A Jersey City, N.J.-startup called ThroughPuter has a message for the world’s cloud computing providers: Come talk to us, we can make your cloud fly for serious applications. The company, which recently presented at our Structure Launchpad competition, has built a hardware architecture and operating system designed from ground up to run parallel-processing applications in a multi-tenant environment. Now, all it needs is a distribution channel.
ThroughPuter President Mark Sandstrom
, founder and CEO of ThroughPuter, explained the company’s vision to me as solving a fundamental problem in today’s IT’s world. While more applications are expected to both run faster and run in the cloud, the cloud computing infrastructure underlying those apps isn’t up to the challenge. As Moore’s Law slows down, multicore chips are replacing faster clock speeds, but, Sandstrom said, neither new chips nor the clouds running them were really designed to execute parallel processing workloads.
On the contrary, ThroughPuter has developed a hardware architecture and OS that are designed to execute parallel programs in cloud environments. That means developers can write high-performance applications that run in parallel across many cores, and can actually expect them to run optimally on a cloud platform that has been designed to support them.
However, building a cloud platform and audience to go along with it isn’t easy, and Sandstrom doesn’t think one-time hardware sales to cloud providers is a great business model. That’s why he’s looking to partner with platform-as-a-service providers to make their platforms designed for sequential processing more conducive to parallel processing, as well as with the infrastructure-as-a-service providers on whose clouds most PaaS offerings run. Sandstrom sees the possibility for a revenue-sharing model in which cloud providers deploy ThroughPuter’s hardware architecture to serve customers that want to deploy parallel applications, and ThroughPuter takes a cut of the revenue from those services.
If it can get the right relationships in place, ThroughPuter’s vision might have legs. There’s definitely a desire to move enterprise applications into the cloud, and to the extent that companies are writing their applications to compute in parallel, having in place an architecture designed to run those applications could be a big draw. And it isn’t such a crazy idea — as the emergence of solid-state drives, high-performance computing clusters and other specialized architectures in the cloud have shown us, some providers are already willing to build custom services for custom applications.
If you missed, watch ThroughPuter and our other 10 Launchpad competitors present their visions to the judges at Structure 2012: