Key to Product Success - Timeliness

When people think of success factors of a product, they often consider:

  • Problem it solves
  • Completeness of the product
  • Product quality

However, a very important aspect of product success that is often missed - especially in the technology companies - is timeliness. One aspect of the timeliness is whether the market is ready to accept the product (time-to-market) and other is delivering the product at promised timeline.

As the title suggests this post focuses on the delivery timelines.

Why it is important to deliver on promised time?

Since I am doing release management or product management I often get this question from Engg team members. It comes in different forms: 

  • Will sky fall if we delay the delivery - We are not services company where client will shout? 
  • We have so many things to deal with - delay can happen - what's a big deal?
  • What we gave earlier were only estimates - reality has hit afterwards and that's very different from what we thought. What should we do?
Many times the question come because the team members really don't know the impact of missing the date.

 My answer has been that there are two type of impacts happen - functional and emotional. Functional impacts can be managed but managing emotional impacts is very difficult.

Let's first talk about functional items. Based on the dates given by Engg team, release date is published by product or program team. 

Marketing team builds their entire plan based on this release date.
For example, the analyst relationship (AR) team appraises the industry analysts (multiple of them), ask them to include the new items into the articles analysts are writing. AR Team and the analysts agree on a date for publishing these articles so that the company can get maximum benefit out of the activity. Mostly, all these articles are written and reviewed in advance and scheduled to be automatically published at the agreed time.

Similarly, Press Release (PR) about the product is also distributed in advance and is scheduled to automatically published at agreed time. Website updates, Email campaigns, Social Media Marketing (SMM) campaigns etc. are also created and scheduled. Many times, the material to be shown in a tradeshow booth is also created to take the new release into the market.

Sales enablement team provide information about upcoming release to the field teams i.e. Pre-Sales and Post-Sales (Customer Success) Engineers. Field teams start socializing about the new features with the customers/partners in private conversations under NDA. Sometimes, customers or prospects wait for these new features.

If delivery happens on time all the above machinery aligns very well. You get a lot of good business. Typically, as part of business planning it is a good idea to keep little margin (buffer) for the unforeseen slips. So until the delay in product delivery is within that margin, all goes good.

If product delivery gets delayed beyond a limit, entire line up crashes. It not just impacts the people inside the company but also outside the company. Some of the dates in the line up described above can be changed easily (e.g. email campaign etc.), some can be changed with difficulty (e.g. PR lineup etc.) and some can't be changed (e.g. trade show etc.) at all. The delay may causes the monitory loss also - for example if you have to re-do the booth layout and content.

If the release happens on time, everyone feels confident and emotional quotient goes high. However, in case of delay emotional problems also start. There are lot of questions start floating around related to the cause of the delay and finger pointing starts with a phrase "I am not pointing fingers but just stating the facts"

Marketing team needs to connect to all the AR/PR people and convince them to delay the messaging - some people agree to delay and some just omit your name. Moreover, there is a loss of face - next time when marketing team connects to the same AR/PR people, they become skeptical or refuse to help.

Field teams also loose trust of prospect/customer/partner because of the delay - I have seen partners laughing when sales person try promising an upcoming feature.

In turn, internal teams stop trusting Engg team and all the Go-to-Market (GTM) effort is planned only after the feature is in the hand of SEs. As a result Engg and GTM teams are never in sync and the gap widens. With the wrong time-to-market ultimately the product and the company suffers.

In my next post, I will talk about how a company can maintain the timeliness of the product delivery. Engg work estimation becomes the key here.

Transforming from Traditional to Cloud Native Product Company

For he success of a product company, products must evolve with time. As the deployment models change companies selling appliances and virtual appliances need to move to container based architecture and may have to sell SaaS. As workloads move from hardware servers and VMs to cloud VMs and containers, products have to support newer integrations.

For compete success of the company changing only product is not enough. All the teams need to understand the difference and adopt themselves to the new model. Sooner it is understood and done, more success company can get.

The list of differences here is an example for companies in networking space because this area is affected the most from the change.

What is different in cloud-native market?

  • Lingo
    • In traditional market it is ADC, in Public cloud it is a LB and in K8s it is a proxy
    • Server Vs VM Vs Node
    • Geographies & Data Centers Vs Region & Availability Zone Vs Clusters and Namespaces
    • DC FW Vs Security Group at VPC & Node 
  • Target Audience
    • In traditional market target is SysAdmin & Ops folks
      • Focus more on functionality
      • Service assurance is main use case
    • In cloud-native market target is AppAdmins & Dev folks
      • Focus more on ease of use and automation
      • Service quality enhancement is main use case [service assurance is assumed]
  • Deployments
    • Traditional
      • Has access to physical network infra
      • Elements are Pets [Try to cure and do not kill]
      • LB operates more on L4 - requires more of sNAT, dNAT etc. features
      • Infra as instances
    • Cloud Native
      • Works on top of underlying network infra
      • Elements are Cattles [Kill and bring new instead of trying to cure]
      • LB operates more on L7 HTTP/S – requires more of content switching, micro-segmentation etc. features
      • Infra as code
  • Sales 
    • Traditional 
      • High touch model
      • Network centric
      • Requires sales person with networking background and fluent in the relevant lingo
      • Requires relationship with networking group in the target company
      • Requires access to partners in networking space
    • Cloud-native 
      • Low touch model
      • Application centric
      • Requires sales person with application & cloud background and fluent in the relevant lingo
      • Requires relationship with application group in the target company
      • Requires access to partners in cloud service space
  • Partners
    • Network Centric
      • Primarily work in reseller model focus on commission
      • Coordinate with vendors for assembling the solution
    • Cloud Centric
      • Primarily work on value addition model and focus on revenue from added value
      • Provide implementation, integration, automation services to the end customer
  • Marketing (everything is different because of different target audience and persona)
    • Analysts, Influencers
    • Publications
    • Conferences, Events

How My Son Selected What He Wants To Study

It’s a common scenario where we see parents sending kids to coaching institutes for either  Engineering or Medical. The coaching starts from class 6th. Coaching institutes and schools (focusing on competitive exams) also mentally prepare parents and kids for science stream only and not offer other subjects. For Engg, stream the focus/target remains only on Computer Science. Peer pressure is another factor that takes everyone to same route. All this creates a situation that some people regret later in their life. A few of my school classmates - even after leading good life today - regret why didn't they come of out science earlier. 

My son is in 12th grade now. He is planning to go for research in some pure science field other than biological sciences.

Many people in my circle (neighbors, friends, juniors etc.) reach out to me for suggestions on which coaching or school is good for their kid. Some of them look for a school where the kid gets admission in Kinder Garden and continues until 12th.

Here I am putting together some of the most sought questions and my replies to the same.
  • Which School should I put my kid for the first time?
    My suggestion is to find a playschool in the vicinity where someone can reach the kid anytime a situation arises. 

    In my case, I specially asked if the teachers have a set syllabus for first time school goers. The one who said 'no-syllabus' was selected for admission. IMO, that age is to learn socializing and motor skills rather than formal academics. 

  • Should I choose a school where my kid studies from KG to 12th?
    If you can choose such a school and keep your kid there for 16 years, it is good. However, in modern times it may not be feasible. 
    IMO the preference should be given to other things like commute time, availability of streams and subjects as per choice, all round development of the kid etc. Single school may not be able to cater to all the needs of the kid at different points in time.

    I also have put my son in a school that was up to 12th but I changed job when he was in 4th and we moved to a different city. While the school was good for the all round development of the kids, it was not planning to focus on the comitative exam preparation. After my son completed 10th, he moved to another school focused on competitive exams.

  • At what age should I put my kid in the coaching? Am I not spoiling the childhood if I put too them early? How will the kid cope up with the pressure if I put too late?
    Before you think of putting the kids in coaching, decide why you want to put them into a coaching. Your kid may not be needing assistance for the class s/he is in - for example, if your son is in 6th, he may not need coaching for the course in 6th.

    Most coaching institutes teach foundation courses up to 10th grade. But they still try aligning with some target that comes after 12th. Most of them are for Engg or Medical - so they align with Engg or Medical focusing on Science subjects. 

    But what if your kid doesn't like Science? or even after liking science do not want to do Engg or Medical?

    It is always good to set the direction early-on rather than preparing for Engg/Medical and then changing the stream. Competition is growing harder each year in all fields. So, kids need to prepare a lot. Sudden load in any year (typically in 11th) may overwhelm the kid. Hence, some extra effort should be started from 8th/9th and grow gradually.

  • How can my kid choose a career profession while being so young?
    No one can pin-point the profession s/he will choose later while still very young. But field/path can be selected and goal can be gradually refined.

    As parents it is our duty to guide them and let them explore from young age. Over the time, their likings may change. But we must respect them and help them refine their choices.

    Typical problem is that most of us are unaware about the vast career options. The info is available online but it is difficult to find comprehensive info in right format. Career Counselors (for school kids) are in profession of arranging this info for us.

    There are 2 formats in which the info can be arranged:
    1. Pick a profession and find what is to be studied for it. For example, if you want to become doctor, study biology.
    2. Pick a stream/subject and see what all professions can be done with it. For example, if you study commerce, you can do CA, CS, ICWA, tax consultation etc.
Me and my son found the 2nd format better as it gives less pressure at any point. For example, it asks to select only between science, humanities, commerce and arts to start with. Further subjects may be selected at next level.

Some professions like administrative services or business administration can be done irrespective of the stream. In that case, it is wise to start aligning with them early-on rather than wasting effort and being exhausted into Engg preparation.
  • Do you know someone who presents the info in 2nd format you defined above?
    My son's school brought a person - Shiv Devan - for an online session after students completed 10th. One demo session was done by Shiv for free. We (me and my son) attended that session. Shiv presented the info in the 2nd format described above. His objective was to help students choose the right subjects after 10th.

    He runs One Step Up Education Services - The website's contact info lists email: and phone: +91 98995 07055

  • Are there career options other than the handful popular ones? How do I know about them?
    There are lot more career options - they are increasing day-by-day. I am listing a few I came across but there is many more on Youtube and Internet. Most of them lists options in the 1st format defied above - knowing it is better than not knowing anything.

    This page lists options after 12th. Most of them are traditional but there are many more than just Engg and Medical

    This Youtube video looks like an adv of the person who owns that youtube channel but it describes how they find a good stream for the kid

    On Youtube you can search for 'offbeat career options in india' and find many videos.

    Someone donated box of cards in my society's library. They are called Career Insight Box (Career Cards) and has 2 volumes. Each volume has 50 cards - each card talks about one career option in brief. Total you get to know 100 career options.

  • All the careers do not pay same amount of money - what happens if s/he selects something wrong?
    The person who excel in the field gets highly paid. The people who are average in their filed get paid average. This is true irrespective of what they do - how they do is much more important.
    Computer Engg are considered to earn high but there are computer engineers who struggle to get a job. So just studying CS doesn't guarantee good earnings.

    When people do work in the field they like, they do excel easily. Additionally, mental satisfaction is much more important in the life. I have a few classmates who are doing good in life but still regret why they were forced to study Science.

    My son wants to go for research in pure Science stream. We (my wife, son and myself) understand that it is a long path and may not be as monitory rewarding as the Engg, Even after doing 4 year B. Sc. Research from IISc (the best research institute of India), chances are he may not get a job. He must add a year of masters. As compared to his classmates who will do Engg from IIT Bombay, his earnings will be lower - at least initially. But he will be satisfied for pursuing his interest.

    And as I said earlier, we believe that if he excels in his field, he will be paid good for it.
    बाकी ईश्वर की इच्छा 🙏🏽

  • You are giving us Gyan about career options but you have put your son into most rigorous college-cum-coaching for preparing for Engg Entrance Exam. Isn't it dual standard?
    I didn't force my son into anything. I allowed him to explore various options. I informed him about multiple things and helped him choose what he wants. I didn't even try steer him towards Engg.

    As I said earlier, he wants to take up research - this is non-conventional. In fact, many a times I have to defend his decision when others try convincing him to go for Computer Engg.

    He is preparing for Engg Entrance Exam because the selection into best research institutes of India (at undergraduate level) happens on the basis of IIT JEE rank.

    On the coaching rigor, we started gradually. As he agreed to take more rigor based on his own capacity, we went for more. Before going to a higher rigor, he met with senior students who have taken it already and took a well informed decision. We always kept the option open to come back.

  • Aren't you putting pressure on your son for getting a good rank in JEE?
    I am putting pressure to improve his performance week over week. I believe, some amount of pressure is required to bring out his potential. Someone said me in a different context that Dal (lentil) also cooks well when you put it in pressure cooker 😀

    His performance fluctuates and we consider it normal. We discuss about it, try figuring out what can be done to improve but never make it a life-n-death situation. 

    One thing I tell him occasionally - if he gets good rank, he can go by his choice else other people (who have better rank than him) will choose for him. He will be able to choose only form whatever is left over at that point.

  • I can't teach my kid - how can I help them improve their performance?
    The school and/or coaching teachers are teaching them anyway. If something is not clear, they should ask the teachers. Other than that kids has access to amazing Youtube videos explaining each and every topic. Parents should not venture into teaching the subjects. 

    I help my son methodically monitoring his performance over the time. A few examples are preparing the time sheet so that study hours and focused study time can be measured, plotting graph of the performance so that change in performance can be visualized, finding out the topics in each subject that he feels he is facing issues and figuring out how he can allocate time to iron out the issues etc.

  • How and when you fixed career choice for your son?
    I didn't fix anything yet. My son is deciding what he wants to do. My role is just to provide him options and help him explore. He has to choose his path. 

    I also don't force him to pin point something that is not needed today and can be selected later. For example, he selected to do research in pure sciences. After 10th, he had to choose if he wants to study biology or not. But he deferred decision to select the specialization subject for his UG or PG. He will choose it when the time comes.

    Also, there are not too many research institutions offering UG courses. Admission is based on the JEE rank. So he will choose a college after the rank is in hand.

    In addition to JEE, he is also planning to write some other exams (for non-research careers). If he gets selected into those as well, he will have a choice again.

  • How come your son is so sure at such a young age that he wants to go for research in pure science? 
    I guess at this point it makes sense to narrate the story of our family that tells how the decision shaped up over the years.

    In the early age we started giving exposure of various things to our son. Took him to various hobby classes, programs etc.  - nothing special - everyone does the same.

    He got attracted to some of the hobby classes more than others. A few things I remember we tried are - sports (Skating, Swimming, Judo, Cricket, Football), Arts (Drawing, Tabla, Guitar, Keyboard, Dance, Handicraft). Dance is something that went a little well as compared to others but it also was stopped after some time.

    Alongside these classes, we also took him to lectures, places and events related to science, historical places and museums, classical music programs, nature trails etc.

    On each item, I observed the interest level - if there was interest into some activity, we tried repeating it, if not, we started dropping. He remained interested listening to classical music and later started volunteering for SPIC MACAY.

    One more thing he picked up on his own is object photography.  I still ask him if he wants to take up photography as a career and he always denies it.

    He always remained interested in science lectures and programs. He was ready to attend these irrespective of time of the day - Sunday morning or late night. He got fascinated with astronomy and wanted to become an astronaut at an early age. This desire stayed for a very long time as compared to others. Looking at this we started taking him to more science related programs, places etc.

    He got a chance to meet many scientists and ask them how he can join. Every scientist told him a few things:
  1. All streams of science (physics, chemistry, biology) converge at some point in research
  2. There is no specific study to become an astronaut or do astronomy
  3. Excel in any form of science will lead to astronomy career
  4. Closest path to reach there is via research in any stream of science 
  5. Later in the research, he can pick the area and the people as per his interest in astronomy

With all this he concluded that he should go for some research. 

  • What all streams did your son explore during his course of studies before selecting science as his line of choice?

Even after his desire of becoming astronaut, when my son was in 8th, I discussed other streams with him - languages/arts, humanities (social sciences), commerce etc. I gave him examples of the studies and the professions each of the stream leads to. Focus was more on what interests him rather than much of choosing a career. He wanted to study science even though he was doing well in Sanskrit. With his liking towards Maths, he didn't choose the accounting side.

After 10th, his school brought up the discussion of selecting stream. They also brought a career counselor hat I mentioned above. In spite of getting better marks in biology in the exams, my son wanted to take PCM rather than PCB. Someone else in the group of his friends brought up the discussion of doing PCMB to keep both Engg and Medical lines open. But general suggestion was against it because दो नावों पर पैर रखकर चलाने वाला जरूर डूबता है।

Come late 11th, the pressure of competition started building up. Also, many people started raising questions about the possibilities of an astronaut career. My Son and I discussed and he switched the target to research in pure science. 


Earlier itself when we started looking for research institutions we came to know that IISc and IISERs are the ones offering UG program in research. There are a few others for biological  sciences research. We also came to know that KVPY was the exam for getting into IISc and IISERs. 

We didn't find any coaching specific to KVPY. Everyone (Allen, Akash, FIITJEE etc.) told that their foundation course in 9th and 10th will help for KVPY. While giving admission principal of Narayana also said that their students write KVPY. Later I realized that he used to ask everyone to write KVPY more for practice than really going for research. 

My son wrote 2021 KVPY - This got delayed for various reasons an actually happened in 2022. He was supposed to write 2022 KVPY also but they stopped. KVPY was more of a fellowship program rather than an entrance exam. IISc and IISERs were using it as the entrance exam. Now KVPY is merged with other fellowship program called Inspire.


That is where we stand today (when I am writing this in Dec 2022). I am asking my son to write NDA, and a few other exams also.

[Update 05 Mar 2023] JEE Mains Session 1 is complete. My son has got 99.9964247 percentile and stood first in Karnataka. He got selected in INO (second level of Science Olympiads) for Chemistry and Astronomy but didn't get selected for the National Camp.

Filled forms for JEE Mains session 2, NDA, BITSAT (both sessions) and Hotel Management JEE.

Following are the links that I sent to him:

The agreement with my son is that if he does good, he will have choices and can select what he wants to do. Else he has to do what he is allowed to do as per his rank.

  • How do you compare Allen (Kota) and Narayana (Hyderabad)?

I only have experience with Allen HSR and Narayana CO Kaveri Bhavan Kasavanhalli - both in Bangalore. Both these are premier institutions in India for preparation of competitive exams. I found both of them good. I switched from Allen to Narayana only based on commute time from my home. We changed place of stay - earlier Allen was nearby and later Narayana was near. Another reason was that Narayana offers integrated (coaching + college) in Bangalore while Allen doesn't.

  • How is the schedule at Narayana? 

These institutions assume that your one and only focus is getting a rank in the competitive exam you opted for - nothing else matters for you. The schedule goes accordingly. To start with, the kids are expected to be on campus for 8-10 hrs for 6 days a week. It can go up to 15 hrs a day and 7 days a week. There may be just 3 holidays of 1 week each in a year. Online classes may be called on short notice during late hours or during holidays.

Being on campus doesn't mean classroom teaching for those many hours - it means cutting off from homely distractions. Kids get to play, self study, chit-chatting and other small fun during the day when they are on campus. 

Getting into such a schedule requires mental preparation for students as well as family. Unless you and your ward has decided just one goal for the life and everyone in the house is mentally prepared for such a lifestyle, it is not wise to put the kid into such institutions.

  • Why family has to  mentally prepare and change lifestyle, why not it is important only for the student?

The student must be much more prepared as compare to family - ultimately they are most impacted. However, the entire family is also impacted - let me give a few examples. Suddenly, your ward starts coming late (after sunset) from school and you get worried for many things. You need to prepare food etc. for them as per their schedule that is different from others. They are not with you for festivals and functions - you are missing them and have complaints. Planning outings/vacations are either not possible or is very tough. There are exams every week and you are taking pressure continuously. Suddenly, percentage of marks obtained by your ward is very low and you are not able to accept it. There may be many more such things and unless everyone around the student has mentally prepared themselves for these things, the situation may be difficult. 

  • Allen Kota must be a bad place - there is so much negativity around it? 

As I said I don't have first hand experience. But my understanding is that the negativity is more because media has got attention and people decided to make money by defaming it. IMO the situation may be same at all such places. I think the situation arises because some parents send their kids to such places for wrong reasons (peer pressure. personal ambition, mismatched capabilities etc.) and do not prepare well for the situation. If you see, all negative cases are where the student either wanted to do something else but forced into Engg/Medical or was not ready to take such a rigor suddenly. I would say that in all cases parents didn't prepare well.

  • Some of our decisions have gone little here & there. Can you talk to my kid and suggest corrective actions?

I can talk. But the real question is - will your kid talk to me as freely as s/he talks to you? Is it even good that someone else talks to the kid?

The amount of confidence and comfort parents can provide to a kid, nobody else can. If someone else talks to the kid on the topic - especially after something is not that great - the kid may consider it as a breach of privacy. 

  • My kid is not very happy. I am not putting pressure of result on my kid. I have also asked if s/he wants to change the line. What should I talk to my kid?

I an no expert in child psychology but I think, talking general stuff and providing them information about various streams of studies is a good idea.

IMO it is important that this discussion never happens in context of exam results of current studies. This discussion should also not start in context of career choice. This discussion must happen in context of the general liking and interests of the kid.



Following are a few more links that I shared with other friends on their requests:

Students can choose a course from top domains including Engineering, Architecture, Design, Law, Applied Science, Business Studies, Management, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Economics, Media, Humanities, and more.


Thanks Chetna Bhagat and Ravi Awasthi for the improvement suggestions.

Company Growth: From Struggling to Cash Flow Positive in 1.5 Years


This post is the complete text of one of my twitter thread.

One of my company moved from 'struggling' to 'cash flow positive' by banning FRs (Feature Requests) during pre-sales cycle. The ban pulled the company out of the vicious circle and allowed to grow.

Back then, start to launch took ~2 years. When the company was launched, feedback from the field was that the product had good features for the problem it was solving. Some enterprise readiness features were suggested before the launch.

As sales team came on-board, we started hearing that some features - critical for sale - are missing. The team decided to support sales and started working on the FRs. I remember getting call almost everyday around 8 PM India time i.e. 7.30 AM pacific and sometimes 2.30 AM IST.

Even after many quarters of rigor, revenue didn't grow. Sales team kept complaining abt product gaps & quality issues. Engg team kept complaining abt changing priorities, tight timelines & continuous burnout. Felt as-if there is no way out. Everyone was hiding behind something.

Then came a milestone decision of banning the FRs from pre-sales. Some felt comfortable & were told "if everything that customer needs is in the product, salesperson is not needed." New sales team was strongly told to just sell whatever is on the truck - No future selling.

It is sounding very simple and logical now when I am writing it. It was never simple to understand & implement all that - a lot ups and downs happened. But results were great: - Product became much better, stable, usable - Company gone cash flow positive w/o reducing head count

I always see some companies in the same vicious circle. They think they can say 'no' to a customer only when they become big. In reality, they will become big only when they focus. For focus, they need to say 'no' to everything that tries them to stray from target.

Couple more things: 1. There is a difference between listening to market feedback and implementing customer asks. 2. Justifying FRs by saying "The item was anyway in the plan - the FR is just accelerating it" is mostly a fallacy. I have never seen it working.

If your company is also in the cycle - Sales is not able to meet targets because FRs are not delivered on time - Engg is burnt with the changing priorities and product quality is going down

Consider this strategy.

Extending the thread as some people asked to put details of how life of different teams changed after putting ban on FRs by pre-sales team. Any change brings some initial disturbances. But everyone was happier after the change settled down.

Sales team had to put more effort for building the pipeline. One can't just put a lead based on relationship. A lead qualification criterion is added - "Does existing product solve customer's pain?" For this, "Relationship Builder" sales people were replaced with "Challengers".

The sales cycles became shorter and predicable. Everything was standard. No dependency on Engg team No chasing for features No frustration due to communication gaps or missed timelines etc. Simplified implementation and support.

Sales people were much more confidant because all the selling material was available and they have rehearsed it well. PoCs were simple & fast. SEs were confidant about the features. This brought rapid growth in revenue.

The new Product Management leader suggested not to complete some of the features until there is a taker for it in the market. Such features were dropped after some time during the re-architecting exercise.

Engg team not just got relieved from changing priorities but also didn't had to spend time on support. No more night calls. Time was spent building strategic features & clearing tech debt. This made the quality of product much better and further enhanced confidence of sellers.

A very senior & deep knowledgeable yet down-to-earth architect was brought to take product to the next level. It took a few years - Re-Architecture was done shipping sale-able features, backward compatibility and moving product from appliance-based to SaaS-ready.

Overall it was win-win for everyone. Everything became better: - Quality of product - Customer satisfaction - Quality of life of all teams members - Profitability of the company

What Connects Web Application, Dumb Charades, Hindi Movies & Wikipedia


Many years back I came to Pune and started staying in a housing complex called Nisarg City. As my son started going to play school, we started meeting other parents during the pick and drop duty. Slowly parents also became fast friends - especially who were living in same or nearby housing complexes. 

At some point, 4 of us used to walk together - rain or shine. 

Can you guess the topic of discussion during most morning walks? 

No, it was never politics. Mostly it was about solving a technical/programming problem. Else we used to plan a family trip together. 

In the evening - especially on weekends, families used to sit together till late - chit-chatting and enjoying. One of the family was a lot into playing Dumb Charades and slowly dragged all of us into it. 

It has been about 6 years since I moved to Bangalore. Whatsapp came and we got connected again. But unfortunately never got a chance sitting together.

But, I still remember and cherish those days. Nothing matches roaming, eating and playing together. During those days, we played Dumb Charades so many times that finding a movie name (that was not already played many times) started becoming a challenge. Sometimes, we used to go to Wikipedia in search for movie names. 

Earlier this year - just before Covid era - we settled in the new housing complex in Bangalore (after 5 year long stay in the individual house) and lockdown happened.

Diwali of 2020 brought back both - Dumb Charades as well as family get-togethers - back in our life.

In memory of the old days and with the anticipation of nice time forward, I thought of creating a simple application that randomly brings a movie name (and other available context) from Wikipedia to help play Dumb Charades. 

First version was a Python script - quick and dirty. However, Product Manager in me insisted for much better user experience. This resulted in creation of a web application that can also be used from anywhere using mobile phone.

Enjoy the app at


PS: If you are interested in the technical aspect of the app, please look at

Kubernetes as Orchestrator for A10 Lightning Controller

A10 Lightning Controller is an application composed of multiple micro-services and works as the management, control and analytics plane of A10 Lightning Application Delivery Service

By default the controller is available to A10 customers as SaaS and they need to deploy only Lightning ADCs in their network.

But, some customers want to deploy controller also in their network for compliance or other (mostly non-technical) reasons.

Bangalore Kubernetes Meetup group thought of doing a session with topic Kubernetes in production 
and gave us (Manu and Myself) a chance to present. Our use case was that not just all the components of A10 Lightning controller run in Kubernetes (aka K8s) but we also package it so that our customer's production also run in K8s. So, this includes packaging and distribution of application as well as running in the scenario when the administrator of the application may not be very K8s savvy. 

Following is what we covered in our talk:

  1. Why we moved to K8s, what design choices we made while porting and what can be done better if we design it from scratch
  2. Issues we faced, our solutions and ongoing research in following areas
    • Scaling each micro service individually
    • Persistence across reboots
    • Persistent data storage
    • Overlay networking
    • Deploying clustered applications

Here is the presentation:

Kubernetes as Orchestrator for A10 Lightning Controller from Akshay Mathur

Here is the video captured by Neependra at meetup:
Videos of other presentations are also available at Neependra's website.
Link to other presentations are in comments of meetup page.

At the end I thank Manu for co-presenting:

Cloud Bursting using A10 Lightning ADS and AWS Lambda

 Cloud Bursting

Cloud bursting is an application deployment model in which an application that normally runs in a private cloud or data center “bursts” into a public cloud when the application needs additional resource (i.e. computing power) and use Cloud Computing for the additional resource requirement.

Think of a scenario in which an e-commerce application is running in a data center and suddenly a few items became popular and a lot of users start checking them.  Suddenly traffic starts building on the website and response starts becoming slower because of the load on servers. The only solution now is to scale the server infrastructure by provisioning more servers to handle the traffic. But provisioning new server on-the-fly is not an option in data center. Public clouds come as savor. The additional server can be launched in a public cloud like AWS and additional traffic can be routed to that server.

So, the Cloud bursting relates to hybrid clouds. The advantage of such a hybrid cloud deployment is that the resources become available on-the-fly and an organization only pays for extra compute resources when they are needed.

Cloud Bursting Architectural Model

The cloud bursting architecture establishes a form of dynamic scaling that scales or “bursts out” on-premise IT resources into a cloud whenever predefined capacity thresholds have been reached. The corresponding cloud-based IT resources are redundantly pre-deployed but remain inactive until cloud bursting occurs. After they are no longer required, the cloud-based IT resources are released and the architecture “bursts in” back to the on-premise environment.

The foundation of this architectural model is based on the automated scaling listener and resource replication mechanisms. The automated scaling listener first determines when to trigger resource replication for deploying the server in cloud.  Next, when the additional resources i.e. servers are ready in cloud, it redirects requests to those servers along with the on-premises servers.

Solution Components

In this solution, we shall see how we can burst into AWS environment with minimal cost. A10 Lightning ADS will work as scaling listener and AWS Lambda functions will work as replication mechanism for this solution. AWS API Gateway will be required to invoke lambda functions from ADS.

In steady state, A10 Lightning ADS will front-end the application traffic and will monitor for server latency. An application server instance is expected in the AWS account in stopped state so that it can be started by the lambda function as needed.

Following presentation was done in AWS Bangalore meetup: