It’s a crowded market for companies trying to make a living by adding a uniform management layer over multiple cloud-computing offerings, but Seville, Spain-based startup Besol thinks there’s room for one more. With its flagship product offering, called Tapp, the company — which is presenting at our Structure: Europe Launchpad competition next week — thinks it can compete globally with established players such as RightScale, enStratus and Scalr by making it easy for small and mid-sized enterprises to get started with the cloud.
Besol actually launched in 2009 as a consulting firm for supercomputer and other large-system deployments, but soon realized there was a good business in helping people manage their cloud resources. As the company began working on more and more cloud computing deployments, Founder and CTO Javier Pérez-Griffo said he noticed a distinct lack of management resources compared with what he was used to with supercomputing systems. In those deployments, a single sysadmin could configure and manage many computers using tools such as Chef, but there was nothing comparable for these nascent clouds.
So, in mid-2010, Pérez-Griffo decided to stop doing consulting and start building Tapp. Now, he has a Software-as-a-Service platform for letting users configure, deploy, manage and monitor cloud resources across nine different clouds including Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, GoGrid, Joyent and IBM. All told, Tapp covers about 90 percent of the cloud-user market by supporting the clouds it does, and it can support infrastructure running VMware vCloud Director, OpenStack and CloudStack.
Pérez-Griffo knows that winning customers away from companies such as RightScale and enStratus won’t be easy, but he thinks Tapp’s focus on making cloud simple for smaller companies is a big distinction from those companies’ more enterprise-focused offerings. With Tapp, he said, “You don’t have to know the terminology between Amazon, Joyent, GoGrid” — configuring a DNS server, for example, is completely independent of any particular service provider.
Tapp is also designed for reliability. “We have infrastructure deployed all over the cloud,” Perez-Griffo explained, citing the four clouds across multiple geographies upon which Tapp is built. The company doesn’t want its service to go down if a single cloud goes down, he said, so everything is redundant across its global footprint.
Interestingly, however, Besol isn’t content with Tapp being a platform just for European users to manage their clouds. In fact, CEO Hector Rodriguez told me, a major focus will be North America and its roughly 60 percent share of the cloud computing market. The company will start pursuing that more aggressively via channel partnerships in mid-2013, he said, while it builds up experience white-labeling cloud-management platforms for European telcos in the meantime.
Outside of the United States, telcos are often looked upon more favorably as cloud providers, but they often lack the tools needed to deliver user-friendly products. Rodriguez figures scale is the only real difference between managing clouds for them and small enterprises, so if Tapp works for the former it certainly should work for the latter.
Tapp is one of five finalists in our Structure: Europe Launchpad competition, which will take place on October 16th in Amsterdam. More information can be found here.