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.
"OpenStack is the biggest game in town right now with more than 100 participating companies," he says. "And as far as Piston's role in OpenStack, not only are we involved but we're one of the only companies that's focused on enterprise cloud requirements as opposed to the public cloud side of things."
Piston's efforts so far have been greatly rewarded as the company raised $4.5 million in venture funding led by Hummer Winblad and True Ventures earlier this year. So when Piston finally decides to make its goods public, it will have a strong amount of funding backing it up as well as its strong connections to the OpenStack initiative.
McKenty says that his company's product will be of particular interest to big companies in industries such as biotech, insurance, defense and finance that want to have their own private clouds for security and regulatory purposes. McKenty adds that while public clouds may work fine for companies that don't face strict regulatory environments, they won't be optimal for companies that are more constrained in how they store their information.
"The same requirements that drive companies to go to a private cloud are the same ones that have limited the adoption of outsourcing," he explains. "There are real security concerns when it comes to handling off-premises resources and regulatory compliance is a major driver to how any IT system is managed."
Focus: Networking as a service
Location: Silicon Valley
CEO: Chris Marino
Product availability: Now
Why it's worth watching: You've heard of software as a service and infrastructure as a service but likely aren't as familiar with the concept of networking as a service.
Chris Marino, CEO of VCider, is hoping to change that with his company's Distributed Virtual Switch for Cloud Computing that can get cloud infrastructure from different vendors located in multiple regions to behave as though it's a locally controlled LAN.
"Think of it as a VPN that's built between servers that are within the cloud," says Marino.
Users can set up their own inter-cloud networks by logging onto their VCider account and downloading software onto all the cloud nodes they want to include in the network. The VCider system then gives them virtual IP address that can be used to communicate with one another as though they're located on the same LAN instead of on, say, different continents. Marino says that the idea is to take the basic framework of a VPN and scale it so that it can connect cloud servers directly to one another.
"With a VPN you typically have a box on the premises that users connect to through an IPsec tunnel where all users connect to the same box," explains Marino. "That works OK for desktops but when you bring that model to servers it collapses. With our networking-as-a-service system, every node can speak directly with its destination and you can scale more because you don't have a single hub to connect to and you don't have an extra data hop."
VCider so far has raised more than $500,000 and is looking to raise even more money over the next few months to ramp up its capabilities. For now, though, Marino says users can try out the live service that's currently available on the VCider website to take their virtual cloud LANs out for a spin.
This story, "7 cloud companies on the rise" was originally published by Network World.