Joyent Buys Layerboom to Offer Enterprises Easier Transition to the Cloud

Jason Hoffman at Structure 2009

Joyent, the hosting company turned private cloud provider, has purchased Layerboom, a Vancouver-based startup, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition helps Joyent create an easier on-ramp to the cloud for customers of its appliances and software. Layerboom, a Bootup Labs incubated company, makes software and an appliance that enables a company to manage virtual machines running the Windows and Linux operating systems. Joyent CTO Jason Hoffman says the acquisition will help customers who still need to manage legacy hardware make the transition to Joyent’s ideal of running a platform as a service.

Joyent, which began as a hosting company in 2003 2004, is betting that enterprises don’t want to manage their own servers — even if they are virtual — and would rather build applications on top of language-specific or database-specific platforms. It offers an appliance that companies can use to create private internal clouds, but in 2009, it also bought a company called Reasonably Smart to allow its customers to internally offer the equivalent of a Google (s goog) App Engine–like platform as a service for customers, on top of Joyent’s appliance or customers’ own hardware. The Layerboom deal sits beneath those two layers and will help customers more at the virtual machine level, because as Hoffman said, “You may always need to have a few Windows boxes running around.”

Hoffman says the deal came about because, as Layerboom was raising its Series B round of funding, investors inevitably came to Joyent for its input. Hoffman decided to take a look, and Joyent ended up buying the company. Hoffman says Joyent has purchased four startups (including Reasonably Smart) at a similar stage because it saw a chance to extend its vision. This vision is a compelling one as enterprises eye the cloud and need ways to maintain or transition from their legacy infrastructure.

Related GigaOM Pro Research (sub req’d): Defining Internal Cloud Options: From Appistry to VMware