Nimbula services offer help building private clouds

The company is targeting companies that launched on public clouds but are transitioning to private clouds

Some businesses that rely on Amazon Web Services to run Web applications are starting to realize that they can save money or get better performance by building their own internal clouds -- and Nimbula is hoping to help them out.

On Monday Nimbula plans to launch a new professional services offering to help companies build private or hybrid clouds using its software.

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"We're seeing a lot of demand and traction from customers who were born and grown on public cloud infrastructure but once they pass the initial phase of growth, they see economically the public cloud is no longer the best value for them," said Reza Malekzadeh, vice president of marketing for Nimbula.

Nimbula, whose founders helped build Amazon Web Services, offers software that enterprises use to build private clouds. With its new professional services offering, it will help businesses build the hardware and software infrastructure for a private cloud, help with architecting applications to take advantage of the cloud and assist in creating hybrid clouds that run internally and extend to AWS when more compute power is needed.

Web startups are increasingly using AWS to launch their services since they can't predict demand. "It's economically cheaper to grow on the public cloud because you don't need to sink money in infrastructure up front," Malekzadeh said. "You don't really know how much is going to be used so the only way to plan for it on your own would be to buy more than you need to accommodate for growth."

But after launching a new service on a public cloud, once a portion of traffic is stable and predictable, it can be cheaper for the business to build and run its own cloud. If the business buys commodity X86 hardware like Amazon does, the cost of ownership is low and the business can depreciate the hardware on its earnings sheet, Malekzadeh said.

Zynga has become the poster child for web companies that launch on Amazon and then build an internal cloud. It still uses Amazon for bursts of traffic. But building its own internal cloud meant it could tune it to perform optimally for its particular needs, Allen Leinwand, CTO for infrastructure engineering at Zynga said at a recent conference. "When you get to the point where infrastructure can be a differentiator for your application and you change your model from renting to owning, then you can make the hybrid cloud something instrumental to your business," he said.

Nimbula hopes that businesses will use its professional services to build their private clouds because it can help them do so more quickly, Malekzadeh said. Nimbula's software is mature and the company's engineers are already skilled at deploying it, he said.

In addition, Nimbula's engineers have the skills to build a cloud infrastructure -- skills often lacking in businesses. "Building the type of compute cloud Amazon has is not a traditional IT skill," he said. Businesses also often don't have the experience required to architect applications to run efficiently on cloud infrastructure.

Nimbula isn't the only vendor in the cloud market offering professional services. Rackspace offers to help companies use OpenStack to build private clouds and Dimension Data, an NTT subsidiary, also helps businesses build private clouds.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's email address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com.

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