Recovery as a service vendor Axcient announced the acquisition of DirectRestore LLC on Tuesday, September 16. DirectRestore specializes in granular recovery technology that enables customers to perform granular recovery from file and image-based backups. More specifically, DirectRestore’s technology facilitates granular recovery from applications such as Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Outlook, SharePoint and SQL Server. Axcient’s acquisition of DirectRestore promises to complement its cloud-based recovery as a service platform by enriching its functionality with respect to granular recovery such as the recovery of individual files and objects. In addition, the DirectRestore acquisition will expand Axcient’s research and development team by 30% as noted in the company’s blog post announcing the news. Axcient was in the midst of developing its own, proprietary granular recovery technology when it learned of DirectRestore’s technology according to MSPmentor. Axcient CEO Justin Moore elaborated on the decision to acquire DirectRestore as follows:
We were blown away by how advanced it was and how seamless we could integrate it into our core solution and merge it with our code-base. However, since controlling the technology and having a fully integrated solution has always been a part of our mission as it allows us to develop more rapidly control our roadmap and service our partners and customers better, we knew we had to acquire the company or continue building the product ourselves.
Moore remarks on the ease of DirectRestore’s integration into its technology and Axcient’s concomitant ability to control the development of its technology and product roadmap. Axcient now delivers cloud-based backup and recovery services in conjunction with granular restoration functionality that reinforces the ability of its platform to disrupt the economics and operational agility of contemporary backup and recovery products and services. The acquisition suggests impressive market traction on Axcient’s part in addition to continued product maturation and differentiation that sets it apart from other vendors in the cloud backup and recovery space. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Basho technologies today announces the release of Riak Enterprise 2.0, the production-grade NoSQL database that competes primarily with Cassandra. Riak Enterprise 2.0 features renovated search functionality by means of the integration of Apache Solr, the open source enterprise search platform. Each Riak node will now contain an instance of Apache Solr that enables enhanced search functionality throughout the Riak platform. This release also features expanded support for distributed data types such as counters, sets, flags and maps that facilitate conflict resolution in an eventually consistent data environment. Use cases for Riak involve datasets that change both with limited frequency and in real-time. The use case marked by a limited rate of change of data includes customers in the insurance and claims industry that leverage Riak to allow their members to locate physician practices or the nearest automobile repair center. Conversely, other use cases for Riak involve data collection from household appliances or devices such as fitness wearables marked by hugely dynamic data streams.
In addition to enhanced search functionality and an expanded range of distributed data types, Riak Enterprise 2.0 features simplified configuration management and more advanced security via more finely grained role-based access functionality. In all, today’s release represents a notable enrichment of a product that, in conjunction with Riak CS, is used by a third of Fortune 50 companies for applications and cloud storage. The release of Riak Enterprise 2.0 builds upon a recent decision by the National Health Service to use Basho’s Enterprise Riak platform to power Spine, the NHS’s electronic medical records platform that stores data for over 20,000 points of medical care across England. As such, Riak Enterprise 2.0 signals the intensification of battles for market share in the key-value NoSQL space, particularly given DataStax’s recent hefty $106M Series E capital raise.
Cloud monitoring and analytics vendor Cloudyn today announced the finalization of $4M in funding in a capital raise led by Titanium Investments with additional participation from existing investor RDSeed. Cloudyn’s cloud monitoring solutions deliver actionable business intelligence that empowers cloud users to optimize the performance of their infrastructures. The funding will be used to accelerate product development and enable its cloud analytics platform to support more cloud infrastructure platforms. The uniqueness of Cloudyn’s platform consists in its ability to perform cloud monitoring across a variety of vendors and infrastructures. Although most cloud vendors provide a monitoring dashboard and user interface in conjunction with their IaaS platform, Cloudyn’s value proposition rests on its ability to provide cloud monitoring across multiple vendors and environments that include private, public and hybrid infrastructures. Currently supported cloud platforms include Amazon Web Services, Google Compute Engine and OpenStack as illustrated by the graphic below:
The screenshot above provides a comparison of OpenStack, GCE and AWS costs for a customer that has chosen to use all three vendors. As told to Cloud Computing Today in a phone interview with Cloudyn’s CEO Sharon Wagner, Microsoft Azure and VMware represent key priorities for integration into Cloudyn’s monitoring and optimization platform based on customer interest and feedback. To date, Cloudyn monitors 8% of customer expense on AWS in addition to year over year revenue growth in excess of 400%, and a doubling of revenue for six consecutive quarters. Today’s funding raise brings the total capital raised by Cloudyn to $5.3M. With an extra $4M in the bank, expect Cloudyn to expand its 2400+ customer base significantly, particularly if it manages to notably expand its range of supported IaaS platforms.
Note: Data in the above screenshot does not represent an actual comparison of OpenStack, AWS and GCE costs and should be understood as sample data only.
HP announced plans to acquire Eucalyptus, the company whose open source private cloud software interoperates with Amazon Web Services, on Thursday, September 11. Under the terms of the agreement, Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos will lead HP’s cloud business as Senior Vice President and General Manager and report directly to Meg Whitman, HP’s President and CEO. Mickos, a longtime critic of the OpenStack project, has recently adopted a more conciliatory approach with respect to OpenStack in what was, in hindsight, rhetorical positioning for his role at HP as leader of the OpenStack-based HP Helion cloud product portfolio. Despite his historical criticism of OpenStack, Mickos has an enviable pedigree for commercializing open source software as the prior CEO of MySQL, now one of the most widely used open source software products in the world. HP CEO Meg Whitman elaborated on Mickos’s pedigree for the position as follows:
The addition of Marten to HP’s world-class Cloud leadership team will strengthen and accelerate the strategy we’ve had in place for more than three years, which is to help businesses build, consume and manage open source hybrid clouds. Marten will enhance HP’s outstanding bench of Cloud executives and expand HP Helion capabilities, giving customers more choice and greater control of private and hybrid cloud solutions.
As Whitman notes, HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus strengthens its position with respect to hybrid cloud solutions for the enterprise, particularly given the success had by Eucalyptus in interoperating its private clouds with the Amazon Web Services public cloud. Moreover, the experience of Mickos in successfully commercializing open source software suddenly vaults HP’s chances of succeeding in the commercial OpenStack space to the level of Red Hat, IBM and Piston Cloud Computing, whereas previously its Helion cloud portfolio evinced little in the way of a promising commercialization strategy or roadmap. Even though details of the integration of Eucalyptus with HP remain scant, the one certainty that results from HP’s acquisition of Eucalyptus is that the market dynamics within the commercial OpenStack space have now shifted dramatically, almost as if overnight. The rest remains to be seen as Mickos has his work cut out for him if he is indeed going to rescue HP from the abyss of empty OpenStack rhetoric to a promising, full fledged product that can compete with the likes of Piston, who have already demonstrated success in mitigating the complexities specific to OpenStack deployment and operations by way of their Piston OpenStack platform. As a result of the acquisition, Martin Fink, the current leader of HP’s cloud business will continue as CTO. Terms of the purchase of Eucalyptus were not disclosed although sources close to the deal speculate that the acquisition price was less than $100M for its technology and 70 or so employees. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of HP’s 2014 fiscal year.
On September 10, StackStorm revealed a partnership with Mirantis to in integrate its operations automation products into products from Mirantis, the Mountain View-based commercial OpenStack vendor. As a result of the partnership, StackStorm’s DevOps and automation products will enhance the Mirantis OpenStack distribution and contribute toward the operational agility of Mirantis OpenStack deployments. Evan Powell, CEO of StackStorm, remarked on the significance of the partnership between StackStorm and Mirantis as follows:
Mirantis is one of the leading OpenStack distributions in the industry today, and we intend to heavily invest in our partnerships so that users can leverage StackStorm alongside Mirantis software and services. OpenStack is playing an increasingly important role in the industry, and enables users to achieve the power and flexibility of the cloud without the rigidity and cost of proprietary cloud services and private cloud platforms. While our software supports more than OpenStack, we depend heavily on the community and are happy to be increasing our support.
Here, Powell underscores the criticality of OpenStack to contemporary cloud computing because of its ability to enable customers to realize the “power and flexibility of the cloud” without the “rigidity and cost of proprietary cloud services.” Powell also notes StackStorm’s intent to expand its partnership program as its technology comes out of a private Beta and achieves general availability later this year. Stackstorm delivers automation and artificial intelligence to the automation of workflows for IaaS platforms in ways that increase operational efficiencies by factors of 10 to 100. Part of the company’s mission involves bringing the automation and massive economies of scale enjoyed by technology giants such as Facebook and Google to mainstream enterprise IT by means of its machine-learning based automation technology. Today’s announcement represents an important milestone for StackStorm as Mirantis will provide a lively Beta site for the evaluation and refinement of its platform. The integration with Mirantis promises to prefigure further partnerships between StackStorm and other OpenStack vendors and a corresponding enrichment of the OpenStack ecosystem more generally. StackStorm is already a leading contributor to OpenStack Workflow as a Service collaboration, Project Mistral.
Piston Cloud Computing today announces the availability of Piston OpenStack 3.5 for enterprise-grade IaaS platforms for private clouds. Piston OpenStack 3.5 features support for OpenStack Icehouse, the latest release of the open source IaaS collaboration from the OpenStack Foundation. Version 3.5 of Piston’s commercial variant of OpenStack features support for Intel® Trusted Execution Technology (Intel® TXT) for enhanced hardware-based security that mitigates against threats posed by “hypervisor attacks, BIOS or other firmware attacks, malicious root kit installations, or other software attacks.” This release also features enhanced support for rolling upgrades including live migration that enables customers to seamlessly migrate their deployments from one version of OpenStack to another with zero downtime. In conjunction with the news of today’s release, Piston revealed a Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) calculator that allows customers to compare the cost of Piston deployments with Amazon Web Services. When asked whether the TCO reflected prices of other well known IaaS platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine, Piston CTO and co-founder Joshua McKenty noted that AWS represents the sole vendor used for comparison because it has become the standard for IaaS price comparisons. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, McKenty also noted that Piston typically weighs in at roughly 1/3 the price of a comparable AWS deployment and thereby competes with IaaS vendors not only in price, but also with respect to operational simplicity and of course, interoperability as well.
In all, today’s release delivers a significant, no-frills upgrade to February’s Piston OpenStack 3.0 release that underscores Piston’s commitment to bringing Apple-like simplicity to OpenStack deployments. Piston OpenStack just works in much the same vein as Apple products in bringing consumers premium level functionality without miring users in the intricacies of OpenStack that have traditionally been reserved for its power users. Piston customer Solidify Security expanded on Piston’s commitment to doing the “boring” work of delivering IT infrastructures for application development as follows:
We believe your ability to install, configure, integrate, maintain and life cycle applications shouldn’t stop you from having access to tools that will help you create an active security footprint. Piston is very much built from the same cloth. They believe in doing the hard boring things very well, leaving our team time to focus on building PaaS and SaaS offerings, and not on running our cluster. Piston has been able to do that and more with Piston OpenStack. With just a few considerations for compatibility we were able to select our hardware from a wide variety of vendors. And in one short afternoon we had our code migrated and own internal cluster up and running at a price previously thought out of reach.
Here, the Solidify Security team testifies to Piston’s unique focus on facilitating rapid, low cost deployments of infrastructure that enables them to “focus on building PaaS and SaaS offerings” instead of provisioning and configuring hardware. Piston’s ability to simplify OpenStack deployment and operations as indicated here may well be a game changer in the OpenStack space given OpenStack’s reputation for complexity and intensely manual deployments. That Piston appears to have cracked the nut regarding the commoditization of OpenStack bodes well not only for Piston, but for the OpenStack community at large, which stands to benefit immensely from the lead taken by McKenty’s visionary focus on delivering a product that blends the AWS-like functionality with the simplicity of Apple for private cloud IaaS deployments. Expect Piston’s reputation for user friendly products that excel at doing a few things well to propel increased market traction as its reputation for simplicity and value continues to proliferate in the OpenStack and IaaS communities.
Rumors continue to abound that Rackspace is on the verge of acquisition, but we’ve heard little in the way of definitive news about a prospective vendor just yet. On September 7, Bloomberg reported that CenturyLink is interested in acquiring the San Antonio-based IaaS vendor turned managed cloud hosting provider. A CenturyLink acquisition of Rackspace would make sense given its cash on hand and previous acquisitions of Savvis and Tier 3. That said, Rackspace’s market value of $5.6B based on share prices renders it an extremely expensive purchase that may not easily yield the return on investment sought by its acquirer. Moreover, Rackspace’s recent decision to pivot on its core IaaS offering by delivering managed cloud hosting services fails, at a glance at least, to deliver reusable intellectual property to the degree required of a $5.6B purchase. In any case, Rackspace’s decision to transition toward managed cloud hosting represented a strategic maneuver that materialized far too late for it to remain even remotely competitive in a market landscape featuring the likes of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Compute Engine. The only hope for the San Antonio-based company, now, is that a buyer emerges with the cash and strategic vision to subsume Rackspace’s technology, people and processes into a larger enterprise infrastructure on the scale of a telecommunications provider such as CenturyLink. The more that rumors proliferate about Rackspace’s acquisition with no ensuing result, however, the more deleterious the result will be for Rackspace in its attempt to find its footing, let alone a buyer.