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12 hot cloud computing companies worth watching

Brandon Butler | Sept. 6, 2012
While big-name players such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Verizon and VMware sit atop the burgeoning cloud computing market, an entire ecosystem of early stage startups are looking to stake their claim, too.

Why we're watching: You'd think Josh James would have been thrilled to sell Omniture to Adobe in 2009 for $1.8 billion, but he had frustrations: He says it wasn't easy to get access to all the reports he needed as CEO. HR reports were in one area and file system, financial and operational reports in another.

Now James is back on the startup scene with cloud-based business intelligence software vendor Domo looking to solve that problem.

"We're focused on helping business executives get the information they want, when they want it, how they want it," says Julie Kehoe, vice president of communications. The company remains fairly hush-hush about its technology as it continues to operate in stealth mode, but Kehoe says Domo can handle anything from sales to HR and online/offline marketing information from across an enterprise and beyond. "When we talk to customers right now, they talk about all the promises of analytics tools, but the No. 1 pain point is having all their information in one place," she says. Domo is designed to work on top of and alongside existing reporting applications, including Salesforce.com's CRM tool.

James got the company started last year by purchasing Corda, another analytics firm, and changing the name to Domo. No word yet on when the product will be released, but industry watchers expect it to be next year.

Embrane

Focus: Virtualized network appliances Founded: 2009 Management: Former Cisco spin-in execs Dante Malagrinò (Embrane president/CEO) and Marco Di Benedetto (CTO) Funding: $27 million from North Bridge Venture Partners, Light Speed Ventures and NEA Product availability: Version 2.0 is generally available

Why we're watching: What's the next big thing in cloud computing? If the buzz in the network industry is any indication, it could be software-defined networking (SDN).

While SDN promises to virtualize network Layers 2/3, it does not address the upper layers, 4 through 7, and that presents an opportunity to Embrane, says John Vincenzo, vice president of marketing. [Also see: "Startup founded by ex-Cisco execs pushes software-defined networking"]

Embrane's software, which it markets as Heleos, virtualizes load balancers, firewalls, VPNs and other services, allowing the applications to be provisioned in minutes and dynamically scaled as needed. It gives the functionality of a hardware appliance in the convenience of a software package, Vincenzo says. "In the evolution of IT infrastructure, virtualization has hit the compute and storage layers, but the network has still not caught up," he says.

Embrane doesn't compete directly with SDN players such as Nicira and Big Switch, but company officials hope to position its offering as a complimentary service that can be used inside or outside an SDN environment to virtualize network applications. It could be used either as an on-premise or via the cloud.

 

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