties all these pieces together is not elastic, then it becomes the weakest link in the entire value chain. And that’s where SnapLogic sees this problem, pinpoints what needs to be addressed, and that’s why we deliver what we call Elastic Integration, and we have trademarked this term.
Lawson: What’s that entail?
Joshi: Our elasticity is essentially our ability to be elastic in the cloud, be elastic on-premise, but also be elastic across these different infrastructures. For instance, we see a lot of customers integrating Salesforce, with customers using Salesforce as a front office application and moving that data from Salesforce into on-premise SAP, where SAP is now becoming more of a system of record.
Now, these integrations are obviously traversing the cloud infrastructure and the on-premise infrastructure so an elastic solution will be a lot easier to use, because you no longer need to worry whether you're connecting to a cloud application or an on-premise application. It all works seamlessly.
Lawson: Usually when people talk about elastic in the cloud, they mean able to expand and contract as needed. Now isn’t that how integration vendors have always sold their cloud-based product? You can up the pipe if you need to if you need to? I feel like I’ve heard that approach before, so I’m still not clear on what you mean when you say elastic integration.
Joshi: Sure, so if you look at the market, the players who are out there today are either the on-premise incumbents, as I call them or they're SaaS-like integration providers who they help you load data into Salesforce or help you with some point-to-point integrations. None of the vendors today have the flexibility or the elasticity to handle large, complex and scale loads both in the cloud and on-premise.
Lawson: You’re leveraging virtual technology to run your integrations, correct?
Joshi: Absolutely, we are leveraging the concept of virtual machines. These are all Java-based virtual machines. And we leverage the concept of the control and data planes where the control plane is in charge and spins up a new virtual machine if necessary, sends it instructions as to what it needs to process and when the processing is done, it’ll give it more work or it might decide to retire it based on certain patterns that customer prefers to implement.
We haven’t talked about multi-tenancy. The reason there are so many startups in the valley is because technology changes so fast. And the existing vendor also becomes the biggest enemy as technology gets phased out, right? So for instance, Informatica is really successful with ETL-style integrations, but is not really good for the cloud.
But the cloud offerings are lower-margin businesses; they're more flexible, more accessible to more number of people. So then as a company, Informatica needs to worry about do you give up your cash cows in promise of this new market?
So there’s a lot of innovation that’s going on. I’ve been in the integration space for like 15 years, so I’ve seen products built from a vendor side. I’ve seen them being implemented. It takes a brand new product to really address all the needs of the new generation and a lot of existing tools are trying to, but it’s going to be awhile before they completely embrace the cloud architecture and they really will have to re-write the solutions.
Lawson: What market are you trying to reach with your solution?
Joshi: So in terms of target markets and practicing options, we are focusing on the enterprise. We are focusing on integrating on-premise and cloud applications. We are going after the line of business folks, who are investing in SaaS applications and want to integrate these SaaS applications.
We are not going after the SMB market and that’s because we believe our capabilities, the elastic scale, the number of instances that we can connect to, the enterprise capabilities such as self managed. All those are critical for enterprise markets and not so important for the SMB market.