AWS on Air
Featuring vFunction CEO Moti Rafalin
Join AWS for a chat with vFunction CEO Moti Rafalin. See how vFunction helps automate the transformation of monolithic applications to microservices using AI & automation, letting you restore engineering velocity and gain cloud benefits.
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0:00:21.7 Chad Lacy (CL): Hello everybody. This is AWS On Air. My name is Chad Lacy. I’m a global sales strategist for AWS. And I’m joined today with my good friend, Moti. Moti, can you say hello to everybody?
0:00:33.2 CL: Hi everyone. So as mentioned, my name is Moti Rafalin. And I’m the founder and CEO of vFunction. And I’m really excited to be here, Chad.
0:00:42.0 CL: So Moti, before we get started, we were talking just a second ago. You have on a really cool shirt that I think everybody needs to see before we get into what we’re going to talk about today.
0:00:50.7 Moti Rafalin (MR): Sure. So you can see here, this is the shirt. If you’re a fan of this show, then hopefully you get the joke here. And this is actually a pretty good segue into what is it that we do. We actually break bad code. But I’ll get to that in a second.
0:01:07.4 CL: That’s fantastic. So what a great segue in. So we’re here to talk about vFunction. Why don’t you tell me a little bit about the problem that you’re solving with vFunction?
0:01:19.6 MR: Yeah, so absolutely. So what we’ve set to do at vFunction is really solve one of the biggest problems that CIOs have. And when we think about the problem that CIOs have, it really has to do with modernization of their applications. And when we talk about modernization, we mean the ability to transform these legacy applications into modern architecture, like cloud native architecture. And the problem is that CIOs are sort of caught between the rock and the hard place. On the one hand, they want to modernize. They feel the pressure to modernize. We can talk about in a second why. But on the other hand, most of these modernization projects fail. So a recent survey that we commissioned shows that over 70% of these modernization projects fail.
0:02:04.5 MR: They cost, on average, more than $1.5 million. They last more than 18 months. [0:02:07.4] ____ Three percent, even less, last more than 24 months. So it’s really risky. They’re putting their jobs on the line. And yet, if they don’t modernize, then they have very long release cycles. They’re accumulating technical debt. They’re not able to scale very well. And of course, they can’t take advantage of modern cloud services, what AWS obviously offers. That’s if you have serverless or EKS or these types of advanced services that AWS offers, if you have monolithic applications, right? These legacy applications, you can take advantage of those services. So that is the problem that we set to solve over five years ago. So it took us quite some time to develop the technology.
0:02:54.1 CL: Yeah. And as I understand it, you know, vFunction, you set yourself up as more of a platform. You’ve got a host of apps or a host of services underneath there, correct?
0:03:03.4 MR: Correct. So maybe I’ll take a step back. What is it really, the technology? So we developed an artificial intelligence platform that analyzes… Basically assesses, analyzes, helps you design the microservices, and then automatically creates those services for you. So it’s an end-to-end platform from analysis all the way to the actual creation of the code of those microservices with their respective APIs. It’s the only platform that does that. And in terms of the products, we actually have two products. One, which is an assessment tool that leverages all the AI, the artificial intelligence algorithms that we created to help you prioritize your applications and see which ones are best fit for modernization. Where will you get the biggest bang for the buck if you were to embark on a modernization project?
0:03:54.0 MR: And the other… And the main platform is really the platform that does the actual transformation of those applications into microservices. And that is our modernization hub. So those are kind of basically the two products. I would also mention that we actually started with a modernization hub, right? So we set to solve really the difficult problem of that type of modernization, right? Because the alternative is doing it manually, throwing many developers at the problem, a lot of frustration, right?
0:04:22.2 MR: So we started with that platform to help you accelerate that. And once we’ve done this over hundreds of applications, we decided to create the assessment tool that is a very lightweight assessment to help you prioritize which ones you really want to modernize. And again, we don’t necessarily advocate that you need to do it for all your applications. We really want to help you make a data-driven decision as to which ones are best fit for modernization.
0:04:51.2 CL: I think that’s absolutely excellent. That’s the same thing that we tend to preach to our customers when we’re talking to them as well. And I think you framed it up correctly. Like CEOs, CIOs, you know, business leaders, they want to start modernizing their applications. They want to move to the cloud, but it can be a little overwhelming and let’s be honest, sometimes kind of scary. So I love that you’re helping address that problem in doing the evaluation and giving people a place to start. That’s fantastic.
0:05:21.0 MR: And you know, maybe it is worth mentioning here that there’s a lot of confusion in the market also between migration and modernization.
0:05:30.6 CL: Right.
0:05:31.5 MR: And I think a good way to think about it is that the more you modernize, the more value you get from the cloud. So you can start by lifting and shifting or, let’s say, re-hosting or re-platforming those applications. And that’s great as a first step. You get some benefits on the DevOps side, maybe on the security side. But if you want to get the true benefits of the cloud, which have to do with agility, accelerated engineering velocity, elasticity, scalability, ability to innovate faster, you need to go deep into the code and either re-architect or refactor the code, which is really what we’re trying to help customers do.
0:06:10.5 CL: Well, I appreciate you making that point. That’s right. So vFunction and AWS has had a partnership for a while. Why don’t you talk about that a little bit so people understand?
0:06:20.2 MR: So, very, very exciting partnership. I think because AWS is probably the most mature hyperscaler, you actually face the problem before others, and I’ll tell you what I mean by that. The low-hanging fruit is already in the cloud, meaning simple applications, new applications, greenfield applications. You write them already, develop them to fit cloud native. And probably the low-hanging fruit, which are the simpler applications, legacy applications, you lifted and shifted. But now we’re talking about the next phase, which really has to do with the core applications that enterprises run on, and you need to modernize them in order to get the benefits from the cloud. And I’m super excited that the AWS team recognizes that.
0:07:08.4 MR: And when they meet these customers, they want to help them, and they basically call us. And so we partner and basically help AWS team with the modernization and then integrate that with the other products that AWS has developed to help customers with their migration and modernization, for example, refactor spaces. So we would help transform these applications into microservices, and then customers would use refactor spaces to configure that and deploy that on AWS. We have several customers already running these, financial services, automotive companies. Very, very exciting. I think we’re in the early innings of this, and I think the potential is enormous. And by the way, I’m actually here in Tennessee at an AWS event, an internal event specifically about migration and modernization.
0:08:04.8 CL: So speaking of events, it’s September now. We’re moving into the fall. That means [0:08:11.2] ____ reInvent is right around the corner. I know you all are going to have a booth at reInvent so people can come down and talk to you and see it firsthand, correct?
0:08:20.8 MR: That is absolutely correct. Not only will we have a booth there. We’re working also on having some joint sessions with AWS and some of these customers, working to get them out into the light. I hope that works out because I think the audience at reInvent will definitely benefit from hearing their stories.
0:08:40.9 CL: Yeah, no, I think it’ll be great. Everybody would love to see it in action. So speaking of, I’m sure a lot of folks out in the audience are wondering, so what languages do you actually support with vFunction?
0:08:52.6 MR: So we support Java and [0:08:53.0] ____.NET. I would argue these are really the core of the global 1000 run Java and [0:09:03.3] ____.NET applications. Yes, there are those that still have mainframe, but we’re really focusing on Java that has been around for over 20 years. In fact, every application… Every Java application that has been around for more than five years it is a good candidate for modernization. It’s just the nature of development and evolution of applications that they accumulate technical debt. You want to take advantage of the cloud, you need to refactor them. So Java and [0:09:28.4] ____.NET, that’s our focus.
0:09:30.8 CL: That’s awesome. Great. I think that’s the right place to start. And I think you’re dead on with most applications, especially the ones that need to be modernized, those are a good place to start. Now, speaking of starting, the call to action, right? Everybody wants to know, how can I get started? I understand you all have a free tool.
0:09:50.3 MR: Absolutely. So this is a new and exciting tool that we just released last week. I’ll preface that by saying that the vFunction platform works on-prem. So you deploy our server and our agents, you deploy it wherever the applications are running. However, we wanted to give architects, developers the ability to experience the software. And so we just released a SaaS version where you can go to our website, go to vfunction.com. There are links there where you can actually sign up and download the tool that will help you assess your applications very quickly, free up to three applications. It will assess, collect the data, then you upload that file to our server and it will generate a very rich report that will really help you understand the level of technical debt, how much you’re investing in the application. What are the sources of your technical debt? How does this stack relatively to other applications? So we definitely invite architects and developers to try the tool and see kind of some information that it can help them in the decision of whether to modernize and what they would get out of it.
0:11:01.0 CL: That’s awesome. I really appreciate that. And I think you’re doing really exciting work. It’s a place where I know a lot of customers I talk to, this is heavy on their mind trying to figure out how they can move these legacy applications to AWS and modernize them in the process. So I appreciate the work that vFunction and yourself are doing, everybody on your team. Before we cut, I just want to make sure, I give you one last chance if there’s anything that we haven’t mentioned.
0:11:30.0 MR: You know… Maybe one last thing that I thought about, which is many times people move to the cloud, they’re already running on AWS. And then they think maybe we can get lower cost and some of the other benefits that we haven’t gotten yet, so they can also use vFunction when it’s already running on AWS. So it doesn’t necessarily need to be something before you actually move. You can actually use vFunction to get benefits down the road as well.
0:11:56.9 CL: That’s a great point. I really appreciate it. Well, I’m going to be at reInvent. I’m going to come seek you out. And hopefully we can have a longer conversation. I really want to see it in action. I can’t wait to see some of your sessions at reInvent.
0:12:06.6 MR: We’d love to do that, Chad. And people can come to our website and also see some demos online there.
0:12:13.2 CL: Yeah, I certainly appreciate you being here today and giving us an update on vFunction. Thank you so much.
0:12:20.0 MR: Thank you. Take care.
0:12:21.2 CL: And everybody else, thank you all for tuning in. This is AWS On Air.