7 Cloud Computing Acquisition Targets: Page 3

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6) AppZero

It’s an intriguing offer: for companies that want to move onto the cloud with minimal fuss, AppZero touts itself as the “on-ramp.” AppZero’s software virtualizes Unix or Windows server applications, allowing them to move onto the cloud – without being locked into a specific provider. Think of it as app mobility.

AppZero enables a firm (or developers) to move their applications between a number of servers, on to the cloud or back from the cloud.

AppZero offers a Virtual Application Appliance (VAA), a solution that packages server apps separate from their underlying OS, which allows them to move to new environment. It’s a pre-integrated, self-contained unit. AppZero creates, controls and maintains these VAAs.

This “freedom from OS” is a pretty nifty idea, but, looking to the future, won’t the big cloud providers offer this service too? Will a company need to contract with AppZero for this functionality? And if a company commits to, say, Amazon as its provider, will this type of mobility be so compelling?

Perhaps Boston-based AppZero’s greatest value will be to keep providers of proprietary environments on their toes, knowing how easy its customers can leave. And the company scores points for being leading edge. It released a Windows version of its server application tools in May 2009 – before Microsoft itself did. (Microsoft says it is working on a similar tool but isn’t yet ready with it.)

7) Elastra

Even as cloud computing emerges as a leading solution for corporate computing, confusion reigns. Companies think of the cloud in two very different ways. There’s an internal cloud – pooled resources in the in-house datacenter – and an external cloud – software accessed over the Web.

Elastra, a vendor of enterprise cloud management software, provides a bridge between these two worlds. Its solution helps companies move applications between their in-house clouds and remote hosted clouds on services like Amazon EC2.

Clearly, offering companies this bridge between private and public clouds is the sweet spot for success in the current cloud market. Few if any companies will want to exist solely on a remote server or only on their internal infrastructure. The demand for this bridge will only grow in the years ahead.

The challenge for Elastra, of course, is that it’s not the only company that realizes the attractiveness of this hybrid approach. The giant VMware in February elaborated a Virtual Datacenter approach that will “help enable companies to achieve the benefits of cloud computing internally, and bridge to external clouds through a private cloud.” Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Of course VMware’s approach ties a company into using VMware, which may provide an opening for smaller, vendor-neutral cloud providers like Elastra. On its front page Elastra proudly touts “Cloud Computing: Don’t Get Locked In to Any Vendor.” Take that, VMware.

As a feather in its cap, Elastra was recently named an InformationWeek “Startup 50” company to watch.

ALSO SEE: Five Companies Shaping Cloud Computing: Who Wins?

AND: Cloud Computing in the Recession

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Tags: open source, cloud computing, Google, IBM, Salesforce

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