CloudSwitch, a Burlington, Mass.-based cloud porter, today launched the commercial version of its flagship product to help enterprise customers seamlessly move applications into the cloud. The startup claims that using it, applications from stack components to security protocols run in the cloud just as they do within the data center. For businesses hesitant to learn the intricacies of cloud development and management tools, CloudSwitch should be a welcome sight.
The underlying premise behind the CloudSwitch offering is simple. Applications and associated data currently housed in VMware or Xen environments, and running on Windows or Linux, are transported to compatible public clouds (Amazon EC2 and Terremark vCloud Express, initially) via a Layer-2 network bridge. Data is encrypted along the way to ensure security on the journey between the customer data center and the cloud, and the Layer-2 bridge means APIs and other server characteristics remain the same. Thus, CloudSwitch users can continue using their current management tools, essentially as if the application still is running in-house. Users pay CloudSwitch an annual license fee, and pay for cloud use as usual with their provider of choice.
If that’s not enough to lure leery enterprise customers, CloudSwitch is following the lead of fellow cloud vendors by developing a strong channel program. It also announced today a partnership with systems integrator LTech to help with the process of deciding which applications to port to Amazon EC2, and how to do it. And large companies might be swayed by the CloudSwitch team’s impressive backgrounds. Co-founders Ellen Rubin and John Considine come from Netezza and Sun Microsystems, respectively, and other key personnel come from EMC, RSA Security and BladeLogic.
Apparently, the CloudSwitch pitch is paying off. Rubin says the company has a strong base of financial services and pharmaceutical customers through its beta program, and their experiences and demands are driving future development. However, despite its relatively revolutionary proposition, CloudSwitch will need to keep evolving to stay ahead of large systems management vendors like CA Technologies and BMC Software, which are getting into the cloud-management game themselves.
Rubin says there’s somewhat of a plan in place already. CloudSwitch monitors a variety of metrics as customers’ applications run within CloudSwitch environments, and in the future she thinks it might be able to as a broker of sorts. Based on information gathered from its entire user communities, the company could tell customers which applications would be best to run on which clouds.
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