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Cloud Computing Start-Up Picks the Lock on Hypervisors

Abiquo, a four-year-old Spanish open source cloud start-up bent on becoming a global player, should break out of stealth mode

Pete Malcolm Keynote at Cloud Expo

Abiquo, a four-year-old Spanish open source cloud start-up bent on becoming a global player, should break out of stealth mode today bragging that it can end virtualization vendor lock-in and make public and private clouds interoperate.

It says it means to change the way IT organizations operate their virtualized environments, making them more elastic and cost-effective. It has relaunched as an American company headquartered on Oracle's campus in Silicon Valley with $5.1 million in funding and a new British CEO to prove it.

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It says its infrastructure management software can automatically convert virtual machine images built for one hypervisor to any other hypervisor through a single drag-and-drop.

Like VMware ESX or ESXi to Microsoft Hyper-V but the widgetry embraces Red Hat's newfangled KVM, Xen and Sun's Virtual Box as well, which is pretty much everybody.

Abiquo says the feature, which appears in its flagship 1.5 release out now, delivers a platform for managing fully interoperable, vendor-neutral public and private clouds and is bound to change the cloud management market.

Besides what it calls V2V conversion, the widgetry auto-discover machine resources, manages existing live VMs and captures and stores stateful virtual machines.

The software, licensed under the Lesser GPL 3.0, creates and manages pooled computing resources, or Resource Clouds, from any server virtualized with any hypervisor.

The company says providers can then provision or sell the so-called Resource Clouds to enterprise users to create virtual data centers that deploy instantly bundled virtual servers, storage and other physical resources, as well as applications from public or private virtual image libraries.

And all of this is done through a highly visual drag-and-drop user interface.

Abiquo also provides multi-tenancy with delegated provisioning and management of virtual enterprises; enforceable resource limits to ensure risk-free operation; policy-based workload management with automatic VM assignment; image libraries (public, shared and private) for VM images and bundled appliances; and support for open standards including OVF and Stream Optimized Format.

The start-up is a firm believer in policy, the separation of physical and virtual assets and the people running the applications being responsible for the VMs while IT maintains management and control of the infrastructure.

It contends that delegating virtual data center control translates into user empowerment and fewer bottlenecks. Done its way, it says, users can't exceed allocated resources or affect other VMs. IT can buy-in more resources or outsource the lot.

Abiquo's new CEO Peter Malcolm, a one-time Benchmark entrepreneur-in-residence who's sold a couple of companies to CA, says, "The cloud computing market is saturated with technology hype and incomplete offerings that don't deliver enterprises the practical cloud management solutions they desperately need. In contrast with other vendors, Abiquo includes all the required components to provide immediate business benefits."

Malcolm says Abiquo has been tested by both the open source community - figure 15,000 downloads - and early commercial adopters including Global 1000 enterprises.

Abiquo got Gartner to say that "While server virtualization technologies are relatively mature, they do not provide the complete management infrastructure required to create a private cloud service. A production-oriented private or on-premise cloud architecture should have four key components: access management, service management, resource management and the underlying resource tier." Abiquo says it does.

Its 1.5 Enterprise Edition won't be available for another 45 days and will be priced per core on an annual subscription. Figure somewhere between $308 and $575 depending on the number of cores and the level of support.

There's also a free Community Edition at http://download.abiquo.com.

Abiquo means to use its funding to expand its worldwide presence, grow its executive and sales and marketing teams and underwrite its product development.

The money includes a venture debt line of $1.36 million from Kreos Capital, Europe's big venture debt provider; A round money from Spain's Nauta Capital and Caja; $1.53 million in grants from the Spanish government; and funds from angel investors including Malcolm.

Abiquo was initially focused on grid computing and switched to the cloud two years ago, pre-releasing its first cloud management product last April and quietly releasing a 1.0 cut this February. It's got a London sales and support office while R&D remains in Barcelona.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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