Next stop Platform9 for Bhaskar Gorti

  • Bhaskar Gorti was a victim of the recent Nokia management team reshuffle
  • Now he has resurfaced as CEO at managed Kubernetes specialist Platform9
  • Company is pitching itself as a cloud management platform for distributed architectures such as Open RAN

Bhaskar Gorti, the former President of Nokia Software, has boarded the cloud native train with a new job as CEO at cloud management specialist Platform9.   

Gorti was at Nokia for almost seven years and had even attained the title of Chief Digital Officer towards the end of his time at the Finnish giant, but was sidelined in the management reshuffle undertaken by current Nokia CEO Pekka Lundmark, who took over at the giant vendor late last year. (Nokia Software became part of the vendor’s Cloud and Network Services division under the Raghav Sahgal.)

Now Gorti, whose CV also includes nine years at Oracle Communications, has taken on the top day-to-day role at Mountain View, California-based Platform9, taking over from co-founder Sirish Raghuram, who will now focus more on developing the company’s products. 

And the move puts Gorti, who has been CEO for about a week already, right at the heart of telco cloud developments.  

Platform9, which has now been around for eight years and has a few hundred staff, has developed an as-a-service, Kubernetes-based cloud management system that, in the telecoms sector, can be used as a centralized layer to manage virtualized cloud native functions in distributed architectures such as Open RAN. The company believes a specialized centralized platform is needed for this role, rather than the use of a broader sweep cloud platform from big guns such as Red Hat and VMware. (You can check out the company’s argument in this respect by reading this article by The Mobile network editor Keith Dyer, who spoke with Sirish Raghuram earlier this year.)

Gorti says it’s positive that big name companies such as Red Hat and VMware are already well entrenched – “it validates the market,” he tells TelecomTV. “This is a hot market and we’re able to provide a third option. The hyperscalers have an offer, as do the big IT companies, but we have an offer that can run on anything and run anywhere and it doesn’t matter what OS or virtual functions might already be deployed – we are completely agnostic.”

As part of its efforts to make a mark in the telecoms sector, Platform9 earlier this year teamed up with Open RAN flag-waver Mavenir, which regards Platform9 as a suitable solution for distributed telco workload management. Mavenir is integrating XGVela platform-as-a-service (PaaS) functionality with Platform9’s Managed Kubernetes solution to offer a pre-integrated software stack that can underpin Open RAN functionality and simplify service delivery and operations. Mavenir says the “combination of Platform9’s Kubernetes solution and Mavenir’s cloud-native network software allows central deployment, management and support of network functions across thousands of cell tower sites and core infrastructure.” 

The move is part of a trend for Open RAN specialists to broker partnership that enable the pre-integrated delivery of multiple elements that can help to accelerate initial tests, trials and deployments of disaggregated architectures. (See Platform9 and Mavenir announce strategic partnership for 5G webscale platform.)

Platform9 also unveiled a product release that included “advanced networking for large-scale 5G Kubernetes deployments” in March this year

Platform9 has some industry big hitters behind it: Enterprise cloud giant Rackspace Technology emerged as a strategic investor and collaborator in April this year. That followed an expansion of the company’s Series D funding round to $37.5 million with investments from WRVI Capital, NGP Capital, Mubadala Ventures, Canvas Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Redpoint Ventures. The company has raised $74 million (not including the Rackspace investment), according to Crunchbase.

Now the company needs to scale, which is where Gorti says he can help. “I’ve joined to help build the company, to help it scale and help drive it into key verticals. In telecoms, Platform9 can help as operators start to deploy Open RAN and start to use containers in distributed deployments. The company already has quite a few engagements in the telecoms market via its partnerships, and more will be revealed in the weeks ahead.”

He adds: “The challenge now is to scale and be able to offer and meet SLAs. We have 40,000 nodes up and running with customers already – the challenge now is, how can get that to 400,000 and beyond? The key thing is to be able to consistently deliver – anyone can bring a new toy to the market” but making it work and meet the needs of large customers is something else, “and that’s where I can bring my experience to the company.”

- Ray Le Maistre, Editorial Director, TelecomTV

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