Cloudkick, a San Francisco-based startup, today is announcing its cloud server management and monitoring services. The company, which has raised $750,000 from Avalon Ventures and Nueva Ventures, is an alumnus of YCombinator. Started by Alex Polvi, Dan Di Spaltro and Logan Welliver, it was set up in order to solve the complexity of managing multiple servers, especially when bought from different service providers.
While in the past, many standalone tools have helped companies monitor and manage their infrastructure, now the trend is towards monitoring as a service. Cloudkick wants to leverage that trend. What Cloudkick has done is create a unified dashboard that helps end users monitor the workings of a panoply of cloud services – whether they buy them from Amazon’s EC2, Rackspace or other providers. The service currently works with EC2, Rackspace, Linode, GoGrid, Slicehost, Rimuhosting and VPS.net. This new tool will help Cloudkick’s clients monitor, for instance, CPU, bandwidth, memory and load.
The service, in addition to offering analytics, also offers the ability to send SMS and email alerts in case something goes wrong. At present the company is able to monitor the servers using two different methodologies: by having customers users their cloud provider API credentials or via a standalone agent that’s installed on the server.
Cloudkick is in direct competition with better-funded rivals such as Rightscale, enStratus and some other companies. For now, Rightscale dominates what is a new market. When I spoke with Di Spaltro last week, he acknowledged that it was a competitive market.
“We are essentially going after people who have been 10-to-100 servers,” he said. While the company has been offering some of its services for free since February 2009, as part of its official launch, Cloudkick is going to charge between $99 and $599 a month, depending on servers and offer bespoke plans. “We are geared more towards the startups and mid-market companies,” Di Spaltro said. Perhaps its YCombinator links will help the company get better traction in the marketplace.
Another big threat for Cloudkick (and others) is that the cloud service providers themselves start offering their own tools for free. Sure some may argue that for multiplatform cloud services you need a neutral monitoring service such as Cloudkick, but I think it’s way too premature to think in terms of people buying servers from multiple providers.
That said, there is no denying that there’s a need for such services and there’s a good chance some of the many players might break out. Let’s hope for the sake of Cloudkick’s co-founders their startup is one of them.