10 hot hybrid-cloud startups to watch

With few enterprises using purely private or purely public cloud infrastructure, a range of startups has emerged to meet unique hybrid-cloud needs for management, storage and virtualization. Here are 10 hot hybrid cloud startups to keep an eye on.

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As the cloud matures, many businesses are finding that not every application belongs in public clouds. Due to regulatory issues, security risks, data ownership concerns, and fears of cloud lock-in, many applications are stubbornly rooted in on-premises architectures.

The startups in this roundup understand that, and rather than trying to sweet talk enterprises into forklift upgrades, these startups are willing to work under hybrid-cloud constraints.

The startups below federate data, making it available from any cloud to any application; provide application virtualization software, which enables enterprises to move workloads to and from various clouds at will; provide cloud file systems that optimize and mobilize data, and much more.

One thing to note: We did include a few hybrid cloud storage startups, and even a data analytics one, because they all operate at infrastructure levels or they push infrastructure features up to the application layer. They are cloud-enabling tools, in other words, rather than add-ons, enhancements or cloud-delivered ones. Click here to see how we chose the 10 startups to watch.

The 10 startups below are redefining what the hybrid cloud is, enabling enterprises to quickly and cost-effectively adopt new data-intensive technologies such as IoT, AI, Big Data, machine learning and more.

AppOrbit

What they do: Provide application virtualization and hybrid-cloud management software

Year founded: 2014

Funding: $6 million in seed and Series A funding from KPCB and Costanoa Ventures

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

CEO: Rahul Ravulur, who previously led the product management team for availability products at VMware

Problem they solve: Moving complex business-critical applications to the cloud is a challenging, labor-intensive process. AppOrbit argues that for most companies a full transition to the cloud is too expensive and time-consuming to justify the benefits. Migration, security, networking and data ownership issues, to name only a few headaches, undermine the perceived advantages of the shift.

How they solve it: AppOrbit eases the transition to the cloud by pushing virtualization up the OSI stack from the infrastructure layer to the application layer. “Just as VMware freed the OS from the underlying bare metal, AppOrbit frees applications from the underlying OS and bare- metal infrastructure,” said AppOrbit’s VP of Marketing & Strategy, David Morris.

AppOrbit provides three products to help enterprises virtualize and containerize business-critical apps to move them to the cloud:

  • AppPorter is a legacy application modernization platform that analyzes and transforms legacy applications into containerized applications that can be transitioned into the cloud.

  • AppVizor is an application management and development platform that facilitates the continuous development of modernized and cloud-native applications. AppVizor creates a layered container structure to accelerate the development and deployment of new features and functionality.

  • AppSwitch virtualizes network and security configuration, control and management at the application layer rather than at the traditional infrastructure layer. This approach frees applications from the typical infrastructure/cloud lock-in efforts by existing vendors.

Competitors include: Docker, VMware, RedHat and Cisco
Customers include: Airtel, Ericsson, AutoDesk, Micron and Vodafone

Why they’re a hot startup to watch: AppOrbit has a strong senior leadership team with plenty of exit experience. CEO Rahul Ravulur participated in the due diligence for several VMware acquisitions, and David Morris, vice president of marketing and strategy, helped lead exits including Kazeon’s acquisition by EMC, Cetas’ acquisition by VMware, and EMC/VMware’s divestiture of Pivotal.

Even though AppOrbit has only raised $6M to date, they already have big-name customers like Ericsson and Vodafone. The company pushes virtualization up the stack to the app layer, freeing enterprises from the inevitable trade-offs that come with vendor-lock.

AtScale

What they do: Provide a data-lake-intelligence platform for hybrid clouds

Year founded: 2013

Funding: $45 million from Wells Fargo, Industry Ventures, Storm Ventures, UMC, Comcast and XSeed Capital

Headquarters: San Mateo, Calif.

CEO: Chris Lynch. Prior to AtScale, Lynch co-founded and served as a general partner at Accomplice, a venture-capital firm that invests in early stage tech companies. Before that, he held leadership roles at tech startups including Vertica, Acopia Networks and Arrowpoint Communications. 

Problem they solve: Hybrid clouds have a data problem. As businesses embrace Big Data, AI and automation, they still run into roadblocks when it comes to freeing data from application silos. Even if they are able to free data, the next obstacles they face are often security and privacy. 

How they solve it: AtScale’s OLAP (online analytical processing) software is built on Hadoop and is designed to automatically federate disparate data silos into a unified data lake, helping enterprises use cloud architectures to modernize applications and accelerate AI, Big Data, machine learning and other data-intensive initiatives.

AtScale is a self-provisioned environment for customers who are either migrating to the cloud or running business intelligence (BI) across

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