Thursday, September 25, 2008

20 Cloud computing startups - analysis

I was pointed to John Foley's InformationWeek article earlier this week of "20 Cloud Computing Startups You Should Know." Aside from the fact I could only count 19, it was a great survey of what types of companies, ideas and ventures are getting on the bandwagon.

The quick-and-dirty chart above is mine; what I found so interesting is that 8 of the players are building solutions on top of other clouds (like Amazon's EC2 and S3) while another 7 are investing in essentially building hosted services.

However, only 4 (ok, maybe 4-1/2) are thinking/trying to bring "cloud" technologies and economics to the enterprise's own internal IT. This certainly attests to the difficulty in reworking IT's entrenched technologies, and building a newer abstracted model of how IT should operate.

Even though Cassatt wasn't mentioned in the survey (maybe we were supposed to be #20) we also play in the "build-an-internal-cloud-with-what-you-have" space.

This model -- that of an "internal cloud" architecture -- will ultimately result in more efficient data centers (these architectures are highly efficient) and ones that will be able to "reach out" for additional resources (if-and-when needed) in an easier manner than today's IT.

I'd look to see more existing enterprises considering building their own cloud architectures (after all, they've already invested lots of $$ in infrastructure) while startups and smaller shops opt for the products that leverage existing (external) cloud resources.

BTW, John also just posted a very nice blog of a "reality check" to curb some of the cloud computing hype.


John Foley said...

Ken, thanks for your analysis of my analysis. The 20th company in the mix is Skytap, which provides a VM test environment as a hosted service. (Due to a production glitch, it didn't originally show up on, but it's there now.) Cassatt is on our radar, too. Mentioned them in this story on private clouds in August. John;jsessionid=CEC5S3F1FYYB0QSNDLRSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=209904474

Ken Oestreich said...

Thanks John. Methinks we need more analysis like this -- it's a fragmented and emerging market. Enterprises will have different appetites for this technology (i.e. roll-your-own vs. outsource). Helping clarify the different flavors of "cloud" will help.

friarminor said...

Hi, Ken!

You're spot on that most are leveraging AWS but think of it as butter or jam to bread and make cloud more palatable. Maybe we're just bracing up for more neutral clouds in the future.

May I also introduce you to Morph Labs Inc.? You may want to check their Morph AppSpace and most recent product, the Morph AppCloud which is like


Jamal Mazhar said...

Ken, I liked your quick chart of the industry. I can't speak for others, I can say that at Kaavo we are building on top virtualization/cloud APIs. Whether one is using public clouds or building private clouds one needs some automation, tooling, and ease of use to fully leverage the new capabilities provided by public/private clouds. Cloud providers (Amazon,Flexiscale, alt.) and virtualization players (VMware alt.) are building the automation and API bottom up. Cloud providers like Amazon EC2 are making it easy to use underlying virtualization technogies like XEN at economies of scale that smaller datacenters can't match. There are still lot of gaps from the end user perspective, i.e. what is provided by the cloud environments and what is needed to run enterprise applications. We are addressing the gaps from top down, i.e. making it is easy to configure, deploy, manage, and monitor n-tier applications and services in the cloud/s so we are building on top of existing virtualization and cloud APIs.

Ken Oestreich said...

Thanks Jamal. Hey - given all of the talk of services on top of and between clouds, what "API" standards are you seeing developed? I would think that such approaches would guide development architectures of future clouds and cloud services.

Jamal Mazhar said...

Ken, the industry is in a very nascent stage and it will take a while before we will see the use of standards. Right now different vendors have different APIs. We don't even have a common definition of "virtual compute unit" among various providers. Given that in the end the APIs are providing dynamic provisioning of virtual resources, even without any industry standards, the differences in the APIs are not going to be significant especially among public cloud providers as in the end under the hood you using either XEN, VMWare, etc.

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