IaaS, private cloud startup Nebula today announced the finalization of a $25 million round of Series B funding led by Comcast Ventures, with additional participation from Highland Capital Partners, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Innovation Endeavors and well known investors Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton and Ram Shriram. Other investors include Harris Barton, William Hearst III, Scott McNealy and Maynard Webb as well as the Silicon Valley Bank.
The $25 million in equity and debt financing will enable the expansion of the private Beta that was launched in March for unnamed companies in the technology, financial services, biopharma and media verticals. The funding round also enables the expansion of Nebula’s product development team, development of a “petascale test system” and the overall acceleration of the delivery of its products.
Founded by former NASA CTO Chris Kemp, Nebula plays in the private cloud space for enterprises. Nebula’s core technology is based on OpenStack and provides a means for enterprises to quickly create a massive private cloud ecosystem. Details of the Nebula platform have been scant but Nebula the core concept consists of a streamlined approach to turning a private enterprise data center into an Infrastructure as a Service cloud that runs behind the enterprise firewall.
On July 27 at OSCON, the Open Source Convention in Portland, Oregon, former NASA CTO Chris Kemp announced details of Nebula, the startup that he launched in Palo Alto with the help of co-founders Devin Carlen and Steve O’Hara. Carlen, Nebula’s Vice President of Engineering, was formerly CTO of Anso Labs while O’Hara, Vice President of Business Development, is the founder of Prime Networks, OnFiber, and CoreLogic.
Nebula provides enterprise customers with a hardware appliance that enables rapid deployment of a private cloud environment using standardized hardware specifications. The appliance comes loaded with OpenStack software. On the hardware side, each appliance has a 10 GB switch with 48 ports that allow connections to 24 two rack (U) servers. Kemp elaborated on the features of Nebula’s appliance as follows:
Our little box has a 10 gigabit ethernet switch built into it. You can plug cheap commodity servers into the rack. You don’t have to turn them on. It will do that. The interface is like Amazon Services. These servers act as monitors by this appliance, including log files and flow data. What we do is create interface points to all of the common CMDB [Configuration Management Database] tools, managing tools, security tools, like ArcSight or Splunk.
In addition to OpenStack, the appliance comes loaded with security, management and networking functionality that allows it to integrate seamlessly with the requirements of an enterprise IT infrastructure. Users could well decide to connect multiple appliances together to obtain more storage capacity. Nebula’s appliance is intended to support Dell Series C servers as well as servers compatible with the Facebook Open Compute project. Intended for release in Q4 of 2011, the appliance is expected to democratize cloud computing by “allowing businesses to easily, securely and inexpensively deploy large private cloud computing infrastructures from thousands of inexpensive computers with minimal effort,” according to Nebula’s press release.