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12 hot cloud computing companies worth watching

Cloud innovations focus on mobile, software-defined networking, monitoring and management

By , Network World
September 05, 2012 11:08 AM ET

Page 3 of 5

Maginatics

Maginatics

Focus: Enterprise storage platform 
Founded: 2010 
Location: Mountain View, Calif.  
Management: CTO Jay Kistler is former engineering VP at Yahoo; CEO Amarjit Gill has sold companies to Apple, Google, Broadcom 
Funding: $10 million, with backing from EMC, VMware and Atlantic Bridge
Availability: Generally available this month

Why we're watching: Maginatics offers a file storage system that company officials say could provide a whole new way for IT administrators to exploit cloud-based resources while maintaining data security and control.

The company's MagFS file management system, which it launched at VMworld, overlays cloud or on-premise storage to create a distributed file system that can be accessed via mobile devices.

One of the impressive things about Maginatics is the cadre of talent on its executive and advisory team. CTO Jay Kistler, former VP of engineering at Yahoo, holds a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon and previously served as chief architect for platform technologies at Akamai. Chief Architect Niraj Tolia is a former senior researcher at HP Labs, while CEO Amarjit Gill sold his last company, Agnilux, to Google, and his previous one, P.A. Semi, to Apple.

The secret sauce behind MagFS is a software design that separates data and the underlying bits and bytes that make up the information, which is encrypted at the granular level. This creates a plane for controlling the data and another for transferring and accessing information. Separating the two means data security can be centrally managed by IT, while allowing for it to be accessed on a range of devices. Users download a mobile client that decrypts the data and allows it to be accessed if they have the appropriate keys, which are centrally managed by the system. "This opens up economic benefits and access to data without sacrificing security," Kistler claims.

MagFS is different from other file sharing and document management systems because it's software, not a service, like Box, DropBox or Egnyte. "Enterprise IT has become a service provider," and IT needs ways to control the data, Kistler says.

Newvem

Newvem

Focus: Amazon Web Service monitoring, optimization 
Founded: 2010 
Location: Tel Aviv, with plans to move its headquarters to the United States 
Management: Co-founders Zev Laderman and Ilan Naslavsky once sold a startup to Sun 
Funding: $4 million from Greylock Partners, Index Ventures and Eric Shimidt's Innovation Endeavors 
Fun fact: Originally were going to name the company Nuvem, which means "cloud" in Portuguese, but because that domain name was not available, settled on Newvem

Why we're watching: The folks at Newvem know a thing or two about efficiency analytics.

This is the second startup for CEO Zev Laderman and CTO Ilan Naslavsky, who got together in the mid-2000s to create Aduva, an open source analytics firm that was eventually sold to Sun Microsystems and later rolled into Oracle. This time they're focused on becoming the go-to source for analytics related to usage of the most popular cloud vendor in the market: Amazon Web Services.

Newvem has a read-only API call that sends customers' data provided by AWS into an analytics-pumping machine, which then informs customers how efficiently they're using AWS services and recommends ways they can save money. The company's product is in public beta and it's expected to be generally available this fall.

Initial prototypes of the Newvem service included analytics around the most important metric for most customers -- cost. Initial results proved fruitful: Newvem says it helped all 40 of its alpha customers spend less money by reducing the number of servers they order from AWS. Customers in total yielded a 33% savings on weekdays and a 50% savings on weekends from turning off idle servers. Further iterations of the product focused on right-sizing servers to ensure customers are ordering only the compute and storage instances they need. Newvem now focuses on four metrics: Utilization, availability, security and spend efficiency.

Once the product hits general availability, Laderman says it will be able to handle anything from individual users all the way up to organizations running tens of thousands of servers on AWS, with pricing based on utilization. Down the line, Laderman hopes to one day expand the business outside of just monitoring AWS to provide analytics of other cloud platforms, eventually being able to advise clients on which public cloud platform may be best for them based on their usage and the cloud provider's pricing.

OneOps

OneOps

Focus: Application deployment, management and optimization 
Launched: 2011 
Location: Philadelphia 
Management: Three co-founders are former eBay engineers
Funding: Self-funded by founders 

Why we're watching: In cloud computing when you need a new virtual machine, you can simply go to any number of providers, click a few buttons, supply your credit card information and you have a new server ready to go. Same with storage, which can be scaled based on demand. Launching applications, though, is different and not as simple, say the folks from OneOps. Their system aims to make it easier.

OneOps originated from a group of eBay engineers who found that launching applications is in many cases a painful and cumbersome process. OneOps provides continuous and full-circle lifecycle management for simple to complex applications. In the OneOps control panel developers are able to pull in various attributes that an application will need. One application may need a MongoDB, while another may need to be written in PHP, while some may be launched in an Amazon cloud and others in an OpenStack-powered cloud. OneOps allows these differentiating features of an application to be centrally managed, meaning developers can provision and launch applications as needed. Just like spinning up infrastructure services from the cloud, OneOps is taking that idea to launching applications in the cloud.

Co-founders Vitaliy Zinchenko, Kire Filipovski and Mike Schwankl noticed the problem of application management while at eBay where Filipovski managed engineering services for the online auction site. "We were handing over applications between multiple teams just to get them launched," Filipovski says. "It can take 40 tickets to deploy a simple application." The issue gets back to a fundamental friction between development and operations teams, he says. OneOps, he hopes, increases the agility of being able to launch applications. The company uses an assembly line approach to install repeatable patterns used to create applications, allowing developers to iterate from application to application.

The founders have bootstrapped the startup since launching it in March 2011 and releasing the product in May of this year in private beta. They're now seeking outside funding as they expand their go-to-market strategy.

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