Multicloud is here, and it will level the playing field for everyone, according to Seattle cloud CEOs

As cloud computing matures, more and more companies are looking to diversify their IT spending across different vendors, and that’s excellent news for companies worried about getting flattened by big cloud vendors.

Three prominent Seattle-area CEOs — Kristina Bergman of Integris Software, Samir Bodas of Icertis, and Arif Kareem of ExtraHop — discussed a wide variety of topics during a session on our business track last week at the GeekWire Cloud Summit. Just before piercing the hype around artificial intelligence, they also discussed how tech infrastructures spread across multiple cloud providers and on-premises infrastructure are what customers want from their services.

For example, Icertis, a close partner with Microsoft, initially set up its cloud contract-management services on Microsoft Azure. However, a customer requested an implementation of the service on Google Cloud Platform, so Icertis put in four weeks of work needed to make that customer happy, Bodas said.

Integris works mostly with companies worried about the security of data stored on their own servers, but those companies are starting to look more closely at cloud providers, Bergman said. Like Icertis, Integris runs mostly on Azure, but the company has containerized its own applications to give it the flexibility to meet customers where they want to be, she said.

CEO Panel - GeekWire Cloud Summit 2019
(L to R): Samir Bodas, Icertis; Kristina Bergman, Integris Software, Arif Kareem, ExtraHop, and Charles Fitzgerald discuss cloud trends during the CEO panel at the 2019 GeekWire Cloud Summit. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

“We also look at everything else that’s out there, there’s no company who’s a Microsoft-only shop,” Bergman said.

One persistent fear for smaller software companies building on or around cloud vendors is that if they start to get traction, the cloud provider will attempt to compete with them, moving “up the stack,” as they say. As multicloud becomes more common, that fear starts to go away, Kareem said.

“I think multicloud is good news for us because the customer will need vendor-independent tools,” Kareem said. “The whole concept of best-of-breed comes into play,” he said, referring to a theory about enterprise technology oft espoused by Box CEO Aaron Levie that modern enterprise customers don’t want to buy everything they need from a single vendor, they want to mix and match services provided by experts in a particular domain.

Check out the rest of our 2019 GeekWire Cloud Summit coverage here.