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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.

"Customers are building distributed data centers," says Mulchandani, CEO and co-founder of ScaleXtreme. "All of a sudden your servers are no longer in one location, they're potentially in multiple locations, on multiple infrastructures. But they still need to be managed."

ScaleXtreme allows customers to centrally monitor and provision public clouds from a dozen vendors, including Amazon, Azure, Citrix, Dell, Rackspace, VMware and others. Users can see how much CPU, disk storage and various other resources are being used on all of their cloud deployments at once, while monitoring downtime and ensuring security controls are up to date. ScaleXtreme can also be set up to automatically update security patches on virtual machines running on multiple clouds, and it can be configured to back up data or do audit checks of workloads running across public clouds. ScaleXtreme can also be configured to monitor multiple internal, behind-the-firewall data centers or private clouds, all through a single pane of glass.

Company co-founder and CTO Balaji Srinivasa has roots in data center automation, having served as principal product architect for BladeLogic, which was acquired by BMC in 2007 for $800 million. That automation background is seeded deep in ScaleXtreme. The technology works by installing an agent on the public cloud services that connects back to ScaleXtreme's cloud, which does the legwork. The ScaleXtreme system then is able to not only monitor the health of the clouds, but also command them based on the client's needs.

Next up for ScaleXtreme will be going beyond monitoring and provisioning and into predictive analytics. The company recently launched its first tools in that area, which give customers advice on how to provision the exact amount of resources that will be needed based on their history and the experience of other customers.

Social Dynamx

Focus: Social media analytics Launched: 2011 Location: Austin, Texas Funding: $2.9 million in angel funding Availability: Publicly available

Why we're watching: Gone are the days of relying solely on 1-800 customer service numbers to air grievances with companies. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks allow customers to complain, and put public pressure on companies to clean up their acts.

All of which has companies scrambling to monitor such social media activity so that they can weed through the fire hose of tweets, posts and messages.

Social Dynamx is trying to address this market with a product delivered as cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) that provides businesses and workers in contact centers with the ability to monitor, analyze and respond to consumer communications. Social Dynamx estimates that 70% of brand tweets go unanswered today, along with a whopping 95% of Facebook posts. "I literally see social media transforming what we know of in the contact center today," says President and COO Jan Ryan.

 

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