Mirantis recently announced a partnership Parallels whereby the Mirantis OpenStack distribution will be integrated into Parallels Automation, a hosting and cloud automation platform for cloud service providers. As a result of the partnership, cloud service providers can deliver IaaS solutions based on OpenStack to customers all over the world. The partnership stands to further accelerate OpenStack adoption by providing prospective customers with streamlined access to OpenStack provisioning and monitoring technologies. Moreover, the integration of Parallels Automation with OpenStack enables the use of parallels container technology as an additional container technology used in OpenStack deployments alongside Docker. Existing Parallels Automation customers can also enjoy the benefits of a unified billing experience for their OpenStack-based deployment that converges with billing for other hosting and cloud services they may have purchased. In conjunction with its $30M deal with Ericsson to license Mirantis OpenStack for a five year period, the Mirantis partnership with Parallels represents an aggressive move to assert the primacy of its OpenStack distribution in a climate that has seen less in the way of major announcements about OpenStack deals than might be expected given the tech industry’s overwhelming support for the open source IaaS collaboration.
Marketing automation vendor Act-On Software today announced the finalization of $42 million in venture financing in a round led by Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) with additional participation from Norwest Venture Partners, Trinity Ventures, US Venture Partners, and Voyager Capital. As a result of the funding raise, David Yuan, general partner at TCV, joins Act-On’s board of directors. Act-On intends to use the funding for all aspects of its business operations, including product development, sales, marketing and operations. The announcement of Act-On’s funding raise comes in the wake of IBM’s announcement of its agreement to acquire marketing automation firm Silverop on April 10.
IBM’s acquisition of Silverpop for an undisclosed sum builds upon Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua and Responsys, Salesforce.com’s acquisition of ExactTarget and Marketo’s IPO in May 2013. Silverpop specializes in the personalization of marketing content based on the creation of customized audience profiles derived from email, social media and web and mobile activity and boasts 8000 customers in over 50 countries including the likes of Mazda, Stonyfield Farm and Advanced Micro Devices. Atri Chatterjee, CMO of Act-On, commented on the significance of IBM’s acquisition of Silverpop as follows:
The marketing automation industry has been heating up and Act-On is playing in one of the hottest markets right now…IBM acquiring Silverpop further validates the rapidly growing market and substantiates the industry as a whole. We are seeing an increasingly growing demand for marketing automation as companies are doing more online multi-channel marketing and moving beyond email. Corporate Darwinism is at work here in a fast evolving market. The companies that remain standing are the hyper-growth ones with leading edge technology, or the behemoths that are scrambling to enter the market.
Here, Chatterjee notes that the marketing automation landscape is rapidly bifurcating into two spaces marked by “behemoths” like IBM and Oracle that elected to scoop up attractive platforms such as Silverpop, and a selection of standalone vendors that differentiate themselves by consistently demonstrating their ability to innovate and respond nimbly to customer needs and the changing technology horizon in which all marketing vendors operate. Act-On definitively stands in the category of the “hyper-growth” vendors “with leading edge technology” as evinced by its growth to over 2000 customers and accolades such as the designation of leader in the Forrester Wave report on lead-to-revenue management platform vendors for Q1 of 2014. Today’s funding raise brings the total capital raised by Act-On to $74 million since it was founded in 2008. Act-On now has the luxury of innovating upon its integrated marketing platform to develop more accurate analytics and predictive modeling algorithms to drive the personalization of marketing content at both a population and individual customer level. Key challenges for the Beaverton, Oregon-based company will involve the platform’s ability to incorporate real-time analytics into its prescriptive marketing campaigns, the refinement of customer profiles as they evolve in the specific context of the customer’s relationship with specific brands and the ability to generate effective outbound content such as text messages that match the needs and predispositions of targeted consumers. With an extra $42 million in cash in hand, however, Act-On may well end up becoming one of the vendors scooped up by the “behemoths which are scrambling to enter the market,” particularly if it can consolidate its impressive traction to date and enhance its platform to the point where it becomes the undisputed leader in the marketing automation space.
ActiveState today announced that cloud computing luminary Bernard Golden has joined the ActiveState leadership team as Vice President of Strategy. Golden is a cloud computing thought leader known for his cloud computing blog for CIO.com that Sys-Con-Media recognized as one of the top 50 cloud computing blogs. Golden has also held roles as the Director of Cloud Computing, Enterprise Solutions for Dell Cloud Manager as a result of Dell’s acquisition of Enstratius and CEO of HyperStratus. At Enstratius, Golden served as VP of Enterprise Solutions prior to its acquisition by Dell. Enstratius provides an infrastructure management solution that enables organizations to manage governance issues related to the use of public, private and hybrid clouds. Previously, as CEO of HyperStratus, Golden led a cloud computing consulting firm on topics such as cloud strategy, security and governance issues for clients that included Pepsi, Unilever and Chunghwa Telecom.
Golden commented on the opportunities enabled by ActiveState’s Stackato polyglot platform as a service solution as follows:
The Stackato solution provides the cloud governance and agility that enterprises require, alongside development, deployment and social monitoring tools for next generation innovation. ActiveState is well-positioned for continued growth. I look forward to being part of the ActiveState team and helping our customers leverage cost-savings, accelerate app deployment and innovate.
Here, Golden speaks to the strengths of Stackato’s governance functionality, monitoring tools and ability to accommodate the needs of enterprise customers regarding application development. Known as a “cloud guru” by several audiences and constituencies, Golden stands to contribute significantly to the next phase of ActiveState’s growth as it continues to build upon licensing partnerships with HP and another unnamed large cloud provider. Golden’s relationships within the cloud computing space and track record of building high-growth cloud-based companies means that ActiveState is poised to transform its existing profitability into an even greater share of contemporary PaaS market share over the next one to two years. The obvious question now will be whether the company’s strategic direction will shift markedly under his direction and if so, what course it will take.
On Thursday, MapR Technologies announced that it will be adding Apache Spark to its Hadoop distribution by means of a partnership with Databricks, the principal steward behind Apache Spark. Apache Spark facilitates the development of big data applications that specialize in interactive analytics, real-time analytics, machine learning and stream processing. In contrast to MapReduce, Apache Spark provides a greater range of data operators such as “mappers, reducers, joins, group-bys, and filters” that permit the modeling of more complex data flows than are available simply via map and reduce operations. Moreover, because Spark stores the results of data operators in memory, it enables low latency computations and increased efficiencies on iterative calculations that operate on in memory computational results. Spark is additionally known for its ability to automate the parallelization of jobs and tasks in ways that optimize performance and correspondingly relieve developers of the responsibility of sequencing the execution of jobs. Apache Spark can improve application performance by a factor of between 5 and 100 while its programming abstraction framework, which is based on distributed unchanging aggregations of data known as Resilient Distributed Datasets, reduces the amount of code required by 80%. MapR will support all five components of the Spark stack, namely, Shark, Spark Streaming, MLLib, GraphX and Spark R. The five components of Apache Spark illustrate the versatility of Apache Spark insofar as they can support applications that interface with streaming datasets, machine learning and graph-based applications, R and SQL. MapR’s decision to support the entire Spark stack diverges from its competitor Cloudera, which does not support Shark, the SQL on Hadoop component of Apache Spark that competes with Cloudera’s Impala product, as reported in GigaOM. All told, today’s announcement represents a small but significant attempt by MapR to reclaim the relevance of its Hadoop distribution in the wake of Cloudera’s $900M funding announcement and the $100M in funding recently secured by Hortonworks. That said, we should expect MapR to follow suit with a similar capital raise soon, even though its CMO Jack Norris claims that “with 500 paid customers the company is profitable and able to continue being successful from its current position.”
Ericsson, the Swedish provider of communications technology and services, recently signed a five year software licensing deal with Mirantis for OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service technology. According to The Wall Street Journal, the deal is valued at $30 million and consequently vies for the designation of the largest commercial OpenStack deal in the platform’s history. Ericsson intends to use OpenStack as the infrastructure technology for its internal data centers, telecommunications network and cloud computing services. Ericsson’s director of cloud systems and platforms, Jason Hoffman, noted that the company had begun using OpenStack since its inception and plans to collaborate with Mirantis to improve the resilience, durability and performance of OpenStack. The Swedish technology giant is considering development of an OpenStack-based cloud for its telco customers in response to telco pressure and feedback for Ericsson to deliver infrastructure-related innovation. Ericsson is a gold sponsor of the OpenStack Foundation and an investor in Mirantis, a Mountain View based company that specializes in helping other companies successfully implement OpenStack. Mirantis, which finalized $20M in Series A funding last year, boasts its own OpenStack distribution known simply as the Mirantis OpenStack Distribution.
Today, Recovery as a Service vendor Axcient is rendering its virtual appliance product offering free to customers for an unlimited time period. Under the terms of the offering, customers can take advantage of Axcient Free to enjoy backup and recovery for 20 TB of data for a maximum of three servers. Axcient Free can be sampled by downloading the virtual appliance and configuring it such that customers enjoy local protection and restoration functionality at a price point and with an ease of deployment that renders it attractive in comparison to local backup solutions such as Symantec Backup Exec. More importantly, Axcient Free gives customers the opportunity to sample Axcient’s infrastructure before considering a transition to the company’s enterprise-grade, cloud-based recovery as a service solution. Because Axcient’s recovery as a service offering leverages the cloud to deliver backup, disaster recovery and high-availability of IT infrastructures, it can deliver a richness of restoration functionality that exceeds legacy, onsite backup solutions. For example, Axcient’s version control features and the ability to locate and restore specific files without restoring entire servers gives customers a degree of restoration flexibility that facilitates the larger goal of enabling high-availability of mission-critical applications. As such, its recovery as a service offering stands poised to revolutionize enterprise options for backup and recovery by foregrounding recovery and availability, while concurrently leveraging the economics and agility of the cloud to render local backup solutions obsolete.
Today, Red Hat announced a partnership with Google that allows Red Hat customers to transfer Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) licenses from on-premise workloads to Google’s cloud platform. The partnership builds upon Google’s acceptance into the Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider program in November 2013 whereby Google, like other Red Hat Certified Cloud Providers, was certified by Red Hat as “a trusted destination for Red Hat customers, independent software vendors (ISVs), and partners to use Red Hat technologies on public clouds.” Red Hat has certified 29 Red Hat Certified Cloud Providers including the likes of Amazon Web Services, Autonomic Resources, IBM, Savvis, Tier 3, Verizon Terremark and Virtustream in addition to Google, to date. With today’s news, however, Google becomes only the second Red Hat Certified Cloud Provider to enjoy the Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partner designation alongside Amazon Web Services. Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partners such as Google can offer their customers a “bring your own subscription” (BYOS) model that enables them to transfer RHEL subscriptions from on-premise environments to Google’s Compute Engine platform. The announcement of Google’s graduation to the status of Red Hat Cloud Access-enabled partner represents a huge coup for Google Compute Engine (GCE), which recently slashed prices and announced product enhancements that elicited a corresponding price cut from Amazon Web Services, within days. GCE customers now have enhanced flexibility with the deployment of their RHEL licenses in relation to on-premise and public cloud deployments and can more easily create hybrid cloud infrastructures. More importantly, today’s announcement is likely to accelerate public cloud adoption amongst enterprises by transforming the economics of porting RHEL licenses from on-premise to public cloud environments such as Google Compute Engine.