Virtana looks to broaden their cloud optimization market with Optimize free version

Virtana Optimize’s Free Tier offering is aimed both at companies a little smaller than Virtana’s traditional Global 2000 base, as well as at departments within larger companies as part of a ‘land and expand’ strategy.

Alex Thurber, Virtana’s CRO

San Jose-based Virtana has released a free version of Virtana Optimize, their cloud optimization solution which is a part of the company’s growing cloud business. The Free Tier offering, which complements the Premium version of Virtana Optimize, lets users connect one cloud provider data source, be provided with up to 25 recommendations, and has no expiry period. It lets users gain the same benefits of the Virtana Optimize cloud optimization technology, including bill analysis, cost vs utilization analysis, rightsizing, and idle resource recommendations.

Virtana started out in life as Virtual Instruments, a high-flying startup with an infrastructure performance management platform, VirtualWisdom, that didn’t quite break through, and which led to a 2016 merger with LoadDynamiX. They then acquired Metricly in 2019, which brought them the technology that became its public cloud analysis offering, and later that year rebranded the company to Virtana.

“We have this great amount of experience in understanding how an infrastructure works, from our VirtualWisdom private cloud management and monitoring product,” said Alex Thurber, Virtana’s CRO. “A year ago, we expanded further into the cloud with Virtana Platform, our hybrid cloud infrastructure optimization product. This has become very valuable because companies were told ‘Go to the Cloud.’ Those who did often encountered challenges, and they came back 70% of the time. We can help them make their journey to the cloud in a more intelligent way. What we have done now is expand our addressable market to do that with a new freemium product.”

Today, Virtana’s business is split about 50-50 between their legacy solutions and the newer cloud business.

“One of the key differentiators of our cloud piece is we have access to that data in the data centre,” Thurber said. “Virtana Platform is focused on migration and management once you are in the cloud. We do a lot of work around application interdependency. Few companies understand their application interdependency, which means they encounter challenges because they don’t always move the right workloads as part of the application, and when they do move the high data ones, their bill is off the charts.”

The free version of Optimize will let Virtana use a ‘try and buy’ approach to introduce their cloud technology to more customers.

“The biggest purpose with this optimized module is to address the problems of the many companies who have already started the transition to cloud, but don’t know what’s happening,” Thurber said. “The process is very complicated, and  companies often start but have no way of monitoring the configuration, so that they are basically flying blind. With this, we can show the ideal optimization for say AWS, and show where they are spending their money. We show them their configurations, and show where they are way overprovisioned. Our Freemium tier allows our prospects to see just how good our technology is. Ideally, they expand their use and we turn them into a paying customer, but they can run the Freemium version forever if they like.”

The Optimize free version provides bill analysis, a cost savings dashboard, cost vs utilization reports, and the top 25 EC2/VM Right Sizing Recommendations and Idle Resource Report Recommendations.

Virtana is targeting specific types of customers with the free version of Optimize.

“The public cloud is becoming more critical, which expands the broad base of customers we have been talking to about the Virtana Platform,” Thurber stated. “We see this expanding our ability to go into newer companies, especially in the mid-tier. It is also useful for targeting specific departments within larger companies, as part of a ‘land and expand’ strategy.”

The shift to the cloud has both changed the nature of Virtana’ channel and made it more important to the company. Virtana has had a channel since its inception, but it was neither particularly effective nor very strategic to the business.

“I was asked to join because of my channel background,” said Thurber, who has an extensive background in largely channel-facing roles at companies which include Cisco, McAfee, WatchGuard, BlackBerry, and most recently Pulse Secure. “Before that, our channel was more of a fulfilment story. This year, we have completely rewritten the channel program, and simplified it, from one that was so complex that we didn’t enforce all the rules. We also significantly reduced the number of partners, to a strong core group.”

The shift in emphasis to the cloud platform has also changed the profile of some of the top partners.

“With the move to cloud platform and hybrid model, we are talking to real value- added partners,” Thurber said. “We don’t actually do the data movement. We work with partners who do move the data though, and we work with the big cloud companies around this as well. We are committed to doing things through the channel and succeeding with our mutual customers.”