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10 hot cloud startups to watch

Jeff Vance | March 6, 2013
After evaluating more than 150 new cloud ventures, here are the top 10 cloud startups. These companies are shaping--or have the potential to shape--how the cloud computing market will evolve.

Founded: April, 2009

Funding: HyTrust has raised $16 million from Trident Capital, Granite Ventures and Epic Ventures, as well as strategic corporate investors such as Cisco and VMware.

Why they're on this list: Virtualized and cloud infrastructures create new security, control, management and compliance challenges for IT staffs. Organizations take big risks when they move to the cloud or rely on virtualization when critical applications and sensitive information are not properly secured.

The HyTrust Appliance delivers access control, enforcement of policy across virtual infrastructures, hypervisor hardening, and audit-quality logging among other features. By addressing these requirements, HyTrust is able to provide organizations with the control and visibility required for them to virtualize Tier 1 applications, meet corporate governance requirements, and avoid costly downtime or other possibly more serious business disruption.

Customers include AIG, U.S. Army, Northrop Grumman, Pepsi, McKesson, Home Shopping Network, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, UC Berkeley, State of New Mexico, and Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

Market landscape and competition: The cloud security market is incredibly crowded, but HyTrust has carved out a solid niche by focusing on hypervisor vulnerabilities. Competitors include Altor Networks (now Juniper) and Catbird.

8. Nebula

What they do: Provide OpenStack-based appliances that let businesses deploy and manage private clouds.

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

CEO: Chris Kemp, who was previously CTO for IT at NASA, where he also co-founded the OpenStack project

Founded: April 2011

Funding: In September 2012, the company raised a $25 million Series B round led by Comcast Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. Kleiner Perkins, William Hearts II, Maynard Webb, Scott McNealy, Innovation Endeavors participating and Google's first three investors (Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton and Ram Shriram) also participated.

Why they're on this list: OpenStack is shaking up the cloud infrastructure landscape, serving as the main open-source alternative (sorry CloudStack) to VMware. CEO Chris Kemp co-founded OpenStack while he was at NASA, and along with Rackspace, Nebula is a key driver helping to make OpenStack a viable alternative to closed cloud systems.

NASA and several other government agencies use OpenStack for their own private clouds. Nebula delivers its private cloud solution as an appliance.

Market potential and competitive landscape: Cloud market predictions are all over the map (Forrester predicts that the global cloud computing market will grow from $40.7 billion in 2011 to more than $241 billion in 2020, while Deloitte predicts that cloud-based applications will only replace 2.34 percent of enterprise IT spending in 2014 rising to 14.49 percent in 2020, while also pushing down costs in the process). We do know, though, that the cloud deployment and management market will be large.

This sector is a land grab as of now, but there is a ton of competition already, including VMware, AWS, Citrix (CloudStack), dinCloud, AppZero, Eucalyptus, Rackspace, OnApp, Piston and many others.

 

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