Derek Collison, the guy who built VMware’s Cloud Foundry service, left the hypervisor giant in mid-February with an idea to make platforms as a service even better. His idea was to think about them not just as tools for developers, but as extensions of the enterprise. Apcera, is the result of his thinking, and today he called to tell me it has raised $2.2 million in funding.
The funding came from Andreesen Horowitz, Kleiner Perkins and True Ventures (see disclosure), and will be used to build out the company and the team. For now, Collison is the only employee and the CEO. While Collison says that Apcera is still in somewhat stealth mode, so he doesn’t want to discuss the product — or the idea for his product — he did share his thoughts on the future of PaaS.
“I founded Apcera really as a continuation of my work on cloud platforms,” he said. “I asked myself what the next-generation systems would look like and what does that mean not only for the devops side and developers, but also the other side that are concerned about visibility and controls.”
The idea being that it’s easy to build applications on existing platforms, but it’s hard to track compliance with regulatory or financial mandates. And it may not even be something as lofty as HIPAA or Sarbanes-Oxely, but might instead be trying to understand how business units are accessing and releasing information through their applications. Some companies such as Cloudability offer certain levels of visibility into PaaS or infrastructure as a service purchases, but Collison says those are added after the fact. He implies that Apcera’s product will handle visibility and compliance “from the inside out.”
For now, he’s working on all the partnerships and the engineering work that will have to go into building a product aimed at offering visibility in any of the existing IaaS or PaaS providers out there, from Amazon Web Services to OpenStack. “The system will be designed to where the market is going, so OpenStack is going to be a force to be dealt with,” Collison said.
His goal is to work not just work with IaaS or PaaS providers but also with existing software-defined networking companies, security firms and others that will also have to play a role in tracking and delivering packets from a database to an app, and then perhaps to users (or even more apps as an API call). This willingness to interoperate is at the core of the VMware Cloud Foundry platform, which allows users to span any infrastructure. As I wrote back when Cloud Foundry launched:
…this move is yet another continuation of VMware’s willingness to throw its businesses under the bus as the world of cloud computing evolves. VMware recognizes that openness is the key for delivering cloud services and that interoperability will matter to more and more companies, especially those forming today.
Collison said, “A lot of information and knowledge was born from my work on Cloud Foundry.”
There have been numerous efforts to bring some kind of audit trail, compliance and visibility for enterprises deploying in the cloud. If Collison can pull off a way to make that persnickety compliance open and interoperable across platforms, he’ll be doing something big. We’ll ask him for an update at our Structure 2012 conference, where Collison will be speaking in June.
Disclosure: True Ventures is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.
Image of Collison courtesy of Wired.