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Bluenog CIO Sastry Taruvai Seeks Open-Source Enterprise Success

"Enterprise Software Cannot Be Built in a Vacuum"

Open-source software company executives were out in force at the recent OSCON in San Jose. Bluenog co-founder and CIO Sastry Taruvai was there, and we caught up with him for a few minutes.

Sastry holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a dual Masters degree in Chemical Engineering and Computer Science. Prior to co-founding Bluenog, he was a Lead Technical Architect with BEA Systems helping BEA Professional Services. Prior to BEA, he was a Technical Director at BroadVision, helping run the Consulting Practice.

Bluenog delivers what it calls an integrated collaborative environment, or ICE, including a content-management system, wiki and calendaring system, portal, and a business intelligence tool to report on everything that's going on.

I wasn't interested in the product specifics as much as what drives people to become entrepreneurs, particularly open-source entrepreneurs. Bluenog has three co-founders, all of whom include experience with the proprietary vendor BEA Systems (now part of Oracle Corp.) in their backgrounds.

I started our conversation with a question about the company name...

NOW Magazine: Were you all partaking of some of your favorite blue nog when you came up with the company name?

Sastry Taruvai: Of course, we love nog! But seriously, a nog is a wooden peg that holds an infrastructure together.

NOW: You have two co-founders, one with a focus as an architect, the other with a focus on sales. How do the respective talents of the three co-founders mesh? What sort of challenges are presented as you build your company?

Sastry: A typical software company has three distinct divisions – Engineering, Profession Services and Sales & Marketing. So the three of us--myself, our CEO Suresh Kuppusamy, and our COO Scott Barnett--complement each other very well. Our voices are equal. Although the three of us are all very opinionated folks who disagree from time to time, in the end we do what is right for Bluenog.

NOW: Why have you gone the open-source route? Did it help you start a company with less capitalization? And how will your customers benefit from this approach?

Sastry: The three of us always wanted to be involved with Open Source because we strongly believed in a community driven model for building standards based software. We built the product based on our collective experience building enterprise applications–one that solves real world problems at a fraction of a cost to proprietary alternatives. Our customers will benefit from this.

NOW: What sort of direct competition do you see? How much of the competition is presented by actual companies versus getting people to understand the benefits of open source versus getting people to understand the need for your products?

Sastry: The competition is primarily from the proprietary software vendors. People are starting to understand the benefits of open source especially in today’s economy so, we have crossed that hurdle. The need of our product has already been established. We have acquired over a dozen customers in less than a year.

NOW: What are three big rules or lessons you would like to teach aspiring entrepreneurs who wish to develop enterprise software?

Sastry: Number One: Enterprise software cannot be built in vacuum–it has to address real world problems.

Number Two: Companies cannot adapt to enterprise software. The software must be flexible to adapt to the way companies do their business.

Number Three: Enterprise software has to adhere to standards and specifications.

NOW: Have you and your co-founders thought of any sort of legacy you'd like to leave in this industry?

Sastry: Yes. We want to prove that commercial open source is a viable option to proprietary software.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.