Platform9 is a startup built on the premise that companies running VMware (VMW) also want to move to the cloud and ensure that their current vSphere software will work with their cloud deployment, provided they choose OpenStack to run their cloud. Now Platform9 has $10 million in new Series B funding to market and sell its cloud management services.
This is somewhat ironic given that when the OpenStack cloud technology was born nearly 5 years ago, it was pitched as a flexible, cheaper response to VMware—and as a response to Amazon(AMZN) Web Services. Now, Platform9 and other companies are working on ways to integrate OpenStack running private clouds with the VMware vSphere software used by most companies to manage their virtualized servers.
In cloud computing, a private cloud comprises a set of computing resources allocated to a single customer. A public cloud, like AWS or Google(GOOG) Compute Platform or Microsoft(MSFT)Azure, puts the workloads of many customers onto shared infrastructure which can be cordoned off for their needs. However, this is also a model that makes companies concerned about security and regulatory compliance uneasy. In either model, the benefit is that users can scale resources up and down to meet their needs.
Platform9’s claim to fame is that it will run and manage a business’s OpenStack-VMware cloud amalgam, providing round-the-clock service.
“The key thing is 24 by 7 support and service level agreements, not just throwing the software bits over the wall but supporting the whole life cycle for weeks and months and years,” Platform9 CEO Sirish Raghuram, a VMware veteran, told Fortune.
The number of companies now running VMware software in their own data centers and server rooms is humongous. The percentage of those companies that are also considering some sort of cloud expansion is probably nearly 100 percent, so Platform9 sees a big opportunity. OpenStack, an open-source cloud framework backed by many tech vendors, has become a brand name that companies ask about if they have doubts about putting workloads in public clouds.
VMware has its own public cloud option in vCloud Air, but Raghuram said most companies are leery of expanding their dependence on one company that now runs their data centers into the new cloud era.
Platform9 is not alone in seeing this opportunity. VMware itself joined the OpenStack Foundation a few years back and has since pledged its own support for OpenStack. Mirantis and other vendors are also working on VMware-OpenStack integration.
Total funding for Platform9, which just updated its software, now stands at $14.5 million. Menlo Ventures led this round with contributions from existing backer Redpoint Ventures.
The company plans to staff up sales, marketing, and engineering teams, Raghuram said. Current headcount is 27, up from 10 last year, and could hit 50 or 60 next year, Raghuram said.
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