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Four disruptive start-ups in enterprise cloud computing

What can the cloud do for the world’s biggest companies? (Kiichiro Sato/AP)

Everyone has heard about the cloud, which powers the smartphone apps we all love. The cloud is also vital to large companies, yet their adoption of the cloud hasn’t been as seamless.

Large companies are hampered by years of old systems, programs and data, hundreds of thousands of employees spread across the world, distributed operations which are often siloed (disconnected). They not only have to run their traditional businesses but now have to evolve to deploy across the complex cloud landscape and have everything readily available on smart devices.

I decided to honor this complexity and highlight four companies that are disruptive and innovative in this space. I categorize these companies as those bringing simplicity to complexity and enabling new opportunities. There are of course other players in the cloud arena. These are start-ups and are actively looking to deploy their technologies across a broad spectrum of vertical industries. These companies need to grow, gain massive and meaningful adoption by the enterprise and in turn by consumers.

Let’s take a closer look at these four disruptive companies and think through the possibilities:

1. VeloCloud

Wouldn’t you love a world where you would not be captive by your broadband providers? Today you pay more each year, never know the performance of what you are paying for and often not happy with the service? For companies with hundreds of thousands of employees, operations and clients this is a huge and costly problem. But very lucrative for carriers. Now imagine if very easily and in real time, carriers would be switched to deliver the best results and highest performance? This is a huge shift in control away from service providers, which is great. Eventually in your home you will be able to have a simple box which will enable you to receive the best service at the best price. That is VeloCloud. You will receive the best service across a large spectrum of players vs. paying the painful bills to your ISP for under delivering services!

And when the next season of House of Cards is released by Netflix, net neutrality or not, my ISP is not going to decide how/when I can download, rather Netflix can download the content “efficiently” across a spectrum of players at the best price.

Velocloud is building a cloud-delivered service to connect mobile users and branch offices to the applications they need to access across the WAN. The client end is a “thin edge” that a) runs virtual machines under cloud control, b) characterizes 2,000 applications and c) continuously monitors private and Internet links that it is connected to. The cloud intelligence then steers the application traffic one packet at a time over the right link. The cloud is multi-tenanted and applies virtual services as needed to each branch location. The result is a resilient WAN built from private and ordinary Internet links that requires no additional hardware to be deployed in the branch or the data center. Hence the cloud becomes the network.

2. Krystallize Technologies

To run on the cloud enterprises deploy their services across a large spectrum of cloud service players such as IBM, Amazon, Microsoft, HP, Rackspace and many other. Often running on many providers at the same time. So, a real problem in large companies is how do you decide what to run where, why, and is that the right strategy? Enterprises now need to manage this complex “cloud landscape” as if it were their internal IT landscape. How to maneuver this terrain? It’s challenging when you have thousands of applications and workloads, thousands of data centers and multiple cloud providers. We need a better strategy.

In comes Krystallize Technologies. As enterprises adopt cloud services there is a need to move from “managing the components” to “managing the services.” Enterprise tools, processes and management are focused on monitoring computer, memory, storage and network as individual layers, while cloud services are designed and delivered as an “integrated platform.” The enterprise needs to shift from attempting to understand the health of all of the underlying component layers and move to focus on the service outcome, the platform’s capability to deliver. A necessary critical shift.

Krystallize Technologies understands that: 1) cloud services capabilities vary greatly across public, private and hybrid cloud services and 2) that applications generate greatly varying demands on the cloud platform. Thus, for the enterprise to successfully adopt cloud services, applications and workloads will need to be matched up with the right cloud platform with the right cloud characteristics. And the cloud will need to provide a consistent, predictable, reliable service on day 1,000, just as on day one. Krystallize’s Cloud QoS Service was developed with a common framework that allows the assessment of application requirements and the benchmarking of the various cloud capabilities. This allows the proper identification of the best price/performance comparisons, service deployment options, service optimization, capacity planning snapshots and most importantly quality of service measures over time, to ensure the application can deliver on their service commitments.

3. SkyGiraffe

Enterprises today have a massive problem: How to unify applications running across different platforms and products, so that their employees can see the relevant information on their smart devices with ease, totally integrated and with precise accuracy. How to solve these problems in the back end, so the end-user can get what they need in one-click and share information effortlessly? This has been a huge challenge for a long time and SkyGiraffe is a company focused on this complexity, while making it very easy for the end user.

SkyGiraffe is an enterprise platform that allows employees to read and write data from back-end systems on the mobile. SkyGiraffe differs from other platforms in that it owns the full-stack and therefore the implementation is completely code free and immediate. They give the user a unified view across systems with the ability to update any of them. For instance, a sales rep can see data about a customer’s sales history alongside details from the client’s recent calls to support and then be able to open new tickets as relevant. This level of previously impossible integration once solved, has a huge consequence in improving access to data and performance.

One major feature of SkyGiraffe is that users can have a unified view (read and write) across systems (eg SalesForce + Oracle + MS Dynamics) without having to move the underlying systems.

4. Indoor Atlas

Are you fascinated by geolocation? We are all addicted to our GPS navigation systems for outdoors. What about indoors? Last year at CES I particularly had this problem traversing the massive Las Vegas convention center buildings. Thousands of people were running around with paper maps, lost and confused. What if next time at CES or at Costco, upon entering you’d have a precise digital map on your smart device showing you where everything is and direct you to your desired location? That is step one. Of course, the next natural addition is building marketing and consumer facing applications to not only get you to your destination quickly but also to offer you incentives and action when applicable. This is true marketing digitization and an area that Indoor Atlas plays in. What if you could enter and leave Costco more efficiently and less painlessly than you do today?

“Where am I and how to get to where I am going?” Indoor Atlas answers this question when you are indoors. IndoorAtlas hopes its magnetic-based positioning will emerge as a “foundational” indoor location technology. Becoming the foundation and enabler that will unleash a wave of innovations which will ultimately lead to full context indoor location services and consumer engagements in real time. In matter of a few hours, giant buildings are mapped and applications can then be built quickly, to greatly improve the experiences and activities.

The ecosystem of disruptors is rapidly growing and we will be bringing more to your attention. Stay tuned and engage with us! Let us know what you think.