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In S2 episode 19, we’re diving into the challenges of the public cloud with Jonathan Seelig- Co-Founder at Ridge, and asking the all-important question; how will the cloud keep up with IoT’s natural evolution? 📲☁️

Sit back, relax, tune in and be the first to discover…

  • Jonathan’s background ☁️
  • What does Ridge do? ☁️
  • What problems do we face with public cloud and IoT? What architectures offer opportunities? ☁️
  • What solutions has Ridge Distributed Cloud enabled for IoT? ☁️
  • How can cloud and Ridge cloud in particular, support the innovations as we continue to progress? ☁️
  • What do you envision for cloud and IoT in the future?☁️
  • And much more!

ABOUT THE GUESTS

Jonathan Seelig is the Co-Founder, Chairman & Chief Evangelist at Ridge, the world’s most flexible cloud, that unlocks the full potential of cloud-native computing through it’s distributed cloud architecture.

Episode Transcript

Tom White
Welcome back to The IoT Podcast guys. As always, I’m your host, Tom White. Today, we are joined by Jonathan Seelig. Jonathan is the Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Evangelist at Ridge, but world’s most flexible, cloud, rich, and lots of full potential of Cloud Native Computing through its distributed cloud architecture. Guys, as usual, before we get into it, please don’t forget to like, comment, and subscribe to the show, to be notified whenever there’s a new episode. And as always, I don’t care how you’re connected, just as long as you’re connected. Jonathan, welcome to The IoT Podcast Show.

Jonathan Seelig
Thank you very much.

Tom White
Pleasure to have you here. To kick off as usual, for those that haven’t done a bit of research on yourself or on Ridge, could you explain a little bit about your background and how it is you, you know, came to Found or Co-Found Ridge?

Jonathan Seelig
Absolutely. So I am a very long time, infrastructure geek. I’ve been working in the infrastructure space around telecom and the internet for close to three decades at this point. The first company that I started in the space I started 24 years ago, a company called Akamai Technologies, which is the world’s first content delivery network, or CDN. And at Akamai, what we help to do is we help content providers get new levels of scalability, performance and reliability on the web. And we did this by giving them highly distributed infrastructure where traditionally, content providers had hosted their content in a single location, somewhere on premises or in data centre, we came in and said Hey, why isn’t your stuff living all over the world, if your users are all over the world, why not have proximity to them with the actual physical infrastructure that your content is being delivered from? So we pioneered that idea about 25 years ago.

Jonathan Seelig
And if you look at the world today, there isn’t a content provider that thinks that the way that they should scale up their delivery infrastructure is by buying more servers and load balancers and routers in a single location. But rather, everybody uses some form of content delivery infrastructure, which is highly distributed. So my background really is an infrastructure with sort of a kind of pioneering role, I guess, I would say, without sounding too, you know, immodest, in in distributed infrastructure for specifically content. In the case of aka mine. I co founded Ridge almost four years ago, with my two co founders, near sheffey, Maddie learner, and we started ridge with the idea that the modern application stack the way that applications are being developed today in what is being referred to as sort of a cloud native application development framework. Those types of applications would also benefit as did content 25 years ago, from distributed infrastructure, that infrastructure that is deployed all over the world, giving an application owner, the ability through a single API, to run a cloud native application in lots and lots of different places, is going to be a very valuable infrastructure capability. And so that’s what we’ve been working on at Ridge, we’ve been working on building managed services that can be run in, as I said, a very highly distributed and very diverse environment. That’s things like a fully managed Kubernetes service for deploying and scaling application workloads, secure and scalable and durable object store object storage in a highly distributed environment, the ability to run containerized applications in in a distributed environment. And we’ve done this by deploying our infrastructure in hundreds of pops around the world. And so the idea has been to pioneer again, as we did at Akamai for content, very distributed, very performant. very scalable infrastructure for the application stack.

Tom White
Excellent. Thank you so much for that intro, Jonathan. And for people that aren’t aware, you know, Akamai has gone on to have nearly 8000 employees, tremendous growth as a business, you know, your background and infrastructure. And I think you’ve been quite modest, you know, and the various boards that you’ve sat on, etc in the past in which you’re very well suited to be a co founder of written Some of the stuff that you guys are doing is really, really very interesting. So appreciate the intro. jumping, jumping straight into it. It’s been widely spoken about that there we face problems around public cloud, right? Especially with IoT and the emergence of varying IoT devices. What what sort of architects architectures and opportunities do we look at here, you know, what one of rich doing to address some of these concerns?

Jonathan Seelig
So, you know, the was the first and foremost, we have obviously been reading a lot of light and seeing and experiencing a lot of light around, you know, reliability and performance challenges with the, with cloud infrastructure. With that said, you know, let me be very clear, the hyperscale clouds are amazing, right? I mean, that what AWS has built with GCP, is built with Azure have built with DigitalOcean, and many others have built are very, very impressive. You know, infrastructure capabilities. Sure, there’s an Amazon fill in AWS failure, or an Azure failure, you know, now and again, but there they are very capable, very effective infrastructure platforms, what those infrastructures are not, is flexible, and diverse in where they will allow you to deploy workloads, the hyper scalars as tremendous as they are, have built very large, very scalable, reliable performance data centres in a very small number of places.

Jonathan Seelig
And one of the things that the IoT community has been grappling with, in the last many, many years is, as we start to try to integrate more data, as we start to pull more and more information off of the factory floor, in the case of a sort of a, you know, a locality based IoT collection point, or the world at large as we think about devices roaming around and scooters and bikes and cars, and people and sweaters and watches and whatever else people are going to have IoT embedded into, as we start to think about the quantity of data that is being generated, and the diversity of locales across which that’s happening. The idea that we’re going to collect all of that back into east to, or Frankfurt is, you know, sort of patently absurd, in my opinion, we’ve never seen an infrastructure capability that becomes massively popular, that starts to gain massive adoption scale, through centralised infrastructure technologies.

Jonathan Seelig
You know, we stopped putting a single switchboard in, you know, in the basement of a BT facility in London and switching all the calls, and we started to spread them out, we stopped putting, you know, single routers in, you know, in one area and the network for a single egress point from wireless networks that we’re designing, and we’ve started to put them all over, right, the way that we scale is by giving more access, more distribution more, more diversity, and our view around what we see the reason we started rich, the opportunity that we saw in starting Ridge was that lots of different application types, and lots of different application owners in the DevOps world are starting to either already or you know, have an impending need for distributed capabilities.

Jonathan Seelig
Now, that might mean you want to be in 100 different places around the world, it might mean that you want to be in three very specific places, it might mean that you’re perfectly happy on the public cloud for part of what you do. But you’ve got an existing infrastructure relationship, somewhere that is important to you that you don’t want to be moving out of, and you want that as part of your overall architecture. So our question at ridged has always been, how do we give the application owner immense levels of flexibility around where they’re going to be able to run modern applications? By modern applications? We mean, these cloud native services, again, managed Kubernetes, managed containers managed object storage, these services that are sort of the hallmark of how a brand new modern application is being developed, deployed, and orchestrated.

Tom White
Yeah, I think it’s remarkable, really. I mean, as you say, you know, what the hyperscalers have done is fantastic. However, there’s room there’s room for other people in this right.

Jonathan Seelig
I mean, have we ever seen an infrastructure capability and infrastructure service where three companies dominated the entire Yeah, it doesn’t doesn’t happen.

Tom White
Yeah. Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. So to talk more about Ridge in particular Ridge cloud, you know, what is what is the idea been supporting the various innovations in this space? And how do you think it’s going to progress, you know, in time.

Jonathan Seelig
So what we’ve built at at Ridge is we’ve built a cloud, we’ve built a cloud computing infrastructure, that gives application owners the ability to run cloud native applications in many different places around the world. Either places, they already have existing infrastructure relationships, and where some of their infrastructure is already deployed and operating, or in new, diverse locales, where they are going to need infrastructure capabilities, what we see is sort of an emerging computing model that we think will help IoT players combine the benefits of what people have been calling sort of the edge of the network, and the public cloud capabilities. That’s what we’ve been working on offering it rich is the ability to give this sort of unified distributed cloud, having a single standards based API and way of engaging with the Ridge infrastructure in the Ridge cloud. While giving the opportunity to deploy workloads across a multiplicity of locations, and in many diverse locations, one of the things that we are, you know, very aware of, in the core infrastructure world, is that in many, many places around the world, there are existing service providers, who are a superlative provider of space, power and connectivity, who very often have fantastic customer relationships in those markets, right? The traditional PTTs, the traditional telcos, in lots of markets, as much as you know, as that business has changed over time, those service providers continue to this day to have the best locations, the largest collection of points of presence all over the country that they operate in the best connectivity, and customer relationships with lots and lots of people in those markets. For a new service provider, even somebody as powerful and capable as an AWS or GCP, or an Azure to, you know, come into Switzerland, and you know, try to out infrastructures Swisscom isn’t going to happen, right? They’ll partner with them, there’ll be a customer of theirs. But it turns out that the best points of presence in that geography are owned by that telco in Spain, you can’t get better points of presence than what telephony phones. And so one of the things that we believe very strongly, is that by partnering with existing service providers, who are invariably in those markets, the best providers of space power connectivity, that we can help to build the most high functioning, the most performant cloud capability in that market. Are you going to bet your IoT collection business on a cloud that has 15 different locations across Spain, all deployed in Telefonica, you know, pops and data centres or a single data centre in Frankfurt run by AWS that needs to get all the data back from Spain?

Tom White
And I think that I think that’s one of the primary selling points, right, is the fact that this distributed cloud, it’s almost the same as if you look at security protocols for storage 15-20 years ago, right, you know, you’d have a raid setup on a computer, and then you’d have off site storage, and then you, you’d ensure that this was safe from an infrastructure point of view. And it’s logical. And I think that’s the main thing, isn’t it, logic would state that you’re not solely reliant or reliant upon a couple of data centres that may that may be quite large or could be prone to attacks. Right. And this is another big concern, isn’t it?

Jonathan Seelig
In the early days of the CDN at Akamai, we went to early content providers who were very often working with very established, you know, service providers in the market that they were in, and our pitch there to many of our earliest customers was, would you rather be in one place or in 12 places? And it’s a pretty simple choice when you start frame it that way.

Tom White
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And where are we going with all of this, Jonathan, in terms of envisioning the cloud for the future, and then linking this back to obviously, our audience and their interest in IoT? I mean, how much will cloud need to evolve in order to support this? Because we’ve made some fantastic, you know, inroads at the moment. I mean, the whole concept of distributed cloud is a logical, but great step. And what Rich is doing is great, but what’s the next step after that?

Jonathan Seelig
You know, with my historically unbelievably foggy, crystal ball, in you know, what I will, sort of the way that I think of this and describe it is not that there’s going to be a kind of radical redefinition of cloud or a radical kind of, you know, oh, why were we doing it that way? We’re gonna, you know, all do it this way. Now, it’s going to be called Cloud to Dotto or I don’t know, you know, the My belief is that, what we will see is, in fact, sort of an expansion in concentric circles of infrastructure, resources and capabilities out there in the world. This, you know, we talked a little bit about this term, edge. And what does that actually mean? Well, we didn’t talk about what it actually means we sort of use the word without talking about what it actually means. And it’s a word that I’ve been sort of using in various different contexts for over two decades. And it’s always meant something different, you know, over time, what I see happening currently in the, in the infrastructure and the cloud world, is that the infrastructure that’s out there today that people consider to be, you know, if you ask me today, what’s the public cloud, they’ll tell you? Oh, it’s AWS. Okay, it’s, it’s more than that, obviously. But to me, what people are today, sort of defining as the public cloud will, in fact, be seen as, as core infrastructure assets, that will be a fundamental sort of backbone, of compute and of computational storage, and other resources for application owners. But I think what we’re gonna see is we’re going to see these sort of these concentric circles get built out, it kind of expanding from there, to give the application owner in the first instance, simply a broader set of geographies with many of the same functionalities and capabilities. Subsequently, I think we’re going to move into this sort of 5g Edge compute mode, where we’re really going to take advantage of the infrastructure assets deployed by mobile operators and across the, the the mobile carrier, you know, sort of ecosystem, and we’ll get an even more distributed tier of infrastructure capability. And then the next concentric circle sort of beyond that is probably going to be very much driven by what the IoT community builds, it looks for and requires in terms of, you know, latency and throughput from the edge devices that the IoT industry gets deployed. And, you know, and builds, use cases for and the infrastructure to which it’s going to need to connect. So one of the reasons that at Ridge we’re quite fascinated by what’s going on in IoT is because we do view it as kind of the tip of the spear of how distributed application capability is going to need to be.

Tom White
Yeah, no, completely. And I think that’s a really good synopsis. I think one of the big problems that we’ve had in the IoT world, and it’s been spoken about here quite a few times is a common understanding a common platform and agreement. In order for devices to talk together, you know, last few episodes was filled with talking about permanent roaming and how you know, that can help and he seems, etc. In order to keep things going, right, in essence, what in your view, some of the limitations that we’ve had around cloud and things and obstacles that we’re going to have to cover get past in order to keep progressing what what does that look like? And you know, are there any major stumbling blocks it?

Jonathan Seelig
Well, one of the biggest stumbling blocks, I would say in how application owners will be able to take advantage of the sort of next generation of infrastructure capabilities and of deployment models that are that are going to be out there including but not limited to clearly, Ridge, one of the big things that we see some challenge with is the level of vendor locking that application owners often unintentionally end up with to a single public cloud provider. You know, like all good businesses, if the hyper scalars are able to kind of lock you into their platform, and make the the switching costs quite high, make the, you know, egress of your data, very costly, make the development kind of cost that you’ve put into building your application, and the development resources that you’ve put into your application yields an offering that can only run in their proprietary environments. You know, they’d love that everybody wants customer locking, everybody wants a customer who is going to have a really, really hard time, you know, leaving.

Jonathan Seelig
And so one of the things that we do end up spending a fair amount of time talking to the developer community around you know about is, when you are using proprietary tools from, you know, anybody, a cloud provider, software provider or a hardware provider, just make sure that you have a very high level of sensitivity to and awareness of the extent to which that means you must always run on their infrastructure. And to me, I think one of the most kind of important things for the IoT community as it’s developing next generation applications and edge applications and higher throughput and latency sensitive, you know, applications as more kind of next generation interesting functionality is getting built. Just having a very, very strong level of awareness around whether you are or are not putting yourselves in a vendor locked kind of situation. And if you are doing that, are you doing it intentionally? And are you getting some benefit for right? I’m not saying that nobody should ever use the proprietary technologies that the hyper scalars offer that, that do, in fact, kind of lock you into their platform a little bit. But just rather than if you do it, you go in eyes wide open, saying, Okay, I’m making this as a concerted and intentional choice.

Tom White
Yeah, I mean, thank you, the vendor lock conundrum, is an interesting one. And suddenly, I’ve spoken about with both commercial gain, protecting IP locking people in, but also it’s juxtapose with the community spirit and the advancement of technology. Right. Yeah. And, and, you know, I wonder just if there is a way in which somehow we can allow a non vendor locking situation, but with, you know, elements or royalties or some description back to view, the originator somehow to keep to keep this expanding, because otherwise, we’re always going to be limited by by these situations. And it’s, and it’s played some Yeah, I Well, IoT devices, right?

Jonathan Seelig
Yeah, you’re actually right, we have been very much of the opinion that Kubernetes is a significant technology in this particular you know, kind of philosophical approach to development, if you want to call it that, we are seeing more and more application owners committing to what they are building in the in the Kubernetes environment. In significant part, because it simply means that they know that they are going to be able to pick it up and run it somewhere else if they want to. They’ve by building something that is fully, you know, Cloud Native Computing Foundation compliant and complies to the spec. They know that they’ve given themselves the flexibility to pick up their workloads tomorrow from their current vendor and drop them down at some other certified managed Kubernetes offering and it will run. Yeah, absolutely.

Tom White
And Jonathan move moving forward at what’s next for Ridge can we expect to see?

Jonathan Seelig
Well, we are, you know, a relatively early stage company. As I said, we’ve been around for close to four years, which in the startup world, I think to some people sounds like a long time. But for those of us who’ve built infrastructure startups in our career, it’s not it takes time to build infrastructure. It takes time to build a reliable and scalable and 100 plus location cloud. which is what we’ve done at ridge. So we’re just now at the point in our kind of business evolution where the ramp up of customers onto the platform is building and where we’re getting to see the, you know, really the exciting kind of fruits of our, of our labour and building this infrastructure, which is seeing application owners use your infrastructure and be just unbelievably, you know, thrilled that they chose to work with you because you give them the performance and the reliability and the scalability that they’ve been seeking. So right now at Ridge, we’re all about kind of building our customer base, finding more and more use cases for this distributed, geographically diverse cloud. That’s, that’s our current focus.

Tom White
Excellent. Well, look, you know, I mean, you’ve as I said, at the start of the show you fantastic background, your co founders have a great background. And, you know, this is no mean feat. You know, and just just to reiterate that four years isn’t a long time, especially in the world in which you’re in. These things don’t happen overnight. And, and I think I think our listeners and viewers are definitely going to be aware of that. It’s been wonderful having you on and learning more about religion. I really thank you for your time today. It’s been been absolutely really interesting. And I’ve got a question for you from our previous guests. Actually, yes. And I thought, I thought this might be quite a poignant one and something that you’d like to talk about. So as a reminder, so Rashid centre, head of IoT portfolio management at Telia has asked you, what role do you see service providers play in order to help enterprises on their journey to the cloud?

Jonathan Seelig
Yeah. So it’s a question that I’m very happy to answer because we think about it a lot. Our partners that ridge in building our cloud on which we run our, you know, our customers workloads, and which is the underlying infrastructure for the rich cloud is all built in partnership with existing service providers in lots of different markets around the world. As I said earlier, in the podcast, in so many geographies around the world, there is a local provider who is outstanding in terms of space, power, connectivity, reliability service, they’re billing the customer in their currency in their language, their, you know, their, their support team is staffed the right hours of the day, right, all of those things are important in the selection of a service provider. We think that the existing service providers out there in the world are a vital part of building the distributed cloud of the future, they will be a participant in that, just like they have been a participant in building the internet and the data centres and the hosting facilities and the you know, virtualized, you know, server in businesses, all of those infrastructure offerings have have relied on the existing infrastructure of existing service providers. So we view them as absolutely critical in, in what gets built from an enterprise perspective, they’re even more critical, because many of these enterprises in these different geographies already have an existing customer relationship with those service providers. And what they would like to do from what we’ve understood from many of them is to continue that business relationship with that service provider, so long as that service provider can help to bring them the modern application stack which they want today for their newest applications. And so, you know, the in answer to, you know, an answer to the question, I just think that they are a vital part of this next generation of cloud infrastructure. They might have been, you know, the, the hyper scalars perhaps had a little bit more of an ability to marginalise them and sort of reduce their value in the, you know, in the ecosystem, when the types of applications that were being brought to these cloud providers were monolithic, centralised, sure you want to run a nice to find out does not going to work there, you want to run in Secaucus, New Jersey instead because you ran out of space in, you know, used to, okay, fine, run it there. What happens when that same application owner needs lots of different geographies that are in fact, kind of best served by the existing service providers? Well, it puts that existing service provider in a very good strategic position, you know, for visibly the market. And so so we think that there’s a huge opportunity for the existing service providers. We do think, however, that one of the things they need to do is to be able to say to their customers, yes, I know how to help you with modern capabilities, not Just with, you know, two 510 and 25 year old capabilities.

Tom White
Fabulous onset, Jonathan. Thank you. Where can people find out more about reach?

Jonathan Seelig
We are on the web@ridge.co. I am Jonathan J. Na Tha n@ridge.co. Please feel free to reach out happy to connect and chat with people. Happy to give you a demo account on our cloud to be able to see what we’ve built and kick the tires. And very much looking forward to the conversations that come from this conversation that you and I have had today.

Tom White
Excellent. Jonathan, thank you so much for joining us on the IoT podcast show.

Jonathan Seelig
My pleasure. Thanks, Tom. And as usual,

Tom White
guys, follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter the IoT podcast, check out the website, the IoT podcast.com where you can watch this and previous episodes, it would be great to hear your thoughts on where you envision cloud and IoT going into the future. Please do get involved in the comments. We’re building a wonderful community here, and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode. As always, cheers

The IoT Podcast Team

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