Droplet Computing, the story so far. Ramblings from the CTO.
The Droplet Computing Chronicles – Part I
For this blog I’m tweaking the job title of Chief Technology Officer, and substituting the word Technology, for the word Time. Why? Because I wanted to share some of the incredible journey the Droplet Computing team has undertaken over the last six months or so. I’m more used to writing technical biased content, so I’ll apologize that this reads more like the diary of a CTO aged 47 and three quarters. That’s a reference to the Adrian Mole books I read as a child for those who wondered why I referred to my age in that way! Actually, it’s highly likely that there will be some technical bits along the way as I won’t be able to help myself.
Back late last year, as we approached our first product release, one of the top-tier browser vendors, we all know who I mean, changed the way they implemented some of their security features. That unfortunately broke our approach at that time, and so we had a rethink on how we could still deliver on our promise to our customers, but also not to break our patent. So, no pressure then! After careful planning sessions involving the whole team, with guidance from our distributor and core partners, we embarked on reengineering the engine room and the behind the scenes code. It’s like the analogy I use when I speak with customers. When you switch on the lights you don’t worry where the electricity comes from or how it’s generated, right? You just flick the switch and on come the lights. Job done. It’s the same for Droplet Computing. The apps get containerized and you can deliver them on a different OS or platform. You don’t care how it happens, just that it does, and end users can seamlessly use their legacy apps on new hardware and operating systems, or even on a different device. More about that in a bit.
Let’s fast forward to April and May of this year. Engineering effort is in the final last phases, pen testing has successfully been completed, and it’s time to start showing customers and partners what we have been working on and give the web site a bit of a spring clean too (thanks to the team at Envious Digital). It’s like watching the A Team on TV. They bury themselves away in a shed working away, and then once they have finished, they go for the grand reveal. And a grand reveal it was too! The response and feedback we received to the solution and our simplified story was more than overwhelming! Gone were our 10, 20, 30 or so slides, and in came just 2 slides. One with my name on it, as nobody can ever spell it correctly, and the other saying “demo”. Then it is literally that, straight into a demo, on Windows 10, Linux, or MacOS. The reaction from taking this approach was phenomenal. I had already seen it when I presented at the Define Tomorrow event. The first time ever I have under-run on stage presenting! Probably the last for a while too, before marketing tell me I need to get our monies worth from events. However, having spent just 3 minutes out of the 5 allocated on stage with an empty container (I took an empty coffee cup on stage with me to everyone’s amusement), we had generated a huge pipeline of opportunity with end user customers who were looking to solve that legacy app conundrum.
Everyone is talking about Droplet Computing
But it wasn’t just customers that saw the potential. Partners immediately see how they now had a solution to solve a problem they thought, until now, was unsolvable. I’ve also never been on as many interview/blog calls as I have recently either. It all kicked off with a trilogy of articles written by Michelle Laverick, followed by a day recording videos and podcasts with our friends at Computer World. Also had some great conversations with Rory Monaghan and Justin Warren, before going full circle and speaking with the guys over at Chrome Unboxed – the guys that unmasked us about 18 months ago. This time the web site was ready, even though we saw a several thousand percent increase in hits!
So, the next question is “what’s next for Droplet Computing?” A lot of that comes down to our customers and what they are looking for. Maybe containerizing Server OS’s? Maybe we will add a centralized management platform? Maybe support for more mobile devices that may or may not have a type of fruit in their name? Who knows….?
What I can say is that we are working very closely with a number of organizations (I’ll tell you all about them in another post, which actually translates to when I’m allowed to!) who are giving us some great ideas, which we will share as the development effort marches ever onwards. I will, however, use one great quote from a customer, who again, I will credit this too once I can talk about who they are, and that quote was “Droplet Computing has invented offline DaaS”. They want to deliver all the advantages of VDI centralization, but at a fraction of the cost, and on any device, and offline as well as online. Stay tuned for more on this project, and all the others we are working actively on as we continue to roll out containers into production for them.
But for now it’s time for me to take a deep breath, get my technical hat back on, pack my bag, and get back on site with our customers and continue redefining application delivery.