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7 hot cloud companies to watch

Getting data onto the cloud is one thing; managing it is another

By Brad Reed, Network World
September 12, 2011 06:00 AM ET

Page 4 of 6

"Let's say you have two identical workloads that you're processing at Rackspace and Amazon," says Zabrowski. "But then suddenly your workload at Amazon starts to exceed your threshold and you can immediately benchmark how much that would cost to move to Rackspace."

CloudTP

Focus: Cloud consulting services

Founded: 2009

CEO: Chris Greendale, formerly with Cambridge Technology Partners

Location: Boston

Product availability: Now

Why it's worth watching: CloudTP offers a little something for everyone who's thinking of migrating to cloud architecture. The company's services can be divided into three main components: A consulting service that specializes in advising companies in how to transform their application, storage and infrastructure to a public, private or hybrid cloud; a private cloud systems integration group that helps companies define and build architecture to help them migrate to their own private cloud; and finally, providing companies with help implementing their applications over to the cloud.

The application implementation program doesn't just involve help with migrating apps from private data centers to the cloud, although that's obviously a big part of it. CloudTP, which emerged from stealth mode in January with $1 million in seed funding, also helps companies evaluate different cloud vendors and manage energy resources through its Energy Resource Management (ERM) software that determines energy consumption from multiple sources and looks for potential efficiencies.

CloudTP looks at cloud migration as a series of simple steps that every company has to undertake. First, companies need to define their reference architecture they need to migrate and then decide on design parameters. Then they need to analyze their portfolio of applications to identify which ones would be good candidates for cloud migration by testing whether they're compliant with your desired cloud design parameters. And finally, they need to estimate the migration work effort and start moving applications to the cloud.

Jim Lampert, CloudTP's co-founder and vice president in charge of sales and marketing, says that his company's comprehensive approach to helping companies make the move to the cloud and manage cloud services comes from decades that CloudTP CEO Chris Greendale spent doing similar consulting and software implementation work at his previous company, Cambridge Technology Partners.

"Although we're a young company, we've really approached this with a mature approach," he says. "It's in our DNA and in our blood."

Piston Cloud Computing

Focus: Enterprise cloud computing based on OpenStack

Founded: 2011

CEO: Joshua McKenty, formerly a NASA contractor

Location: San Francisco

Product availability: Not announced

Why it's worth watching: It may seem strange to say that Piston Cloud Computing is worth watching even though it has yet to make any official product announcements. But at the same time, what we do know about Piston is highly intriguing.

In the first place, it was founded by Joshua McKenty, who has spent three years working with NASA and who was the architect of NASA's Nebula Cloud infrastructure. And second, Piston Cloud will base its eventual offerings on OpenStack, the open-source cloud infrastructure platform co-founded by NASA and Rackspace and supported by more than 100 companies including Cisco, Intel, HP and Dell. McKenty says that when Piston's software is eventually released to the world, we can expect it to have much more of an enterprise focus than other companies participating in the OpenStack project.

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