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Several years ago, I had to go through the process of disconnecting Active Directory and untangling it from a number of services that depended on it. One of these cases was a migration off of all Microsoft services. Another was a result of a company I was involved in acquiring another company that had Active Directory deeply integrated into its infrastructure.
I hadn’t paid much attention to Active Directory or LDAP since them, but I recently found myself in a conversation with Raj Bhargava, the CEO of JumpCloud, about why there was no “Directory as a Service” product. Raj and the team at JumpCloud had begun exploring the notion of a cloud-based directory, I was intrigued and remember the first conversation well. I was driving up to my place in Keystone and Raj was explaining some of the customer feedback they were receiving on their initial product. They were getting positive feedback on the user management capabilities and when they added the ability to execute tasks on servers, the feedback was just add desktop and laptop OSs and voila you have a replacement for Active Directory. Of course, it’s not that easy, but the feedback hit us all like a ton of bricks. Conceptually it was very interesting.
I worked closely with the team over the summer to dig in and really understand the feedback. Turns out, it was more than just moving Active Directory to the cloud. We regularly heard that it was time for a new directory approach as LDAP and Active Directory have been the two dominant directories for the last few decades and there has been very little innovation around them. While Google Apps is awesome for email and apps, it doesn’t really function as a directory, at least, not in the way that IT organizations have come to view them.
As we talked to more people, it was clear that they were looking for a directory that could handle cloud and on-prem systems, variety of operating systems / device types, and the move to cloud services.
So, the JumpCloud team went to work and started executing on that concept. Given the depth of their existing product, adding directory capabilities wasn’t too challenging. Two weeks ago, JumpCloud launched the first ever Directory-as-a-Service offering.
The initial reception has been fantastic. Clearly there are a lot of companies that don’t want to deal with Microsoft Active Directory or manage LDAP themselves. And this was exactly the thesis around the need for a new directory approach that Raj and team had developed from their customer conversations.
If you are interested is using the service, you can do so for free – 10 users are free forever, and then it’s a paid offering. Drop me a note and I’ll connect you to the JumpCloud team or just go on over to JumpCloud and sign-up!
I’d love to hear what you think of the concept and the product if you have a chance to use it.
Our portfolio company JumpCloud is running a survey to dig deeper into the professional lives of IT folks and their move to DevOps. If you are open to sharing your thoughts and experiences, please take their survey. It’s only about five minutes long and they are sharing all of the raw data (anonymized, of course). The survey ends at the end of June.
The IT sector is undergoing some interesting transformations as a result of the cloud, DevOps, and mobile. I’m interested to see what the data tells us.
If you happen to have at least 100 servers, JumpCloud is looking to pick your brain about how you manage them. If you are open to it, let me know and I’ll connect you with them – I’m sure that they will make it worth your time (and I appreciate the help)!
As a bonus, JumpCloud is raffling off a Fitbit Flex (another one of our portfolio companies), an Amazon Fire TV, and Samsung Gear Neo 2 Smartwatch if you complete the survey. Please take a few minutes and help us get some interesting data on how the IT sectors works.
Raj Bhargava (CEO of JumpCloud) and I have been talking about how startups can leverage DevOps and Agile more. We created a conference on DevOps last year for our portfolio companies and it was a huge hit.
DevOps is a movement that we are deeply interested in from multiple perspectives. It’s integral to almost all of the companies we invest in and many, especially in our Glue and Protocol themes, are DevOps driven companies.
In addition to investing in these companies, we are promoting DevOps concepts throughout our portfolio, encouraging learning activities such as the conference, and involved with initiatives such as DevOps.com that is a site to educate the IT community about DevOps.
When Raj asked me to do a Q&A with him on my views around DevOps to help more people understand why I am excited about it, I immediately said yes. If you are interested in hearing my thoughts around how companies can leverage Devops, head on over to JumpCloud’s Q&A with me on DevOps and SaaS and let us know what you think.
And – if you are a VP of Marketing, JumpCloud is looking for a great one.
My partner Ryan McIntyre says that any company doing business on the web should be practicing some form of DevOps. One of the biggest trends in tech today is DevOps, which is closely tied into Agile, Cloud, PaaS, and SDN.
If you remember Gene Kim’s guest post on the importance of DevOp post, or recognize some of the investments we’ve made in our Glue and Protocol themes that are focused on DevOps, such as JumpCloud and VictorOps, this will be a familiar topic.
Last fall, JumpCloud and Softlayer/IBM hosted a DevOps Conference in Boulder for the companies we’ve invested in. At this conference, I heard of an effort to put together a new community site that would pitch a tent big enough for anyone interested in DevOps. This would be a place where technical folks could learn and communicate, where novices could find out more, and where business people could understand why and how DevOps matters.
Alan Shimel, who I have known for over 15 and has been writing for Network World and a bunch of other places was heading up the effort. In typical Shimel fashion, Alan simultaneously put together a top flight collection of content providers while doing a deal and partnering with Martin Logan who had a blog over at the domain, DevOps.com. If you are going to have a DevOps community media site, it is hard to imagine a better domain to for it to live at.
Since that time Alan and Martin have been working hard retooling the old blog into a full-fledged online community e-zine. They launched the site this week with SoftLayer and JumpCloud as founding sponsors. Another one of our portfolio companies, VictorOps is a sponsor and VictorOps CEO Todd Vernon has a regular blog on the DevOps.com site.
The list of contributors to DevOps.com reads like a who’s who of the DevOps world with a goal of having over 100 unique content pieces a month at DevOps.com. But media content is not the only mission. Alan, Martin and team are planning to help amplify the DevOps grass roots efforts around the world through conferences and community events.
I am jazzed to see what Alan makes of it, but I am even more excited to watch the continued growth and influence of DevOps.
Last week our portfolio company, JumpCloud - who is deep in the DevOps market with their automated cloud server management product – hosted the first annual DevOps conference here in Boulder. It was a huge success – we had over 200 people show up and engage in a full day of deep discussions on DevOps.
We are huge fans of the DevOps movement. Similar to how we got involved in the Agile movement early with our investment in Rally Software, we are long on DevOps with investments in companies such as JumpCloud, VictorOps, SendGrid, Pantheon, Authentic8 and others. We see DevOps instantiating the lean startup culture throughout an organization. DevOps promotes short cycle times, automation, and deep integration across a company with the goal of innovating quicker and more effectively against customers’ needs. In short, we view it as a cultural methodology that increases the odds of success for a company.
The day was fantastic, starting with Raj Bhargava (CEO of JumpCloud) and Paul Ford (SoftLayer) kicking things off with a short discussion about what DevOps is. I was next with a quick discussion framing why DevOps is critical to our companies and their customers. From there, we had presentations by Ryan Martens (CTO of Rally) on learnings from Agile, Nathan Day (Chief Scientist of SoftLayer) on the incredible automation at SoftLayer, and a number of great panels from CEOs, CTOs, and VPs of Engineering of DevOps related companies. Three of our portfolio companies – SendGrid, Mocavo, and Gnip – closed the formal part of the day with case studies on different areas of DevOps.
Later, the full group headed to Bacaro for more casual conversations around DevOps. I ended the night at Walnut Brewery with Raj and a few close friends watching the Red Sox lose game two of the World Series to the Cardinals.
The engagement on the topic of DevOps was really powerful. The questions flowed quickly – it’s clear everyone is struggling with how to define DevOps – what it means, who should be involved in an organization, and how to recruit for it. While the word is quickly becoming entrenched, it’s a new category with a wide range of opportunities.
When Raj came to me several months ago suggesting that we should put on a conference around DevOps for all of the Foundry Group, Techstars, and Bullet Time Ventures companies it was easy to be excited about it. I expected about 50 people to participate – it was amazing to look around the room and see 200 really engaged people. I’m proud of Raj and Paul for putting this on and thankful for all of the effort that our companies made to get there and participate!