June 2, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
IT Management Console for Data Center and IoT Cloud Solution
Basic6 is based in Westport, Connecticut with strong ties to the New York Tech scene. Ed Samson, CEO, launched Basic6 in 2012, recasting unique IT management tools around a broader cloud solution that includes the data center and the internet of things (IoT).
collaborates with other visionary companies including the New York cloud
company, Temboo. We combine unique talent and vision to anticipate the IT
needs of tomorrow. Basic6 is building a single platform that securely
consolidates cloud, data center, and IoT management for the companies of the
Seasoned CEO with strong portfolio of success leading the strategic development of technology innovation
25 years of experience building successful businesses
Proven leader and recruiter of top technology talent
“Today, our console allows the user to manage Linux, Unix, Windows servers across the data center and the cloud. Basic6 can also remotely manage and control large numbers of connected devices in the growing world of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).” - Ed Samson
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – June 2, 2014
CEOCFO: Mr. Samson, what is Basic6?
Mr. Samson: Basic6 is a software company based in Westport Connecticut with roots in New York City as several of our key partners reside there. As background, the first iteration of Basic6 focused on addressing issues that we saw prevalent in enterprise IT environments, specifically around interoperability and managing Linux and UNIX operating systems. Early on we discovered that despite the exponential growth of Linux and UNIX, which are cropping up in multiple places within the enterprise, the enterprise world is still largely dominated by Windows. We set out to leverage a piece of the existing Windows technology called the Microsoft Management Console, to seamlessly extend functionality and personnel to the management of Linux and UNIX operating systems within the enterprise. That is where Basic6 started. Today, our console allows the user to manage Linux, Unix, and Windows servers across the data center and the cloud. Basic6 can also remotely manage and control large numbers of connected devices in the growing world of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT).
The company name itself references the six basic flight instruments that can be found on any aircraft. As a pilot, I can attest that through the use of these six instruments alone, a plane can be flown without any visual reference to what is going on outside the cockpit. So you can make the analogy that our Basic6 instruments do much the same, helping to consolidate and make actionable sense of multiple outside variables – whether it be data center, cloud, virtual or IoT assets.
CEOCFO: Where are you today? How has that concept been tweaked, changed, enhanced?
Mr. Samson: Our console today empowers the user to access, audit and manage in real time their disparate operating systems, servers and devices in the data center and the cloud, using the familiar Microsoft Management Console. Importantly, we take an agentless approach to management, meaning we do not have to put any code or ‘agents’ on the servers that we are controlling. This makes the tool very lightweight, easy to deploy and highly scalable.
We discovered through one of our partners in New York that because of the company’s agentless technology approach, we could actually do a great deal in extending our management capabilities into the cloud. We started the build out by adding what pretty much turned out to be full functionality around Amazon Web Services, EC2, which is their elastic cloud offering. From the Basic6 Console a user can access, control and manage their Amazon Web Services environment alongside their existing data center, Linux/UNIX and windows environments. To continue, we added a storage component at the end of last year in the form of access to Box.com. To accomplish this, we incorporated the open source APIs that are available for all Amazon and Box functionality.
What we have really created is a lightweight, easy to use, hybrid cloud. Within our console, a user can create container folders of servers that allow the user to configure servers from the cloud and data center to work together to accomplish whatever computing needs a particular enterprise might have in a moment of time. Along with AWS and Box functionality, the software also allows for a connection to any cloud or virtual machine, which can be easily integrated into the console.
CEOCFO: How do you truly make it easy for people to use?
Mr. Samson: The Basic6 Console provides an intuitive folder level management hierarchy that enables an end user to organize, manage and control the various servers and assets that appear in folders and then display the details and much of the functionality that is applicable and allowed against those machines within a dedicated Display Window. It is this two-panel view and corresponding point and click actions that most Microsoft users are used to looking at. Adding machines into our console is a straightforward process, we provide an intuitive Add Host Wizard that requires entry of a few basic credentials necessary for accessing the machine. If the credentials match up to the underlying target machine during processing, that machine automatically shows up in your console immediately ready for use. That is an extension of much of the Windows functionality.
One of the exciting places that the product’s evolution has taken us is into the world of IoT and microcontrollers. As the world of connected devices grows, the controllers of today are getting smarter and are being manufactured with two chips, including a microprocessor that contains a Linux operating system and Wi-Fi capabilities. The combination of Wi-Fi and a Linux operating system allows Basic6 two-way remote communication with the device for sending and receiving commands, programs, and data. This is a very exciting opportunity, and Basic6 has modified its console to include the management of microcontrollers. Specifically, Basic6 can remotely manage, control and reprogram Arduino Yun’s and Raspberry Pi’s from its existing MMC-based console.
Basic6 will release a web-based version of its console in June, with initial functionality geared towards microcontrollers. We are building some proprietary functionality and capabilities that go specifically to the Arduino Yun.
One of our first applications on these devices has been to build “iBeacons”, which is something Apple released schematics for at the end of 2013. To this end, we partnered with another company to build what we call “SmartBeacons” for the retail and hospitality worlds. Our partner, SuperSolver, offers an outward facing application for the retail space, essentially allowing a retailer to communicate and develop relational experiences with their customers in real time from a SmartBeacon that is deployed and controlled by Basic6. A customer can record experience in real time, making it possible for the retailer, restaurant, etc. to get immediate feedback and provide resolution of any issues. The SmartBeacon controlled by the Basic6 console creates the ability for immediate two-way communication between that retailer and their customers. Basic6 functions as the command software on the back end that controls the devices, manages the health of the devices, reboots them, and can actually allow for “on the fly” programming and reprogramming and all other kinds of things.
CEOCFO: You are moving and growing very quickly. How do you decide what to tackle next?
Mr. Samson: Basic6 is very market driven. We have quickly discovered that there is huge opportunity in our partnership with SuperSolver to manage and deploy SmartBeacons. We have moved beyond the world of simple iBeacons, and we are finding that our technology allows for the collecting of big data along with being able to push new programs and different messaging through these devices to customers on the retail side. We see a real commercial opportunity and we already have several significant retailers and even a cruise line that are interested in deploying SmartBeacons in their stores and on their cruise ships. We are following the commercial viability on that story.
More broadly, B6 is positioned to capture a piece of the exploding Internet of Things market with our unique and scalable device management web application. Another focus of ours as I mentioned on the Arduino side, ties to another New York City based company that we have partnered with named Temboo. Temboo delivers an innovative technology that allows a user to easily write and deploy new programs across a multitude of devices. Temboo makes it much easier to program these devices and actually connects them to the cloud via their API’s. Basic6 comes into the picture here as the interface for actively pushing those programs to the targeted devices and providing remote capability. When the Basic6 web based console is released in June it will be featured on the Temboo website as the recommended tool for deploying Temboo generated code to the Arduino Yun.
There is a huge opportunity in scaling the microcontroller space and I like to refer to it as the Wild West as there are no real standards yet for managing these small devices. We are seeking to become one of the standards and one of the cornerstones for managing these smaller devices. We started solely as a server management tool, recognized opportunities in the cloud and what we could do in terms of managing cloud resources, specifically Amazon Web Services and Box, and then when we further discovered that we could do a great amount with the microcontroller space we moved in that direction.
When I talk about microcontrollers, the world often writes of it as the internet of everything or Internet of Things (IoT). We are seeing these connected devices deployed in homes, factories and retail locations and Basic6 can remotely control and manage these devices from anywhere. Our tool allows us to do that today. I have a demo where I can show the management of these controllers from anywhere in the world. In fact, I have actually done a demo from Europe where we are controlling devices that are sitting in our Connecticut office, plugged into a wall. That is the kind of scalability and remote access that we see an opportunity around.
CEOCFO: Basic6 was named the best startup at Interop. How important is that recognition to move the company along?
Mr. Samson: It is critically important because any startup looks for traction and some level of validation. For us, that is what the recognition as the best startup at Interop has done. It substantiates that our efforts are focused in the right areas and that we are moving in the right direction.
CEOCFO: Who is using your services now? Is there a typical customer?
Mr. Samson: With such a large footprint into the data center, cloud, virtual and internet of things arenas, we have a couple different types of customers. One would be the traditional enterprise that has a mixed environment, meaning they have a Windows based core set of servers and machines that they run their business from, but also have Linux, UNIX, and maybe they are considering initiatives to integrate cloud resources into their IT environment. We have customers that are using our original tools for that purpose, an integrated single management console for supporting a disparate IT environment. It does not solve all the problems they may have but it solves many of them.
One thing that we do pride ourselves on is that everything accomplished within our toolset is fully audited and reported to the user and captured in a dedicated event log for further consumption. From an auditing standpoint, our tool is attractive to anyone charged with managing an IT environment. Basic6 gives the user a locked down picture of what has happened in their environment, who did it, when they did and how they did it, what commands were issued. This level of audit even carries through to command line terminal execution. This event capture is a use case unto itself.
Another Basic6 client base is in education. We have several customers in education that use our original tool just for managing legacy UNIX and Linux systems. In other words, they have a ton of Windows machines but they have legacy Linux, UNIX operating systems that they have never had a consolidated way to manage. Some customers have antiquated servers that are sill vital to their production environments and they fear putting agented technology on them, so Basic6 is a great solution. We have other customers who use Basic6 to streamline and integrate their cloud environments with their data center environments.
Lastly, in the device IoT world, we are just starting to open up new customers around our SmartBeacons in retail environments, enabling two-way communication and data collection. That’s our SuperSolver partnership.
CEOCFO: What is the strategy going forward? How are you reaching potential customers? What challenges do you see as you grow?
Basic6 aims to set a standard of sorts around managing IT environments by effectively integrating management of the data center, cloud and IoT. We are not looking to be the ‘one size fits’ all solution, but we know we make it easier to manage and account for critical pieces of enterprise IT in a fully audited and intuitive way. We know our strengths and we are going to build on that. As our commercial viability grows, we will follow that growth. I see a huge opportunity for Basic6 in scaled remote management of microcontrollers that make up IoT. We have a place at that IoT table. Basic6 will continue to empower IT with our breakthrough solutions.
I hired a
head of sales and marketing at the end of last year and we have an ongoing
direct sales and marketing effort that seeks to communicate with the very
people that would benefit from our tools.
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