Who owns www.cloud.com anyway?

Coveted www.cloud.com domain snatched up by start-up VMOps

Cloud start-up VMOps acquired the coveted domain name www.cloud.com from an unnamed seller.

If you were going to start a cloud computing company, wouldn't cloud.com be the perfect domain name?

With all the hype surrounding cloud computing, it may be surprising that www.cloud.com wasn't gobbled up by a major corporation such as IBM, Amazon or Microsoft. After all, www.cloudcomputing.com is owned by Dell.

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Cloud.com is simpler and easier to type, though, and in recent months there was speculation the domain name could fetch six figures, perhaps even more than $250,000

Who bought it? A company called VMOps, which launched the new Cloud.com brand on Tuesday to sell software that helps service providers and enterprises turn physical and virtual resources into cloud computing services.

VMOps purchased the www.cloud.com domain from an individual in the tech business who previously put it on the auction block without selling it, says Peder Ulander, chief marketing officer. The person wanted to sell cloud.com to a company that he believed in, according to Ulander.

"He liked our vision, he liked the fact that it was a small start-up," Ulander said. "It's been up for auction a couple of times in a couple of cloud expos. It seems like it never got to the point where he found the right fit for it."

VMOps acquired cloud.com at the beginning of 2010, according to Ulander, who said he couldn't reveal the seller's name or the amount VMOps paid for the domain.

But a search of the Wayback Machine Internet archive shows that, between 2002 and 2005, cloud.com was the personal Web site of Brad Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick created LiveJournal and the company Danga Interactive, which he sold to Six Apart in 2005. Fitzpatrick became chief architect at Six Apart but left in 2007 and now works for Google as a self-described hacker.

However, Fitzpatrick said cloud.com was actually owned by Scott Heiferman, the CEO and co-founder of Meetup.

"I was just hosting a project of his on my server for awhile, and then probably misconfigured my server and it showed my homepage for awhile," Fitzpatrick said in an e-mail to Network World.

Heiferman declined to comment when contacted by Network World.

Starting in 2006, cloud.com was a generic marketing page with various advertisements and links to sales pitches.With VMOps now running cloud.com, the site is offering open source software for building cloud networks, and later this month will start selling service provider and enterprise editions of the product.

The software is called the CloudStack, and runs on top of the VMware, Citrix XenServer and KVM hypervisors, creating computing pools consisting of virtual machines, storage and networking capabilities, accessed through self-service interfaces for both administrators and users. CloudStack is compatible with common cloud frameworks like Amazon's API, Citrix Cloud Center and VMware vCloud, potentially allowing portability of applications between private data centers and cloud services, according to Ulander.

Ulander acknowledged that CloudStack is similar to the already released, and also open source Eucalyptus software, but claimed that CloudStack offers better management tools and scalability.

VMOps, or Cloud.com as it is now calling itself, was founded in 2008 and has more than $17 million in funding from Red Point Ventures, Nexus Venture Partners and Index Ventures.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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