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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.

The founders have bootstrapped the startup since launching it in March 2011 and releasing the product in May of this year in private beta. They're now seeking outside funding as they expand their go-to-market strategy.

Pertino Networks

Focus: Software-defined networking as a cloud-based service Founded: 2011 Location: Cupertino, Calif. Management: Former Packeteer CEO Craig Elliott, who's also an ex-Apple execFunding: $8.85 million from Norwest Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners Fun fact: Name is short for the town it is headquartered in 

Why we're watching: SDN technology is discussed mostly in the context of large enterprises and services providers, but one veteran network company exec has his own plans to bring SDN to the masses, and specifically to small and medium businesses via the cloud.

Craig Elliott -- former head at network appliance company and Blue Coat Systems acquisition Packeteer Networks -- was fly-fishing in New Zealand last year when former colleagues pitched him this idea: Use the cloud to deliver sophisticated networks to small and midsize businesses through a straight-forward portal.

Today's networking landscape is a box-centered world, Elliott says. Everything requires a piece of hardware. "There's a million companies selling boxes," he says, admitting that Packeteer was one of them. "If you want any sort of WAN optimization, security or another feature, basically that means you need to buy another box. That takes the mid-market and small market guys out of the picture," he says. "It's too expensive and too complicated." By using a cloud-based service and local access clients, a business can quickly provision a wide-area network, without a massive investment in hardware boxes.

Founded last year, Pertino has been operating in stealth mode, providing scant details of its plan until this past spring when it announced almost $9 million in venture financing. The team is made up of Elliott and a cadre of engineers he worked with at Packeteer, including co-founders Scott Hankins (who also spent time at NASA) and Andrew Mastracci. Pertino's product is currently in private beta, with plans to launch in early 2013.

Elliott sees a huge market opportunity given the increased reliance small businesses will have on communications and network technology and the challenges of managing a mobile workforce. Combine that with the ease and simplicity that businesses will become accustomed to with cloud-based services, and Elliott hopes his team will have a company worth watching.

ScaleXtreme

Focus: Multi-cloud monitoring and management tools  Founded: 2010Location: San Mateo, Calif.  Management: Co-founders' former startup sold to BMC for $800 million Funding: $13.5 million from Accel Partners and Ignition PartnersAvailability: Free, generally available SaaS download, some additional analytics features still in private beta

Why we're watching: As cloud computing continues to gain prominence, Nand Mulchandani doesn't believe that enterprises will be keen on putting all their eggs in the basket of one public cloud service provider. They will spread their risk and federate workloads across multiple clouds.

 

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