Part 1: Actively Managing your Global Cloud Infrastructure: Webscale CEO in Conversation with Cuppa Commerce

by | Jun 25, 2019

Andrew Humber

Andrew hails from the UK, but headed for the warmer Bay Area climate over a decade ago. When he’s not being Webscale’s VP of Marketing, he’s a husband, father, dog walker, wine taster, and hopeless home improver.

This is a three-part blog series. In Part 1, we introduce Webscale, how we work with hyperscale cloud providers, and discuss the challenges commerce brands face when working with a hyperscale cloud provider directly.

Our CEO Sonal Puri joined Doug Hollinger, President and Chief Content Officer at Concierge Commerce, for the Cuppa Commerce podcast, where he interviews industry insiders and experts that are influencing the way we sell online. The Cuppa Commerce podcast discusses where digital commerce is headed – and how digital and e-commerce professionals can maximize return on their investments.

Below are some of the most interesting excerpts from Sonal and Doug’s conversation.

Introduction to Webscale

Doug: I notice Webscale builds itself as the e-commerce cloud company; a little nuance there. So I was going to ask you what that means to you, and how is this different than maybe the normal players we hear about?

Sonal: What Webscale’s technology stack does is we focus on web applications and we focus on those applications that tend to serve customers, either they’re B2B or B2C, or even B2E. Any kind of transaction on the internet is an application stack that Webscale can support.

We have marketed ourselves as the e-commerce cloud company, and now, we’re looking at the Digital Cloud company because the term e-commerce has evolved, as you know. Our technology is not limited to e-commerce – we are deep technology behind the scenes in terms of things like predictive auto-scaling or security for web applications, or high availability, or even content performance.

If you see the market and how they would like to consume these services, bundling everything in a very simple to manage solution, and then leveraging the public cloud to deliver that solution stack, has made the most sense for us. So we call ourselves the E-commerce Cloud company. We focus on the infrastructure side of the story.

In every relationship, there’s pretty much three players. There’s our customer, there’s our development partner that’s building the front end of the website and the look and feel, and then there’s Webscale that has all the plumbing behind the scenes. We leverage the public cloud. We have customers that use AWS, GCP, Azure, CenturyLink, Rackspace even, we’ve got a handful of customers in Alibaba, we’re integrated with the Oracle cloud, so we’re pretty broad in our multi-cloud approach.

How we work with hyperscale cloud providers

Doug: Interesting. Let’s pick up on that because those big 800-pound gorillas in cloud hosting, beyond AWS – you mentioned some of them as well as there’s Azure, and Google has offerings, and Oracle and everybody else. Could you go a little bit deeper into how Webscale either leverages those or competes with those providers?

Sonal: Absolutely. The world that I grew up in, so 20 years of my career in this space, was one of servers. And then those servers became virtualized instances and now, we have infrastructure on-demand. The world of delivering things like scaling or security or performance in the traditional way just didn’t make a lot of sense anymore.

So the way that Webscale sees the world is, these large hyper-scale providers, your AWS, GCP, Azure, are providing enough infrastructure-on-demand, of any shape and size you can imagine, to be consumed by people providing services, using them as a platform.

Webscale uses Infrastructure as-a-Service. We are multi-cloud enabled, but only for the instances themselves or the infrastructure itself. And then all of the services that run on top of those instances are Webscale’s software. So the security is our software. The predictive auto-scaling is our software. The performance benefits, caching, content optimization, dynamic caching, all of that, the bot management, the image management, that’s all Webscale’s software that runs on top of these hyperscale providers.

Challenges commerce brands face when working with a hyperscale cloud provider directly

Sonal: Hyperscale providers do provide the ability to build-in a firewall or to build-in auto-scaling themselves. You may come out of this conversation thinking, “Why wouldn’t I just go to AWS, buy my infrastructure, and load up a firewall, and set-up my auto-scaling clusters and do it myself?”

It’s not that easy!

There’s a massive skills gap in the way that you consume these services. And Webscale does a lot more. We take our software, we take Infrastructure as-a-Service, and we bring it together in a very easy to use portal, with a simple interface for our customers. And then we make sure that it’s always right sized, so the customer is never spending too much.

It’s built to serve platforms that are specific to digital commerce. So the Magento universe, the WordPress WooCommerce universe, Drupal, Joomla, CustomCart, PrestaShop, any application stack you can imagine, we’ve actually done deep work in building out cloud migration, cloud automation, and all of the strategies for these application platforms. So we’ve leveraged the best of all worlds to get to that finish line where, for the customer, it’s just this beautiful piece of software that does what they need it to do.

Doug: So in some ways, you can use them as the sort of raw commodity, or the horsepower, right, that fuels this. But you put a lot of stuff in there in terms of managing the business and right-sizing and the security and all of those pieces.

Sonal: That’s exactly right. And like you said, it’s just leveraging them as commodity, which is the way we look at it. Like bit delivery is commodity, infrastructure itself is commodity. It’s all utility, and it’s commodity. So why not consume it like a utility like you consume electricity? There’s no reason for us to build a global network that has all this functionality. If I sign a customer today in any part of the world, like if I signed a new customer in London, I can bring up infrastructure in London without ever having to travel there using one of ten cloud providers that provide services in London or Ireland for example. The world has become that straightforward.

Doug: It’s pretty amazing. Like you said, in the last 20 years, what happened versus having to go and procure servers and set up your own stuff.

Sonal: It’s great actually.


For the next part of this blog series, click here.

Access the full podcast at this link.

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