Petr Svoboda, Stratox Cloud Native: Making life easier for developers

Petr Svoboda, Stratox Cloud Native: Making life easier for developers
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Petr Svoboda, CEO at Stratox Cloud Native, explains how CodeNow is making cloud-native development fast and enjoyable for everyone.

Could you start by telling us a little bit more about CodeNOW?

CodeNOW is a true startup. That means we are working hard to create a platform that simplifies cloud-native software development, especially when based on a micro-service architecture. We are trying to make cloud-native development fast and enjoyable for mere mortals. Especially, I would say, for developers who are not yet that savvy around the infrastructure and setup needs.    

We are able to abstract away the complexity of cloud infrastructure management and automate many of the common and repetitive tasks. The platform as such increases productivity and we hope it would make cloud-native development fun again.

When and how did you get started?

CodeNOW was founded in 2019 and the platform came out of beta in 2020. We are now looking to expand our company to the US and have set up a company there.

Setting up shop in the US is a serious step forward for you and the company!

Yep, you could say that. We have just opened a small office in San Francisco and have hired our first sales staff. The process is still slow but I’m happy it seems to be taking off, we are getting great feedback and have managed to land our first customers. We are very confident in the future and continued expansion.

Is CodeNow a part of the software delivery enterprise, Stratox?

Exactly. Stratox is essentially a set of companies. CodeNOW was bootstrapped originally from my own pocket combined with revenue generated by Stratox’s delivery of professional services. As not only us but also the market and investors saw the potential and CodeNOW kept growing, we decided to accept some investment and are using this to scale-up.

So how can companies benefit from using CodeNOW?

Well, CodeNOW was conceived during my time working as an architect for IBM where I was mostly responsible for delivering large transformation projects. I encountered a lot of inefficiencies in the development and deployment process and was shocked by the time wasted that was caused by developers basically twiddling their thumbs and waiting for others to finish their job. This led me to the thought that money could be saved by empowering developers with smart self-servicing technology. 

If you as a developer have the need to spin up a new database, cache, message broker, or similar infrastructure component, you really should not need to wait for others. Removing this delay in the development process will massively increase overall productivity and the value created during the software development process. 

So, that was the original idea. In addition, we found that especially developers employed at larger companies, or working as contractors are typically not getting a lot of time to self-learn or to be educated properly around cloud-native technology, tools, and best practices. 

We saw a big opportunity here by abstracting away a lot of complexity below Kubernetes and providing these developers with all the tools and best practices that would be understandable and available for immediate use straight ‘out of the box’.

I hear everyone talking about cloud-native development as this complicated beast. We want to prove the opposite and our mission with CodeNOW is to make developing for micro-service and distributed software architectures frictionless and sustainable.

There’s a lot of talk about Kubernetes but I’m not sure too many people know exactly what it is.

You are right, and unfortunately, not too many people exactly know when it is a good tool to use and when not.

So when would it be a good tool to use?

Well, I’d say it is suitable especially when you are solving horizontal scalability problems. Those cases when you need to operate hundreds or thousands of instances of your business logic. Kubernetes can be of great help with that. As a means to achieve high availability, resilience, etc. I’d say it has mainly a back-end focus. Front-end developers are used to slightly different tooling, and it’s easier for them to survive with their CDNs and other technologies. So not necessarily is Kubernetes the best thing for them. But for back-end developers, and especially for integration with Microsoft, I believe it’s the best tool out there.

Are there any particular trends that you’ve noticed around DevOps this year?

Yes, one trend that we are seeing is a need to almost divide your approach to DevOps. On one side on a platform level, where there’s a need for high-level automation within the enterprise or company. And on the other side an approach to DevOps that is very close to your application development practice and where there’s a need to primarily automate processes around the applications you have in development. 

Companies often think that as soon as they’re using CI/CD pipelines, they have their DevOps practice in place. You sometimes find someone wearing a DevOps badge who is telling the organisation that they are ‘ The DevOps Guy’. I do believe there still exists some lack of understanding however… 

Essentially, DevOps is more about cooperation and automation regardless of who is responsible. It is true that the sheer scale of required knowledge and technologies, makes this difficult, especially for developers, because there are huge infrastructure and operational aspects to it. Typically developers don’t want to bother with those and want to focus on creating the business logic of the app. 

So, a trend we’re seeing is many companies aiming to hire DevOps specialists and make them part of the development team. I personally think that this is probably not the best idea.

Skills always come up whenever we’re talking about technology. Are there enough people in DevOps?

It’s a really scarce resource. Looking at what it takes and what is involved during typical application development, we can see that even the developers themselves struggle in getting the job done. Any specialist is able to serve let’s say 10 people, and beyond that would become overloaded with requests. So the number of people needed that have the right skills is definitely much higher than what is currently available on the market. 

And I believe that’s why we currently see this strong wave in upcoming development platforms, all trying to automate different parts of the process for developers.

You are still a relatively new company and you are already moving to the US. Is there anything else that you’ll be focusing on in the coming years?

We’ve been finalising the SaaS version of our product, which is available immediately for smaller companies. We believe this version is of great value, especially for non-tech founders for example. Our ideal customers for this product are startups that need to manage remote teams and founders who need to take care of remote developers. Companies where speed to market and ease of development is of the essence.

On the other hand, we continue to serve enterprises. In enterprise business, we have proven to be successful with offering CodeNOW as a rapid prototyping tool for MVPs and prototypes that are built cloud-native from the start. 

And I think it’s important to mention that we have reached ISO27k certification, so we therefore can offer enterprises and any company the certainty that CodeNOW is safe and secure from the data perspective. 

Thank you so much for your time! I wish you all the best with your US adventure

Thank you for this interview and yes I’m sure this is going to be a blast! 

Stratox Cloud Native will be in attendance at TechEx Europe in Amsterdam on September 20-21. Register for your free ticket here.

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