Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Flexiant

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Flexiant

Flexiant is a company headquartered in Livingston, Scotland and offers its Cloud Computing platform FlexiScale within the United Kingdom since 2007. Actually, that was the first service of this kind in the UK launched in 2007 by XCalibre Communications Ltd., which was later acquired by Flexiant. The company offers its flagship product in two versions: FlexiScale is its public platform while Exility is a licensed product for date center owners.

The product is based on Europe’s first Cloud Computing platform that was rebuilt using Flexiant’s Extility technology. It was introduced in March 2010, and in end-November 2010 the company set foot in the U.S. market partnering with Phoenix Fire. The Extility platform was intended to serve the needs of the web-hosting industry and to be offered as a fundamental part of XCalibre’s public cloud offering, FlexiScale. Flexiant Limited has bet on further development of the product and at some stage Extility platform was made available to other operators.

Extility is a licensed virtualization platform offering utility cloud computing that allows users to re-configure their servers in a very short time while managing servers, clients and billing within the admin control panel. For its part, FlexiScale public cloud resellers and affiliates can benefit from white label interface, compatibility with major hosting platforms, shorter delivery time, and flexible server configuration. The platform offers the usual benefits of Cloud Computing that are well known: no capital expenditure, scalability, and improved reliability.

FlexiScale 2.0 platform is offered as a pay as you go service that supports all major operating systems. The company boasts instant set up and omnipotent control panel access, offering security and cost effectiveness.
The Extility platform offers deployment of white label systems that looks like its owned by the client as well as multiple options for billing system integration. All actions can be performed via an API or web interface while self-service is conducted through the Control Panel or API. Virtual Dedicated Servers can be started, stopped and deleted by users, and memory, storage and grow disks are re-sizable. The company utilizes a hierarchical architecture featuring tens of servers per node and up to 1,000 nodes per cluster. Security is achieved through VM isolation of virtual machines and security separation between a guest and a host is implemented via Xen + VT support.

The platform features central IP allocation function, multiple virtual NICs per virtual server as well as controlled provisioning of central firewall. Customers are secured via VPN & firewall software on customer OS, in addition to golden images of ‘appliance’ software creating virtual firewall, VPN, load balancer appliances plus private VLANs.

FlexiScale solution offers self-service provisioning of servers via web-based control panel or API with ability to rapidly launch additional servers based on FlexiScale’s operating system images or images created by users. It incorporates multi-tier architectures enabled by a high-speed internal multiple gigabit ethernet network. Memory and storage are re-sizable, the system is highly scalable and supports MS Windows Server as well as common versions of Linux.

Last September, the company managed to secure a second round of funding worth GBP 1 million while the first round of investment was completed in January, 2010. A group of ten angel investors backed Flexiant in the start of 2010, including Alex Bligh (co-founder of Nominet UK) who became CEO of Flexiant and Laurence Blackall, a driving force behind Pipex Communications, who was appointed Chairman of the company. The first round of funding secured initial GBP 1 million for Flexiant and boosted its business development efforts.

The second capital injection is aimed at further development of Extility, the company’s cloud computing technology, and its infrastructure-as-a-service offering, FlexiScale. “This investment will enable Flexiant to develop further our technology and to drive our sales process. At a time when the demand for this kind of technology far exceeds the availability of proven models such as Extility and FlexiScale, Flexiant is uniquely positioned to take advantage of this market place,”

-Alex Bligh, CEO of Flexiant, commented in a press release.

Flexiant is participating in a consortium to develop a pan-European cloud platform, under an EUR 3 million research program backed by the European Commission. Flexiant is to provide a test bed on its public and private cloud platform and will guarantee that results are demonstrated in a live industrial environment.

The aim of CumuloNimbo (the research and development project) is to create competitive advantage for European companies allowing them to compete globally. This cloud platform will reduce start up costs, capital expenditure and energy consumption, slash operating costs and significantly shrink carbon footprint. It is an extremely exciting project to be involved in and we are proud to be leading this work for Europe,

– Tony Lucas, Flexiant’s founder explained in a company press release.

Flexiant already secured its place among the Top 200 most influential Cloud Computing companies worldwide. If the CumuloNimbo project succeeds, however, it will be well positioned to attack the leading positions not only in Europe but globally.

By Kiril Kirilov

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