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VMblog's Expert Interviews: New HyperGrid CEO Talks Cloud Market, Product Differentiations, Strategy and Futures


Recently, HyperGrid, a market leader in hybrid Cloud Management Platforms (CMP), announced that its Board of Directors had appointed Manoj Nair, previously the Company's Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder, as CEO successor to Nariman Teymourian.  To find out more about this promotion and what it means to the future direction of HyperGrid, VMblog was fortunate to sit down and speak with Mr. Nair to get a first hand account of his thoughts and his plans.

VMblog:  First off, congratulations.  You've been promoted within the company to the CEO position.  Before we jump in too much, can you tell us a little about your background and how that has prepared you for your new role?

Manoj Nair:  My appointment as HyperGrid's new CEO really is the culmination of a professional life spent working both hands-on and in leadership positions at Cloud and Cyber Security organizations - two critical trends that I believe will take on even greater importance for businesses as we move forward.

I have been fortunate to have worked for and with some of the best leaders in the industry during my time at companies like Data General, EMC, RSA, VMware & HPE. I have learned a lot from these leaders and from my mistakes along the way that have helped me be prepared for this role. One of the most important ones that I learned from the CEO of EMC Federation, Joe Tucci, was that one can be appointed as a manager of a team, but it is only the team who can choose one as the leader. I am most honored to be chosen by the brilliant and hardworking team at HyperGrid as their next leader and for the Board's faith in my ability to do this job.

From an industry background perspective, prior to co-founding HyperGrid and serving as its CPO, I was the GM for the multi-billion dollar converged cloud software business at HPE, where I had the ability to truly understand how customers are looking for Hybrid solutions increasingly in their cloud journey. Looking further back, I served as SVP leading strategy and R&D for public cloud at the EMC federation of companies (EMC, VMware, RSA) and this experience was a great exposure to how technology companies had to morph in supporting customers push to the Cloud Model. I also had the honor to work closely with the venture team at EMC Ventures and spent time with several cloud startups prior to and after sponsoring investments with that team. The true start of my cloud journey started when I was SVP & GM at RSA for the Enterprise & Consumer Identity protection portfolios, including the flagship SecurID business. Me and my teams got introduced to the power of cloud providers like AWS & Azure as a business transformation and innovation engine that we leveraged to transform our product portfolio to a SaaS model - the lessons learned from that experience was foundational in first hand understanding of the customer drivers, benefits and pain points associated with Cloud adoption.

The experience I gained from these roles not only has contributed to my views on what it means to do them right, but I believe also has shaped my vision for how they can/should be integrated to meet businesses' needs as cloud adoption continues to accelerate and the threat landscape continues to evolve.

VMblog:  The cloud market is evolving rapidly, what's your take on how things stand today in 2019?  What is your current view of the market?

Nair:  As we sit here today, in 2019, there is no question that the number of businesses adopting the cloud for either some or all of their IT architecture and operations continues to accelerate and exceed industry expectations. Gone are the days where cloud adoption was for new companies or new greenfield applications, customers are now migrating their most mission critical applications (We'll have an announcement in a few weeks on how we are partnering with one of the Cloud leaders in assisting with cloud migration planning of one such mission critical application suite).

At the same time, I don't think we've truly realized the full potential of the cloud and that there is plenty of additional new services and benefits businesses can realize as they get better at planning and managing their multi-cloud strategies. I believe the key to making this happen is increased visibility and understanding of their application requirements and the strengths and weaknesses of the various clouds. Parallel to that, we need to provide assurances to businesses adopting the cloud won't become a management or budget nightmare, and that their applications will remain secure and compliant with industry and government regulations. Looking further into 2019, I believe additional exciting trends will become of greater impact in the market, a variety of which I covered in a predictions piece for VMBlog earlier this year.

VMblog:  And where do you see things headed?

Nair:  From my perspective, I believe 2019 will be even more exciting than last year was. From the industry perspective, I expect to see the market experience a bit of a hockey stick in growth - we have officially reached the point where businesses in every market segment have accepted the cloud is in their future, so I believe this will drive the market higher. I also believe the market will continue to see an elevated rate of consolidation driven by traditional data center equipment and cloud providers seeking to improve cross-cloud management capabilities for their vast user bases.

VMblog:  How do you see HyperGrid's differentiation?

Nair:  HyperGrid stands out for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, our flagship Cloud Management Platform (CMP) solution, HyperCloud, combines the power of machine learning and analytics for vastly superior cloud management capabilities across cloud platforms, including AWS, Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and VMware, among others. We do to the public cloud something similar to what Google search indexing does to the internet., our constant crawling and benchmarking of every major public cloud data-center, instance and service running and all the metadata available over the last three years has resulted in a unique datalake that allows for very interesting analytics and capabilities across our platform.

Furthermore, HyperCloud is different than other solutions on the market because the platform takes a proactive approach to cloud planning, cost management, governance, security and compliance for complete transparency into cloud operations without the guesswork. We also recently announced a next-generation cloud governance module, Cloud GovSec, that enables seamless operations and oversight of all cloud assets by providing monitoring, control and policies that do not require security and IT teams to change how they access public cloud resources. It instead operates out of band so that enforcement is pervasive and continuous regardless of how resources are provisioned and managed by developers and other users.

The innovation the HyperGrid team has achieved over the last 12 months, and the validation we have received on it has been truly amazing. Really good stuff, including HyperGrid recently being named a Visionary in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms, and HyperCloud achieving Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud Management Tools Competency status for Cloud Governance.  We have also been listed on the VMware Solutions Exchange and AWS Marketplace, as well as named an Azure Solutions Partner and a Google Cloud Technology Partner, providing a broad range of turnkey capabilities to assist Azure & GCP customers in provisioning and managing workloads in both environments.

VMblog:  It's early, but do you have any initial thoughts on strategy?  What is your vision for the company?

Nair:  Given the market conditions I referenced earlier, I believe the future for HyperGrid is bright! I am focused on two key pillars: continuing to innovate with a focus on solving business challenges rather than for innovation-sake; and, building out HyperGrid's sales, distribution and marketing functions to support the accelerated growth strategy I have set the company on. Our new Cloud GovSec module was a first step on the innovation front and we anticipate having more news on the product front throughout the year.

On the go to market front, we actually just announced three key additions to our executive team. Heading up our sales organization is SVP, Worldwide Sales, David Weier, who will drive our enterprise sales strategies and field operations, expand the sales team to meet increased demand from global enterprises and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and ensure customer success. Said Syed, our new VP & Principal Technologist, Cloud Technology Solutions, who will lead our cloud solution architects and customer success teams, as well as be the lead evangelist for HyperCloud to our customers, partners and developer communities; and work with the Cloud Technology Solutions team to drive adoption of the HyperCloud Platform and leverage its extensibility to deliver verticalized solutions that will be made available via HyperCloud's customer community portals. Lastly, our new VP of Marketing, Peter Lunk, will drive our go to market communications strategy, as well as lead HyperGrid's product line positioning, demand generation, and field marketing efforts.

VMblog:  What do you believe will be your biggest challenge as you take the reins?

Nair:  There are always unforeseen challenges that arise when your assume a new role, however I am entering the CEO position with a lot of support around me, with the fantastic leadership team at HyperGrid, the Board and our industry advisors, strategic design partners & customers. That being said, we are in a hot market so rising above the noise will be the key challenge we all are faced with. I feel like we are have already taken steps to put the company in position to capitalize on the growth opportunities before us, so I am confident that the best has yet to come for HyperGrid!


Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:01 AM by David Marshall
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