[Executive Interview] Lior Koriat, CEO Quali

Recently, YourDailyTech sat down with Lior Koriat, CEO of Quali to find how they’re accelerating and improving the DevOps process

Over the next few years we want to unshackle all sorts of environments across any stage of dev-test-production-ops lifecycle on any cloud and help our customers hit the turbo button on accelerating innovation.

Lior Koriat has served as Quali’s CEO since November, 2008. Lior previously served as COO and Vice-President of R&D, since the beginning of 2007. Prior to Quali, Lior was founder and CEO of Intellitech Engineering Mechanical & Aviation Ltd., and has over 20 years of experience in system and software engineering in the fields of avionics, robotics, communications, control, real-time and embedded applications, algorithms and audio/video streaming. Lior led and managed large scale and complex technology programs including projects in the fields of flight simulation, unmanned ground vehicles and C4I systems. He holds a Bachelor’s degree with honors in computer science and economics from Tel Aviv University.

Quali is a leading provider of enterprise sandbox software for cloud and DevOps automation. With its flagship CloudShell platform and blueprint-based approach, Quali gives Dev/Test teams, sales and support professionals, as well as architects, access to on-demand, self-service replicas of complex production environments that work on private, public and hybrid cloud deployments.

What’s your professional background prior to joining Quali?

I come from both a technical and a business background. By education I’m a computer science major with an economics background from the Tel Aviv university. Early in my career I used to fly military aircraft, and after my service I founded Intellitech Engineering. My focus at Intellitech was system and software engineering in the fields of avionics, robotics, communications, control, real-time and embedded applications and algorithms.

Early in 2007 I had the opportunity to join Quali as its VP of Engineering and soon became the company’s COO and subsequently the CEO by the end of 2008. For those coming from a defense background, it is always interesting to see how state-of-the art technologies gradually mainstream to private industry at large. My background helped to look a bit further into the future and “align the puck” where it needed to be.

I was also fortunate to have an amazing team come join Quali at critical phases to drive innovation and sales and today we can claim to be one of the leading cloud management and automation companies in the industry.

How did Quali get started?

Quali was founded to tap into automation trends much before it became a buzzword today. Automation is in our DNA. The company had its genesis in Israel. The founders of Quali and I were always passionate about test automation. We developed a platform called TestShell that quickly became a runaway success and was considered by many as the Industry gold standard.

Subsequently we realized the trend was towards infrastructure automation, as that was where the complexity was. We focused on attacking that problem and developed a new software platform called CloudShell which helped us gain entry into several of the Global 100s. As IT environments became more complex, we started to realize the value of automating these environments and delivering them as a service, on-demand and across any cloud – public, private or hybrid. This is what we’re doing today – we are the best in-class solution for delivering environments-as-a-service on any cloud.

While we were originally cracking the problem for cloud providers, telcos, technology vendors and large enterprise, the needs of digitization have broadened our appeal to mainstream and mid-tier enterprises now and our market footprint is rapidly expanding.

Today we have evolved to providing all all aspects of intelligent automation and orchestration solutions for a variety of dev/test and other use-cases, saving our customers millions of dollars in their budgets in addition to helping them with their agile IT requirements.

A majority of our customers are in North America. However, we have a significant presence in Europe and an expanding presence in the Asia Pacific region.

What’s the biggest pain point that organizations have in terms of IT infrastructure?

Motivated by digitization, competitive disruption and in a bid to improve cost efficiencies most companies are embracing technology and software to radically improve and even shift their business models. There is a top down emphasis on speed, service delivery and customer experience.

So, IT as well as application development teams in particular are often incentivized to move into faster release delivery cycles and time to market is critical. In this context, infrastructure often becomes a bottleneck. Many enterprises, and even service providers have large infrastructure investments made over several decades that are working but don’t lend themselves to agile methods of today. Dev/Test teams in many organizations spend weeks waiting for the right infrastructure environment.

Several organizations with their own data centers and private clouds have a dependency on physical infrastructure. Access to these in a structured way is often challenging. Further aligning infrastructure to the needs to modern application development is often quite complex and manual.

These are the problems we have solved with CloudShell. Our goal is to attack complexity. We can integrate with most infrastructure elements in any complex environments, model them and convert them into self-service environments. This eliminates the “waiting-in-line”. We are also viewed as a next-generation automation and orchestration platform, that can deploy these environments on any public, private or hybrid cloud environment and manage the resources. The goal is to make infrastructure invisible and the access of it as simple as clicking a button.

Where do you see the cloud sandbox market going in the next year? Next 5 years?

I am upbeat about this market. Today we see a number of tool and platform vendors that have focused on managing production environments. But some of the biggest challenges in optimizing are in pre-production, where we have a significant Dev/Test focus and there isn’t a lot of standardization. We focused on tackling this area first.

There is great merit in bringing consistency between production and pre-production environments and taking an environment in a consistent way from creation to production and back. It will result in higher quality, less rework and increase business uptime. This is a tough problem to solve, but we are doing it.

Over the next few years we want to unshackle all sorts of environments across any stage of dev-test-production-ops lifecycle on any cloud and help our customers hit the turbo button on accelerating innovation.

What separates Quali from your competitors?

There’s a perception that we compete with the likes of Puppet and Chef. We don’t. In fact, we actually integrate with such platforms as we replicate production environments. Our strength is in creating sandboxes of different architectures and for different use-cases – DevOps CI/CD, Cloud, IoT, Security – you name it – and to offer it as a service.

In that, CloudShell platform is highly differentiated. There is no other product today that can automate and orchestrate the full-stack of the IT environment embracing legacy and modern IT. This allows customers to solve very complex problems in their IT environments in a simple, cost-effective manner. We experience a high renewal rate with customers.

We are also cloud agnostic and support various public, private and hybrid cloud environments.

What are Quali’s plans for the future?

We are continuing to scale our operations globally and would like to accelerate that. Our partner ecosystem continues to get built out. We are attracting new buying centers.

My goal is to continue to on-board best-in-class talent and to continue to make major roads into the enterprise market segment. We are expanding our sales and R&D teams to help fuel the growth.

Did I mention we’re hiring?

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