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Cloud software companies: cloudy is as cloudy does

Steve Hodgkinson | May 4, 2009
Specialist cloud software providers must play by cloud logic the new rules of the cloud rather than being dragged into a slugging match with the incumbent IT majors on their turf and to their rules.

Reports this week indicate that cloud computing software provider Cassatt may be about to evaporate. Selling new solutions into enterprise IT departments is tough work. Specialist cloud software providers must play by cloud logic the new rules of the cloud rather than being dragged into a slugging match with the incumbent IT majors on their turf and to their rules.

The first seller of shovels in the gold rush appears to have fallen on the way to the goldfield

Ovum logoNow that a bookseller and an advertising company have taught the IT industry how to do cloud computing, the race is on to bring cloud logic to the enterprise. If the big public cloud is a bit too scary from a security and privacy perspective, and a bit too SMB focused, why not create an in-house private cloud of your own?

Cloud logic from a buyers perspective involves things like making it easy to try and buy a service online; keeping contractual/licensing commitments light; enabling simple and automated online provisioning; making the service catalogue and its architecture, pricing and performance transparent; offering standardised configurable services and APIs; enabling customers to self-serve and peer support; and evolving the service iteratively based on actual user behaviour data.

From a back-end operations perspective, cloud logic revolves around virtualising and automating the way the infrastructure is provisioned and managed to create a flexible and scalable pool of resources.

The software required to run an in-house enterprise cloud is, of course, just the latest incarnation of the toolsets required to operate large-scale IT service management and infrastructure operations. The IT majors such as IBM, HP and Sun Microsystems have been refining these tools for decades. Cloud logic is an evolution of on-demand computing, everything as a service and the network is the computer.

However, there is also a cadre of new companies seeking to muscle in on the in-house cloud action. Cloud native companies like 3tera, Appistry, Cassatt, Elastra, ParaScale and RightScale are positioning themselves as enablers of enterprise clouds.

An early player in this game appears to be one of the first to stumble. Bill Coleman, founder and CEO of Cassatt, is quoted in an interview with Forbes magazine this week suggesting that the end may be close for the company, which it seems is coming to the end of its $100 million venture capital funding tether and is up for sale or worse.

What went wrong? Reading between the lines: a combination of not fully living in the cloud, inertia on the part of enterprise data centre owners and competition from the bigger IT vendors, which have integrated similar functionality into their own IT management suites.

 

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