Two words describe the stakes of cloud computing today: open source. Despite the proliferation of vendors and the radical prolixity of cloud product offerings, open source remains the world on everyone’s lips in both IaaS and PaaS circles. As the web buzzed with news of Citrix’s defection from OpenStack, and the tech blogosphere took in Red Hat’s feat of surpassing the $1 billion mark in revenue, Red Hat’s decision to open-source its OpenShift PaaS platform escaped the attention of cloud pundits that had focused on the ascendancy of the Amazon Web Services API, CloudStack’s incubation by the Apache Software Foundation and OpenStack’s release of its latest version, Essex.
Red Hat announced plans to open-source OpenShift at the Open Cloud Conference from April 30 to May 3, 2012 in Sunnyvale, California. OpenShift, which supports Java, Ruby, PHP, Perl and Node.js, will be available under an Apache license on Github. The Raleigh, NC-based commercial Linux distributor acquired the foundation of OpenShift as a result of its acquisition of Makara in November 2010, although OpenShift additionally uses JBoss Application Server as well. Red Hat plans to run a number of workshops at the Open Cloud Conference to guide developers in the steps required to install its PaaS platform in addition to instructing users how to run OpenShift on OpenStack. OpenShift will join VMWare’s Cloud Foundry as another open source PaaS platform that can be commercialized by aspiring vendors into an enterprise-grade PaaS offering.
This week, cloud services provider Appirio announced the finalization of $60 million in Series D funding led by General Atlantic with additional participation from Sequoia Capital and GGV Capital. The funding allows for continued investment in Appirio’s cloud technology platform marked by its Cloud Enablement Suite, as well as mergers and acquisitions to support its global expansion. Appirio’s Cloud Enablement Suite contains “applications, assets, analytics and crowdsourcing community to power enterprise cloud development.” Appirio’s crowdsourcing platform CloudSpokes matches its customers with a community of more than 35,000 developers interested in working on cloud-related projects.
Appirio has managed installations of cloud applications featuring Salesforce.com, Google Apps and Workday for customers such as Facebook, Twitter, Japan Post and BMC Software. To date, the company has migrated more than 1.5 million users to the cloud. The capital raise follows upon a highly successful year for Appirio in 2011 in which it developed its Cloud Enablement Suite, increased revenue by 80% in comparison with the previous year and acquired SaaSpoint.
Appirio’s capital raise illustrates investor interest in the cloud service provider market. Roughly ten days ago, Cloud Sherpas, a cloud service provider that focuses on Google Apps and Salesforce.com, announced a $20 million funding raise from Columbia Capital as well as the merger with GlobalOne that enables the inclusion of Salesforce applications within its portfolio. Appirio differentiates itself from Cloud Sherpas by embracing a broader portfolio of cloud-based applications. Appirio currently has offices in the U.S., U.K., Singapore and Japan and offers its customers developers through its crowdsourcing platform that are located in more than 65 countries.
AT&T became the first U.S. telecom provider to join OpenStack on Monday. In a blog post, the company’s CTO, John Donovan, noted that AT&T had been participating in OpenStack for over a year and had “already contributed a blueprint for a potential new function within OpenStack, focused on transactional task management.” AT&T will host OpenStack on dedicated equipment in Dallas, San Diego and Secaucus and plans to double the number of OpenStack centers in 2012. Separate from the OpenStack announcement, Donovan announced plans to deploy a developer-focused cloud infrastructure called AT&T Cloud Architect. AT&T Cloud Architect differs from Synaptic Hosting, AT&T’s enterprise-based, infrastructure as a service offering because it caters to developer cloud needs focused around price and flexibility such as the ability to open accounts in seconds with a credit card. The target audience for Cloud Architect overlaps with the audience for the API platform that AT&T announced yesterday to “boost innovation and collaboration with mobile developers.” AT&T’s API platform for developers features software hooks that allow developers to easily reference AT&T services in their applications. Cloud Architect represents an ambitious play by AT&T given that it will compete squarely with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Rackspace for the attention of the developer community.
AT&T is the third major U.S. telecom company to make an aggressive push into cloud computing. In January 2011, Verizon agreed to acquire Terremark for $1.4 billion. In April, CenturyLink acquired Savvis for $2.5 billion.