Startups head up into the cloud
Dealmaker Media chose "The Consumerization of Information Technology (IT)" as the theme for its recent Under The Radar Conference, held at Microsoft's Mountain View campus. Enterprises are migrating to the technologies used by consumers — easy-to-use web-based applications that run "in the cloud" and easy-to-use devices like tablets, smartphones and netbooks.
Cloud computing helps IT managers reduce costs and outsource some system administration tasks. According to MeriTalk, a networking site for government IT, the US government has saved $5.5 billion, or 7 percent of its $78.9 billion IT budget by using cloud computing.
MeriTalk also found that the biggest barrier to cloud computing implementation was security. More than four million businesses are using Google Apps, a cloud-based suite of products for email, calendars, documents, presentations, spreadsheets and more. Cloud-based data analysis is hot, as shown by the recent public offering of San Francisco-based Splunk with a $3 billion valuation.
Under The Radar featured cloud-computing. Startup companies pitched their ideas in six minutes to critics from the analyst, media and venture communities who followed up with questions. The judges and audience voted on companies most likely to succeed.
The judges voted Cloudability from Portland, Ore., as the best company overall. It helps companies add up and report on all their cloud costs.
The audience chose Piston Cloud, from San Francisco, as the best company. It enables companies to build their own private clouds based on open-source OpenStack software. Open Stack is an initiative of Rackspace and NASA that is now supported by over 150 companies and thousands of developers. It enables companies to support massive clouds that run across multiple machines.
Out of the 32 companies presenting, two come from Mountain View, Sumo Logic and ionGrid. Both judges and the audience voted Sumo Logic the winner in the Performance Monitoring category. Sumo Logic alerts IT staff to computer system problems by analyzing log files. If you have a Windows computer with Administrative Tools enabled you can use the Event Viewer to see your log messages. Some may provide unimportant information, others may show serious system problems like a failing disk drive or a hacker attack.
According to Sumo Logic's acting CEO and co-founder, Kumar Saurabh, very small customers can easily generate half a terabyte of log data a day. That's enough to store 15 million HeyTech columns. Reading terabytes of log files manually is impossible, so Sumo Logic's cloud-based service analyzes logs and selects the most urgent messages for system administrators, who can then remedy bad situations quickly. It transforms huge data files into actionable charts. Sumo Logic's software can weed out duplicate notifications, count the number of times a log message appears and use intelligence to highlight persistent problems. Sumo Logic is hiring and investors include Greylock and Sutter Hill.
Apple sold almost 12 million iPads in the first quarter of 2012. ionGrid enables iPad users to view corporate files securely. CEO Nick Triantos, who started his career at Apple, founded ionGrid to provide a simple, secure way for mobile users to access business systems.
ionGrid's Nexus software encrypts the connection between iPads and office computers. Individuals can download a free copy of Nexus Connect to access Microsoft Office and PDF documents on a Windows computer from an iPad. ionGrid is an early stage venture currently looking for investors.
If you missed Under The Radar, a similar event, Launch: Silicon Valley, will be held at Microsoft's Mountain View campus on Tuesday, June 5. It covers clean tech and life sciences, as well as mobile and cloud computing. Information is at launchsiliconvalley.org.
Angela Hey can be contacted at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at amhey.