Friday, 14 May 2010

15 Cloud Companies to Watch

Innovative vendors offering ways to make the transition to a cloud-based world less daunting.

1) Abiquo

Headquarters: Redwood City, Calif.What it offers: Abiquo Enterprise Edition, cloud management software How much it costs: Community Edition: free download. Enterprise Edition: From $211 for 1-49 physical cores to $432 for 1,000 or more cores.
Why we're watching the company: Abiquo has tackled two problems plaguing just about any IT organization that operates a virtual infrastructure – how to manage it effectively and how to avoid vendor lock-in. Abiquo combines open source software with cloud expertise and support for multiple hypervisors.

"We built our product around where virtual management is going, which is the cloud. We are hypervisor agnostic and can move virtual machine images between any hypervisor. We provide the management glue," said Abiquo CEO Pete Malcolm in an interview for Network World's "Network/Systems Management Alert" newsletter.

IT managers can use the software to create virtual data centers through which they can deploy bundled servers, storage and other physical resources, and applications from public or private virtual image libraries. The Abiquo cloud management software separates the task of managing those physical infrastructure pieces from the creation and management of applications. The software, running on a central server, auto-discovers machine resources, manages existing live virtual machines, and can capture and store "stateful" virtual machines, Malcolm described.

The latest version, Abiquo 1.5, adds policy-based workload management, enforceable resource limits and multi-tenancy capabilities that provide delegated provisioning of virtual enterprises.

What this all means for enterprise IT shops is the grand promise of vendor-neutral, interoperable management of virtual resource pools, be those inside the company or out in the cloud.

Who heads the company: CEO Pete Malcolm, a serial entrepreneur brought in last year to help the company expand internationally. Most recently, he had been CTO at Orchestria, which he founded and CA bought in 2009.

How the company got into cloud computing: Founders initially focused on grid computing but interest in cloud technologies led to development of the AbiCloud open source project in early 2008. AbiCloud was formally released in February.

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