Summary:

One of the underlying theme’s of this year’s Structure conference is how cloud computing has matured to the point that we’re beyond arguing over whether it’s a good idea and into how to best implement it. This year’s LaunchPad finalists underscore the cloud’s new reality.

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One of the underlying theme’s of this year’s Structure conference is how cloud computing — as both a delivery model and a set of technologies — has matured to the point that we’re beyond arguing over whether it’s a good idea in general and instead are arguing over how to best implement it. This year’s LaunchPad finalists underscore the cloud’s new reality. Many don’t focus at all on fundamental cloud capabilities such as delivering and managing cloud-based resources, and those that do approach the tasks with an emphasis on revolutionary new approaches.

Of dozens of entries, here’s who made the list:

  • Acunu, which is building a storage platform to bring advanced capabilities to big data stores, such as Cassandra.
  • BeyondCore, which uses algorithms to do business processes as a service and to process regulated data without risk.
  • Big Switch Networks, a new company building an OpenFlow-based platform for network virtualization.
  • Cloudability, which manages all of a customer’s cloud costs in one place.
  • CloudFloor, which controls the operation of cloud applications based on business insights and events.
  • DotCloud, a new kind of PaaS that lets developers run any major application or database stack in the cloud.
  • GenieDB, which is building a data fabric combining SQL and NoSQL for PaaS providers and cloud builders.
  • PHP Fog, provider of a developer-friendly PaaS offering for PHP applications.
  • Real-Status, which is building a 3-D visualization tool for modeling cloud infrastructure.
  • vCider, which is delivering an on-demand multi-layer distributed virtual switch for the cloud.
  • Zerto, a stealth-mode startup developing technology to address the needs of virtualized mission-critical applications.

From application platforms to disaster recovery to virtualized networks, it’s all about readying the cloud for all types of applications and about architecting cloud infrastructures in entirely new ways. Cloud computing is here to stay and even large enterprise will embrace it — now we need to determine how to better, faster and more flexibly.

I suspect a close competition, as everyone is doing something very cool, and the offerings themselves range so greatly in what they attempt to accomplish. The winning startup can take pride in knowing that it’s among the most-promising in a large field of cloud startups, but every company involved appears to have a promising future.

Structure 2011 takes place June 22-23 in San Francisco. Aside from the LaunchPad event, the conference features keynotes, chats and panels that include Paul Maritz, Werner Vogels, Lew Tucker and many more of the brightest minds in cloud computing.

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