Event: Exec Briefing by Microsoft on its Solutions for DevOps/Application Delivery Lifecycle

Microsoft is hosting a half-day exec. briefing on DevOps/Application Delivery Lifecycle on Friday, 11th November, at The O Hotel, Koregaon Park.

As Software engineering practices become more dynamic, the need of the hour for businesses is to have a more efficient and agile IT setup. Microsoft’s DevOps solution enables organizations to shorten cycle times while improving software quality by streamlining the entire development workflow, right from the backlog, through build and test, to all the way into production.

In this event, you’ll get an overview of:

  • People, processes and tools involved with Microsoft DevOps Solutions
  • How Microsoft Solutions can integrate, leverage and support your existing solutions
  • How Microsoft DevOps practices can help you deliver high quality software on a shorter timeline and with better compliance

You’ll learn how to:

  • Shorten cycle times: and increase the traceability of each release by empowering development and operations teams with collaboration and automation tools.
  • Improve quality and availability by using tools to capture rich telemetry on application performance and usage so that you can make better decisions on future investments—all while understanding and anticipating issues in production before they impact your service.
  • Save time and money: Azure integrates with on-premises Microsoft technologies, so you can take full advantage of your existing Microsoft investments, skills, and knowledge—and use a common development and test infrastructure that spans data center to cloud.

Agenda

  • 10:00-10:30: Registration
  • 10:30-10:45: Keynote
  • 10:45-11:30: DevOps and Demo
  • 11:30-12:15: DevOps from Customer Perspective: Overview of issues
  • 12:15-1:00: DevOps Capabilities: Overview of Cloud Cover’s DevOps capabilities and partnership with Microsoft.
  • 1:00-2:00: Lunch

Date-Time-Venue

The event is from 10am to 2pm, on Friday, 11th Nov 2016 at The O Hotel, Koregaon Park.

Registration and Fees

This event is free for anyone to attend. You must register by sending mail to a-shjuya@microsoft.com with subject “Registration for DevOps Pune – 11th Nov”.

Event: Expert Talks 2016 – Day-Long Software/Tech Conference (Paid)

Expert Talks 2016, Pune, on 5th November, at Westin, Koregaon Park is a day-long software/tech conference featuring speakers from all over the world, talking about topics ranging from DevOps, Traits in Java (and Go), Agile Transformation, Bug-Fixing Best Practices, Algebra and Property based testing and more.

To get an idea of the type and quality of talks, you can check out the YouTube channel of Expert-Talks where they have uploaded videos of talks from last year’s conferences.

Details of the talks scheduled for this year are here and biographies of speakers are here.

The event will be from 8:30am to 6pm on Saturday, 5th November, at Westin, Pune. The cost is Rs. 1150 if you register before 31st Oct, and Rs. 1950 after that. Register here.

TechMarathi wants tech articles in Marathi for their e-Diwali-ank 2016

TechMarathi.com is a sister site of PuneTech, that focuses on publishing technology articles in Marathi for the benefit of Marathi speaking population who would like to stay abreast of the latest in technology.

Every year, in the time-honoured tradition of Marathi periodicals, TechMarathi publishes a special Diwali online magazine for the the past 2 years. This year too TechMarathi is planning an online “e-Diwali Ank” – a Diwali Special “bumper” edition of articles.

If you are a techie who can write in Marathi, please consider contributing an article. The article can be humorous, informative, experience sharing, or a
short story. It can be an article, poem, cartoon, or any other form of content. You can even translate an existing English article to Marathe – even that can be quite valuable.

These are the submission guidelines:

  • The articles should be 200 words or more (there is no strict upper limits for length of longer articles.)
  • Send the articles in Unicode.
  • Send the articles to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • You will receive acknowledgement in 24hrs. If you don’t receive it by that time please write to sampadak@techmarathi.com
  • All rights to approve articles for publishing will be with the committee appointed by TechMarathi, and their decision will be final.

If you have any questions or suggestions please write to us at sampadak@techmarathi.com

PuneConnect 2016: Startup Showcase Event for Pune’s Startups: Apply Now

PuneConnect, Pune’s startup show case event, is now in its 6th year, and is one of Pune’s most important events for startups. This is an event for startups to showcase their products and services to larger companies in Pune, VCs and angel investors from all over the country, and others from the ecosystem. PuneConnect 2016 is on 19th November 2016, at Westin, Pune. It is a half-day event where selected startups in Pune can find customers, mentors, business partners, affiliates, and investors amongst Pune’s established companies, successful senior entrepreneurs, and angels and investors from all over.

This event is free for startups selected by PuneConnect. If you are unsure of whether this event is appropriate for you or not, please go ahead and apply, and our selection committee will figure out whether you’re a good fit or not. Please apply right away. The last date to apply is 8th October.

Any startup company that has a product that they would like to demo, should submit a proposal at http://db.puneconnect.com/pc/combo-form/. (The product must be ready before 19th November.) A panel of selectors drawn from experts in the industry will select the most promising startups who will be allowed to set up a demo at PuneConnect, in Westin, Pune, on 19th November 2015.

There will be a special quota for students – i.e. startups whose founders are still students will be given special consideration, so if you know someone in this category, please forward this info to them.

Benefits to selected startups include:

  • Exposure to Pune’s top companies, potential customers and potential mentors
  • Exposure to Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors who are being
    invited to the event
  • Press and media coverage before and after the event
  • Winners of the event get automatic entries to other country-level events (e.g. those organized by NASSCOM)

PuneConnect started in 2011 and is held in late October/early November every year. For the last few years, we’ve been selecting 30+ startups for demos out of 150+ registrations that we receive. Click here for more information about past PuneConnect events.

Media Coverage: In past PuneConnects, Economic Times, Indian Express, The Financial Express, the Financial Chronicle, Business Standard, and the top Marathi newspapers Sakal and Maharashtra Times all have carried detailed articles about PuneConnect and the companies.

PuneConnect is a joint initiative of Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP), TiE Pune, PuneStartups.org (POCC), PuneTech, and NASSCOM, SME Joinup, CIIE Ahmedabad, and MCCIA Pune – basically all the important players in Pune’s startup ecosystem. PuneConnect represents a one-of-its-kind activity that bridges the gap between the new companies and the established ones.

Entries to other prestigious events: Companies featured in PuneConnect have been selected to be on TV (e.g. an episode ETNow Channel’s Starting Up show), or in national-level conferences (e.g. one organized by Zinnov), where they got to demo their products to companies from all over India, or for mentorship programs (like the TiE Pune Nurture Initiative), or even got funding (e.g. AppSurfer, a company from the first PuneConnect that got Rs. 1 crore in funding on the SuperAngels show) – all as a result of being featured on PuneConnect.

Apply now. It costs nothing. Please apply right away. The last date to apply is 8th October.

Interview with Atul Narkhede, CEO of GS Lab

(GS Lab, a high-end, specialized, outsourced product development and software services company, that was founded by Shridhar Shukla and Sunil Gaitonde in 2004, has now grown to 650+ employees, and has also spun off kPoint Technologies a product company. Recently, CTO Atul Narkhede took over as CEO and MD of GS Lab. We took this opportunity to talk to Atul about the transition, where GS Lab is now, and where it is going.)

You have been associated with GS Lab since the beginning. Can you briefly talk about your transition into this new role? What will Shridhar Shukla and Sunil Gaitonde (Founders of GS Lab) be focusing on?

Atul Narkhede: CEO of GS Lab
Atul Narkhede: CEO of GS Lab

GS Lab was formed with a long-term vision of building a company which will work on exciting technologies, take market risks with new ideas, invest in R&D, and keep our lives interesting while doing all this. The company has seen steady, profitable growth for the past 12+ years during which I focused mostly on the technology and incubation front as the CTO. Today, the company has built an excellent team of technology experts and I will now be responsible for the overall growth of the company as the CEO and MD going ahead. Shridhar and Sunil both continue on the board of GS Lab, and both will spend all their time leading kPoint (a product company incubated by GS Lab) towards its growth globally.

What challenges do you see in the market?

The business model for software products and services has been shaken up in recent times by the move to the “cloud model”. The prevalence of public clouds, container architectures, easy-to-consume third-party services and readymade PaaS platforms have fundamentally altered how new products are built from ground up. All companies have to adapt to this disruption, and GS Lab has invested significantly to adopt the new technologies/tools/platforms, train the staff, and change our engagement models with customers. This cloud approach of building products needs fewer engineers compared to large teams we saw earlier, but they need to be experts. GS Lab will need to invest to build such differentiated manpower, and it is no longer a “scale the headcount” game. As the technology adoption is universal, and no longer limited to tech-savvy customers, we need to innovate to be able to reach this new demographic (which is a sales and marketing challenge) and engage this customer base (which needs domain understanding and language) to provide complete solutions which just work out of the box.

What is the long term direction/vision for GS Lab?

We will eventually get into “high value” services and products. Our yardstick for measuring our success would be “revenue per employee”. Matching the global levels of this metric is a tough target. We increasingly see customer solutions needing expertise in multiple technology and business domains; hence we seek to partner with experts in relevant domains, to be able to build multi-disciplinary problem solving teams for future. We have been investing in IP, technology assets, open-source contributions and patents for many years in a chosen set of technology areas. For example, our exploration in video streaming area resulted in a full-fledged product in the “enterprise video” space and is now a separate product company called “kPoint Technologies” which has a large customer base of global MNCs.

What are the technology areas GS Lab is focusing on?

IOT (Internet of Things) is one of thrust areas for GS Lab in the near future. We realized the need for building hardware design capabilities in the org, and are running pilots to produce hardware device prototypes along with the software-based cloud stack to power comprehensive IOT architecture for our customers. When such a system has a large number of endpoints, all generating data in real-time, a key requirement is to understand the instantaneous behavior of the system and hence we’ve created a framework for generating ‘streaming analytics’ to monitor such large-scale systems. This analysis helps pinpoint bottlenecks in the system, and help scale up/down the cloud service based on traffic patterns observed. We’re trying to apply this IOT solution to the ‘energy management’ space in particular with focus on electrical power consumption and solar photovoltaic power optimization. Connected IP-cameras are omnipresent today given the security concerns at all commercial as well as residential installations. These cameras generate continuous stream of video data. While surveillance is the primary objective, these videos are increasing used for automatic event detection, object detection, counting object movements, etc. We are looking at some streaming video use-cases to incorporate into smart-city solutions that will certainly be deployed in near future.

IT Services is a crowded market. What differentiation does GS Lab bring to the table?

GS Lab has always had the philosophy of having “small but effective” teams to build technology products instead of “large solution teams” approach. For this, we’ve had to create technology depth with a focus on full-stack engineering. Most of the customers GS Lab engages with are startups at a very early (idea) stage. We have the ability to translate these ideas into PoCs and rapidly evolving cloud services which result in mature, robust, scalable solutions. We position ourselves as a provider which spans the range “from lab to complete solutions”; i.e., we are able to work with both – early stage products which require agility, low time-to-market, quick prototyping constraints as well as mature, complex products which need scalability, maintainability and monitoring as primary focus areas. As a result, we’ve had several instances where the initial PoCs we created for startups are today large-scale mainstream products at marquee technology companies post acquisition over the course of 5-9 years.

GS Lab has grown quite fast over the past 2-3 years. What is the current size (employee base)? Can you describe your hiring strategy and work culture? What are the challenges?

We are 650+ strong today spanning from campus hires to experienced employees who have worked all over the globe. We hire mainly based on references and we have strong incentives for referrals. Our employees come from all parts of India including quite a few from tier-2 and tier-3 cities. Every year, we sponsor a large number of final-year engineering projects and offer internships; this is our primary source of getting campus hires, as against participating in campus placements. This long-term relationship with prospective employees enables both the company and the employee to understand each other better and results in a more fruitful relationship. GS Lab believes in hiring for attitude and aptitude as against point skills, and we’ve had several employees who have excelledin the company even when they did not have a formal background Computer Science.

What advice would you have for a young software professional, who is just starting his/her career?

The one thing I’d advise young professionals is to value the quality of work over the company brand or pay. The kind of colleagues you work with is also extremely important to how you grow and mature professionally. You must value the “degree of freedom/control” at work and should join an organization that encourages independent thinking, ownership and demands results. Look for a workplace that doesn’t straightjacket you into a narrow role, and enables contribution to various activities to let you discover your own passion and strengths. A right choice of the first company lays the foundation for a fulfilling career.

Event: Talk on Planet-Scale Distributed Storage by YouTube/PayPal architect Sugu Sougoumarane

Talentica Software invites you to a talk by Sugu Sougoumarane, a senior architect at YouTube, and co-founder of Youtube’s Vitess Project, which is an open-source scalable, distributed storage system that is used by YouTube for scaling.

The talk is on Friday, 8th July, from 3pm to 5:30pm, at Talentica Software, 4th Floor, Amar Megaplex, Baner Road. (Ample parking on Baner Road near the venue.) The event is free and open to all, but RSVP is necessary.

About the Speaker – Sugu Sougoumarane

Sugu is the co-founder of Youtube’s Vitess project, which has been under development since 2010. He hails from BITS Pilani and has been in the software industry for over 30 years. He has experience in a variety of fields including computer graphics, compilers, IDEs, databases, payments and software architecture. Prior to YouTube, Sugu joined X.com/PayPal in its early stages where he built many of its core features. He was also a member of the elite scalability team that was responsible for keeping PayPal scalable.

Abstract of the Talk

Sugu will cover the following topics as a part of his presentation

General Storage Concepts and Guidelines:

  • Computing trends: How distributed systems are changing the way we design software.
  • Challenges of distributed systems: Principles that govern the trade-offs.
  • How to practically apply these principles in real-life systems.
  • What is Paxos and how to tone it down when it’s not always needed.
  • How to make 2PC work, when it has always failed
  • Simplifying it all.

Vitess, the present and future

  • How was Vitess started and why we open-sourced it
  • Evolution of Vitess, from a connection proxy to a sprawled out planet scale storage solution. We are the real cockroach.
  • V3, the latest coolness
  • What’s in the future

Location, Fees, and Registration

The talk is on Friday, 8th July, from 3pm to 5:30pm, at Talentica Software, 4th Floor, Amar Megaplex, Baner Road. (Ample parking on Baner Road near the venue.)

This event is free and open for anybody to attend. However, seating at the venue is limited, so you must RSVP by sending a mail to rsvp@talentica.com.

Rohit Srivastwa’s Junco Tech. acquired by Quick Heal to form Cyber Security Consulting Arm

Last week, Quick Heal, the Pune based information security and anti-virus company, acquired JUNCO Technologies, a Pune based cybersecurity and IT consulting firm founded by Rohit Srivastwa, and incubated by Science & Technology Park, Department of Science & Technology, Government of India

Rohit is a well known name in infosec circles in India. He is the founder of one of India’s first infosec communities, ClubHack, IT Pro/SysAdmin community ClubSysAdmin. He is specialist in IT infrastructure, cyber warfare and cyber-crime investigation. He has been an advisor to several military agencies, law enforcement agencies and corporates in India and abroad.

With the acquisition of JUNCO technologies, Quick Heal acquires this domain expertise, and in-depth industry and technical knowledge, and has launched Seqrite Services, a cyber security consulting organization, and will also launch Quick Heal Academy, to impart cyber security education programmes globally.

‘Seqrite Services’ will offer a Managed Security Services, including Cyber Audit and Cyber Forensics, Security Consulting and Security Operations Centre (SoC) to Enterprises and Government organisations. ‘Seqrite Services’ will be an arm of ‘Seqrite’, the Enterprise Security brand by Quick Heal which was launched in 2015.

‘Quick Heal Academy’ is created with the intention on building a talent pool of qualified cyber security professionals, who are in short supply in the industry currently. The academy will work closely with universities, law enforcement agencies, and education institutions to engage with students and design programs. The academy will offer Online, Classroom and Corporate training courses in Cyber Laws, Cyber Crime Investigation and Cyber Security.

The Cyber Security skills shortage is impacting organizations throughout India and around the globe, with employers reporting difficulties hiring skilled candidates and preparing for cyber security threats. According to NASSCOM, currently India has around 50,000 trained cyber security professionals in 2015 and the need is for at least one million skilled people by 2020. Commenting on the new vertical launch, Kailash Katkar, MD & CEO, Quick Heal Technologies Ltd said; “There is substantial awareness around the need for the security products and solutions;
proper consultation, education and skilled manpower is still lacking in the industry at large. At Quick Heal, we are determined to bridge this gap by putting to use our expertise which we have built over the years.” He further added; “We hope that through these two services we will be able to empower organizations in effectively addressing Cyber Security Challenges and contribute towards strengthening the cyber security training ecosystem.”

‘Seqrite Services’ will be led by Rohit Srivastwa. Vishal Kumar, a specialist in Cyber Law, having diverse exposure through his association with PwC and Asian School of Cyber Laws, will be steering the ‘Quick Heal Academy’ operations out of New Delhi. Vishal has also been a member of the working group on Cyber Laws, Legal Framework, and the Cyber Security, 12 Five Year Plan (2012 -17) Government of India.

Quick Heal, is of course Pune’s first major software product company to get an IPO, and is a provider of security software products and solutions in India. It has over 1,300 employees across 36 cities in India, and a network of over 20,000 channel partners. It has subsidiaries that are present in Japan, Dubai, the United States of America, and Kenya.

Event: TiECON Pune – Indian Startup Ecosystem Conference – 15 April

TiECON, one of the top startup conferences in the country, will be held in Pune again this year for the 4th time, on 15th April.

The keynote address will be by Sanjiv Bajaj, MD of Bajaj Holdings & Investment, Bajaj Finserv, and Bajaj Allianz. In addition, there are a number of other speakers – startup founders, venture capitalists, and others from the startup ecosystem including Ambareesh Murty of Pepperfry, Hari Menon of BigBasket, Sanjay Katkar of QuickHeal, Sanjay Nath of Blume Ventures, Varsha Tagare of Qualcomm Ventures. See this page for a full list.

The event costs Rs. 2099 for TiE Pune members, and 3199 for non-members, and 2499 for “members of supporting organizations” (including PuneTech readers). Thus, if you’re not a member, you can use the “Members of Supporting Organizations” ticket, with the code “TiE-Pune Tech”.

See the event website for more details.

Interview with Monish Darda, Founder of Contract Management Software Product Company ICERTIS

ICERTIS is a Pune-based software product company that makes cloud-based contract management software. Yesterday, they announced that they have raised $15 million in Series B funding led by Ignition Partners, and existing investors Greycroft Partners and Fidelity Growth Partners India.

ICERTIS is a provider of contract lifecycle management (CLM) in the cloud. In the last year itself the company signed on clients like Cognizant, HBO and Airtel. In addition to helping users create contracts, the software provided by the company also tracks when terms are met, ensures regulatory compliance, and automates administrative tasks like sending renewal reminders.

We took this opportunity to catch up with Co-Founder and CTO, Monish Darda.

Congratulations on the new funding round. Can you discuss some of the funding details, and the expansion plans.

Thanks! We announced our Series B funding today – we raised $15 million, led by Ignition Partners and current investors – Fidelity and Greycroft. We plan to use the funds to expand our global operations, invest in marketing, and further enhance the Icertis Contract Management platform.

Can you talk about the vision for ICERTIS, and the product direction?

Our vision is to apply the cloud to unlock the power of contracts. The cloud has enabled the extended enterprise to be connected in ways unimaginable just a few years ago, and we are at the forefront of that technology revolution, helping the business get better and more efficient. We were one of the first Cloud Software Vendors to build on Microsoft Azure – Icertis Contract Management has evolved into a powerful platform for managing all types of contracts and is super easy to use, getting the consumer experience to enterprise apps. We will continue to build on that platform.

What is ‘Contract Management’, and how does software help in improving this business process?

Contracts bring the enterprise together – whether you are hiring, or acquiring a company and everything in between, you have a contract to make that happen. Icertis Contract Management (ICM), is a cloud-based contract lifecycle management platform designed to help global enterprises turn its contracts into powerful business assets. ICM provides a 360-degree view into an organization’s contract operations to increase compliance, improve governance, mitigate risk and enhance user productivity.

What are the industries, market segments where the ICERTIS Contract Management Solution is deployed? Can you talk about any customer examples?

Icertis Contract Management is deployed across many industries and market segments as it is able to manage all types of contracts. The platform is used to manage over 2 million contracts in 40+ languages by over 500,000+ users in 150+ countries. We have an elite roster of customers including Becton Dickinson, Cognizant, HBO, Microsoft, and Skullcandy; all of which use ICM to enhance productivity, increase commercial compliance, improve governance, and mitigate risk.

Can you discuss some of the technology issues in the solution? What are the technical challenges?

We developed the Icertis Contract Management platform Cloud First. This Born-in-the-Cloud Enterprise App sent some unique and interesting challenges our way: around security, robustness and integration. Cloud development philosophy is “loosely coupled,” bringing with it a different way of thinking, and attention to detail. We have explored the nooks and crannies of Azure, we use almost all PaaS services that Microsoft Azure provides – I don’t think there is so much Azure expertise concentrated so much anywhere else! Keeping up with the platform, and adopting it to deliver a best in class platform has been challenging, fun and fulfilling.

Can you share some thoughts about your entrepreneurial journey so far? What advice would you have founders who are just getting started with their startup venture?

I love the excitement. Entrepreneurship is in my bloodstream, and it is a high! Two bits of advice: First, go all in. You have to believe from day 0 that you are going to make it, so don’t hold back; if you don’t, it is not for you. Second, don’t overthink. That leads to starting trouble, procrastination and loss of confidence. Doing things and being smart about knowing your boundaries really helps!

This is an exciting time for India – the land of opportunity is here, nowhere else. Grab it with all you have got.

KPIT’s Electric Bus – Towards ‘green’ transportation

Electric cars and buses are the future of transportation. Multiple goals: 1. Reducing fossil fuel dependence, 2. Carbon taxes and 3. Urban pollution/emission targets will drive rapid adoption of emission-less electric cars in the coming two decades. According to McKinsey’s forecasts, future cities could have up to 50% electric vehicles by 2030.

We recently got an opportunity to visit the KPIT facility in Pune to see their electric bus R&D and manufacturing set up. We also saw the electric bus in operation, and got a nice ride in it around Hinjawadi in Pune. This bus was inaugurated at the Indian Parliament in December 2015 by the Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

KPIT has been working in the area of hybrid (electro-mechanical) powertrains for many years now. Their ‘Revolo’ solution for converting existing IC (Internal Combustion) engine powered cars and buses into hybrid vehicles, has been field tested for over 150,000 km.

KPIT's Electric Bus
KPIT’s Electric Bus – The Prototype. Click on the picture to see full size image.

The KPIT Electric Bus leverages and builds on this R&D and manufacturing experience. KPIT has filed over 20 patents in this area. Do note, in some aspects, an electric vehicle is simpler than an Electric-IC engine hybrid. Even if you leave aside the IC engine, a hybrid vehicle has to deal with power distribution, switching across the two power trains. In electric vehicles, there is no switching, as there is a single power train powered by electric motors. ‘Regenerative braking’ is used in both: hybrid as well as pure electric vehicles.

The KPIT bus leverages Li-Ion batteries and multiple AC induction motors. The controller can bring in one or more motors online, depending on the power/torque requirements. The bus has a range of 100-200 km (depending on the Li-ion battery packs configuration). The motors can generate power between 80-240 KW with a Torque in the range of 450-600 Nm (depending on the selected configuration). The KPIT electric bus technology has been specifically adapted to Indian conditions.

The KPIT electric bus also integrates with the KPIT intelligent transportation system and provides real-time monitoring of bus including location, vehicle health and driver behavior, along with traffic data and performance. On-board diagnostics and related remote monitoring is also available.

KPIT is working with CIRT and other concerned authorities to further refine this technology as well as the necessary certifications. Going forward, there are two primary business models for KPIT: Working with OEMs and Retro-fitting existing vehicles.  They are also in discussions with various OEMs regarding ’embedding’ their technology.

KPIT estimates that their electric bus costs will be significantly lower than other solutions, given the indigenous technology developed and the ‘Make in India’ push. The currently available electric buses range from INR 2.7 – 4+ crores, and KPIT’s solution will be a fraction of that.

Do note, the pay-back period should not just focus on the monetary savings, but the reduction in pollution and CO2 emissions. This will be a key driver for the adoption of electric vehicles in our congested, polluted cities.

It’s good to see this kind of innovation and R&D happening in Pune, especially in the area of manufacturing and transportation (not just pure IT).