Startup wants to make cloud attractive for security-sensitive businesses

Cisco Security alums launch their startup out of stealth today

After three years in stealth, an Andreessen Horowitz-backed startup named Bracket Computing launched a new computing system today that aims to make the public cloud more palatable for security-sensitive enterprises.

Bracket uses what it refers to as “cells” that encapsulate an application and deploy it on to Amazon Web Service’s or Google’s IaaS public cloud. The system wraps the application with encryption and it automatically spreads the application out over multiple availability zones and regions to make it fault tolerant.

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Bracket inserts a software layer between workloads that are deployed to the public cloud and the underlying cloud infrastructure. This model allows the application to scale up and down as needed, and benefit from encryption with keys that are stored on customer’s premises.

“Our goal was to create a software that allows large enterprises to take advantage of the scale and elasticity of the public cloud, while getting the predictability of their own data center,” says Tom Gillis, Bracket’s CEO who was formerly vice president/general manager of Cisco's Security Technology Group. Other members of the Bracket team include other former Cisco security alums and Rob Enns as vice president of Engineering, which is the same title he held at VMware’s Network and Security division. Bracket has raised $85 million from venture backers Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, ARTIS Ventures, Allegis Capital, GE and Qualcomm.

Bracket Computing Bracket Computing

Startup Bracket Computing allows users to spread workloads across Amazon and Google’s public clouds, while wrapping them in an encrypted “cell.”

Gartner Research Vice President Tom Bittman expects the system will appeal to organizations who want to take advantage of the public cloud for what he calls “bursty” workloads – those that have changing infrastructure requirements - but they may also have critical data that needs to be protected. “It’s a pretty specific use case, but for a Wall Street financial firm, this could be a valuable solution,” he says.

What a system like Bracket does not do, Bittman says, is make it easier to port existing legacy workloads up into the public cloud. Bittman still believes the public cloud is best for new workloads that have compute requirements that change frequently. For those bursty workloads that also have a security aspect to them, solutions like Bracket’s could be a good fit.

Another aspect of the Bracket technology is that it can be programmed to set parameters of an application - for example, that it can burst to x number of cores, or consume y amount of storage (see image, above). Plans are for the system to be able to federate workloads across multiple cloud providers in the future, allowing an organization to deploy once and have their app backed up, securely, across Amazon and Google’s cloud.

Bracket isn’t the only company that offers cloud deployment services. Companies like RightScale and Ravello have cloud dashboards, but Bracket combines the cloud launching with encryption, along with distributed management of the application too.

Bracket’s product is available immediately is priced based on the amount of computing resources it is handling. For example, a four CPUI, 16GB of RAM deployment would average $0.28 per hour, while storage averages about $0.25/GB per month.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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