Cloud.com's open source CloudStack software makes it easy for just about anyone to get into the cloud provider business. The Cupertino based company yesterday announced the availability of the open source version of their tool, the change to their new name (they used to be VMOps), the addition of several high profile executives and new financing. They will have commercially licensed versions of their software out by months end that include integration into billing and support tools, as well as more robust APIs.
Several reports regarding the launch have called Cloud.com an IaaS (infrastructure as a service) provider. I don't think that is quite correct. Cloud.com is not offering a service. If anything they are an IaaS enabler. Their software will allow others to become an IaaS. But lets not quibble over definitions. There is already far too much of that in the cloud world.
I had a chance to see a demo of the product the other day from Peder Ulander, newly minted chief marketing officer at Cloud.com. I knew of Peder from his time at Cobalt Networks. Cobalt reminded me of my own web hosting experience helping to start Interliant. We were one of the first Cobalt hosting partners.
It is appropriate that it reminded me of those days too. Cloud.com could do for cloud providers what products like Ensim and Cpanel did for the web hosting business. Those products greatly lowered the barrier for web hosting providers. They made setting up, provisioning and management of web sites and servers easy. Anyone could set up provisioning and management for web hosting using one of these products and get into the web hosting business. This greatly changed the web hosting business. Site and server management were no longer key differentiators. Everyone had them now and they all looked alike. To date that has been exactly what was missing in the cloud equation. Now with Cloud.com and Eucalyptus the stage is set for a similar story in cloud providers.
While I was very impressed with the UI and all of the features that Cloud.com offers, I think there is also room for a lot of other companies to come in and offer enhancements and additional features to a cloud providers line up.
It will be interesting to see if this space is big enough for two providers to both succeed. The fact that both have open source offerings though is I think a very powerful message too. Open source is the way to go it seems if you want to win over the hearts and minds of cloud providers.
Here is a brief demo of Cloud.com
BTW, couple of other random lines regarding cloud. How much do you think they paid for the cloud.com domain name? I have no idea. IBM also made a move in the cloud yesterday with their purchase of Cast Iron Systems (price undisclosed). VirtuStream announced a $40m dollar raise led by Intel Capital. So things in the cloud are heating up!