Electric Cloud CEO: We automate agile development

An explosion of tools and platforms is making app dev much more complex. Mike Maciag, CEO of Electric Cloud, offers cross-platform workflow and automation to rationalize it all

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Knorr: In this current landscape, as CEO of the company, it has to be fairly challenging for you because there are a lot of open source solutions -- such as GitHub and Hudson and Jenkins. What's the value proposition? What are you delivering that some of the open source solutions out there are not?

Maciag: I actually think the open source trend is helping our company. There are a couple hundred tools, commercial and open source. A typical environment will use a dozen of them. What they don't have in any of those solutions is ... think of it as a manufacturing floor. What's my assembly line? The machine tools sit off the ends of the assembly line, and the assembly line is responsible for moving things from machine tool to machine tool, and for gathering good data to make decisions on how the whole process is running.

That's where Electric Commander fits in. We are 100 percent compatible and work very well with things like Git and GitHub on the source code repository side. For their build, for their continuous integration engine, [developers] are using stuff like Hudson or Jenkins. That makes an immense amount of sense to us. You know, all the way down to their attached frameworks -- if I'm using the HP ALM suite or Quality Center it would be a great thing to be doing, all the way through that process. This proliferation of tools is really creating a need for bringing them together in one environment where I can run my processes and report on what's going on and be able to manage this entire thing from end to end.

Knorr: In terms of the basic technology, would you characterize what you do as workflow and workflow management?

Maciag: Yeah, you would characterize it as automation, workflow management, and resource management. And when you put those things together, what it allows you to do is run any development process on any platform. We divorce what gets done from where it gets done.

Knorr: Where do you stand on platform as a service? A year ago, I would talk to people and there was no way that enterprise developers were going near any of these PaaS platforms. That's changing now. There seems to be quite a bit of interest on the enterprise development side. And they are pretty much totally integrated platforms, so how do you compete against those types of plays?

Maciag: I think platform as a service is analogous to the tool explosion that's happening. The PaaS players do a really good job of dealing with a particular stack from front to back and not a heterogeneous set of tools or a heterogeneous set of stacks. Even in the enterprise, where PaaS is getting adopted, they may be using Engine Yard for Ruby or they'll be using VMware for something else, but they still need a way to integrate these all into one environment. They'll end up using Electric Commander in conjunction with a lot of those environments as well.

Knorr: Are you talking about a sort of a meta level to manage and coordinate multiple environments?

Maciag: Yes. Our customers are typically enterprises that have heterogeneous development environments, numerous different platforms, and numerous different targets that they need to be building their software for. These are companies like Cisco or General Motors or Chrysler or Morgan Stanley or Huawei or Barclay Capital -- those types of companies.

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