Author Archives: kiril

Red Hat CloudForms – New Product for Private and Hybrid Clouds

Red Hat CloudForms – New Product for Private and Hybrid Clouds

Raleigh, North Carolina-based open source behemoth Red Hat launched a new product line for creating and managing Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) private and hybrid clouds named CloudForms, the company announced. The product incorporates both comprehensive application lifecycle management and the ability to create integrated clouds from a broad range of computing resources with unique portability across physical, virtual and cloud computing resources, Red Hat said.

According to the company, CloudForms is developed to provide solution to problems like the cost and complexity of virtual server sprawl, compliance nightmares and security concerns that were found in first-generation cloud products. CloudForms allows users to configure and manage complex multi-tier applications instead of managing large numbers of virtual servers. In addition, the new solution enables allows users to deploy, manage and move these applications between different clouds and  virtualization environments. The company claims that its new product provides functionality allowing quicker modifications of applications, resulting in shorter reaction time when time-critical security fixes, application updates or configuration changes are to be made. Administrators are able to control the applications as well as where they are allowed to run, therefore reducing compliance and security-related cloud computing problems.

Red Hat CloudForms is also able to create hybrid clouds utilizing existing computing resources like virtual servers provided by various vendors and a broad range of public clouds such as Amazon, IBM and NTT Communications. The product is also compatible with traditional in-house or hosted physical servers, the company said. Such flexibility makes CloudForms a product suitable for various enterprise needs, allowing businesses to deploy cloud computing solutions while avoiding expensive migration costs.

With CloudForms, Red Hat is changing what CIOs expect from private clouds,” Scott Crenshaw, vice president and general manager, Cloud Business at Red Hat, said in a statement. “With its leadership in enterprise operating systems and middleware, Red Hat gives users an easier way to build hybrid clouds and manage what they really care about: applications. Red Hat CloudForms also lets them deploy and manage their applications on any type of server: physical, virtual and public cloud. This is very different than cloud products from virtualization-only vendors, which focus on managing virtual machines, not applications, thus creating significant new complexity and costs. By allowing users to manage applications, not just VMs, Red Hat makes the promise of cloud real, by reducing management complexity and increasing IT agility and innovation,” he added.

In 2010, Red Hat announced Red Hat Cloud Foundations with Red Hat CloudForms extending its capabilities and functionality while providing application portability from one cloud to another. The new product was launched in beta while the official release is expected later in 2011, the company said.

Application portability is a crucial element of future full-scale cloud solutions and software companies  started to develop such products since the early days of cloud computing. In the past four or five years several similar products were launched but Red Hat’s solution is open source which is a significant advantage compared to other products on the market.

Nevertheless, the cloud computing community should wait for the beta version to develop into a fully-functional official release while those who want to test the beta version are allowed to take advantage of Red Hat’s product by signing up on their website. Red Hat has great reputation for delivering high-quality products but every beta version should be taken with a pinch of salt, especially in the field of cloud computing where every solution is last but one and where predictability is greatly reduced by external factors, including human factors like IT experts market trend analysis and overall market mood.

By Kiril Kirilov

Cloud Computing Market Will Top $241 Billion In 2020

Cloud Computing Market Will Top $241 Billion In 2020

Cloud Computing Market Will Top $241 Billion In 2020

Independent research firm Forrester Research expects the global cloud computing market to reach $241 billion in 2020 compared to $40.7 in 2010, according to a new Forrester report calledSizing the Cloud”. The report aims to provide insights into the future market size of cloud computing segment while trying to predict market growth dynamics in a new IT environment driven by rapidly growing number of cloud computing services and applications.

Forrester’s report provides market forecast on 12 different market segments for the next decade, forecasting shifts in the usage patterns of cloud infrastructure, business applications for the cloud and cloud platforms that are becoming increasingly widespread.

According to Sizing the Cloud report, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers more growth opportunity than any other segment in the still largely vague market for cloud computing services. SaaS will retain its position as a leading segment in cloud computing with SaaS market growing three-fold to $92.8 billion by 2016, the report said. In contrast, Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) will witness a rapid growth in the next few years but Forrester expects dynamic infrastructure services to perform better than IaaS in the long term.

Cloud Computing Market

cloud computing market

Forrester applies an innovative approach toward measuring cloud computing market with company’s analysts utilizing Forrester’s sizing methodology for emerging markets to the cloud computing market for the first time, report co-author Stephen Reid wrote in a blog post. Reid admits that cloud computing definitions are still a serious challenge to researchers while “… each year, it gets harder to make clear-cut distinctions, based on technology, between what is a cloud and what is simply a virtualized data center or a traditional hosting provider. Therefore, Forrester decided to focus instead on the major disruption in the IT industry that cloud computing is bringing about — disruption based not on technology but on the business model under which IT operates.”

Reid also reveals that IaaS will shift from public clouds to virtual private clouds but the size of market is set to decrease because dynamic infrastructure services, which are the virtual private cloud counterpart of IaaS in the public cloud, tend to combine pure infrastructure with high-level services and close integration into existing on-premises landscapes. Simplified and pre-integrated platforms outline the future of Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) segment while PaaS is set to become a middleware platform alternative, Reid said.

Thus, Sizing the Cloud report supports a common view amongst analysts that cloud computing research market will witness tremendous growth in the foreseeable future. The market will grow six times within a decade, according to Forrester, which is typical only for new and relatively underdeveloped markets. However, all segments of the cloud computing market will be influenced by the overall state of the economy and global demand for IT services. Some world regions are slow to adopt cloud-based solutions while in other parts of the world managers are eager to deploy products and services utilizing the power of cloud computing.

Such a rapid market growth is a double-edged sword in terms of business opportunities and average corporate performance within the cloud computing sector. Some enterprises will benefit from the booming cloud computing market and even larger number of start-ups and established enterprises will try to set foot in the SaaS, IaaS and PaaS segments. However, a vast number of companies are expected not to make their way to the top and close doors following the appearance of too many market players in a lucrative yet limited market for cloud computing services. Only those that are able to adapt quickly to fast changing market conditions will be crowned victors and will grab the lion’s share of a $241 billion cloud computing market in 2020.

By Kiril Kirilov

CloudTalk Launches New iPhone and Android Version

CloudTalk Launches New iPhone and Android Version

CloudTalk, a social communications platform that enables personal and natural communication through voice as well as text, photo and video, showed the new version of its application that runs on iPhone and Android, the company said. The new version of the CloudTalk app features rich social and multi-media capabilities and a more intuitive user interface, allowing users to actively utilize application’s voice capabilities during in the communication process.

The new version of the cloud-based solution features extended functionality like multimedia sharing, ability to add new participants to existing group messaging conversations and functionality to name users’ conversation threads by topic or by groups of people participating.

The application offers Facebook and Twitter integration, allowing customers to post to each others’ Facebook or Twitter accounts. In addition, users are enabled to invite friends to CloudTalk via SMS or email and follow each other.

Creators of CloudTalk decided to keep functionality that is present in older versions of the application; namely, voice messaging and text messaging functionality. Another option that is not changed in the new version is the public communities functionality that allows users to group by similar interest and start or join a group.

The friction caused by phone calls when we can’t take them, and voice mail that feels like a dead end, is making it harder to use our voice in daily communications with our social circle. CloudTalk stands out as the only platform to put the power and convenience of voice at the center of the social communications experience,” David Hayden, chairman and CEO of CloudTalk, said in a statement. “And CloudTalk makes talking as easy as texting, so we can freely use our voices to convey emotion, avoid misconstrued tone and get a message across far more quickly and powerfully than text alone,” he added.

The San Francisco, California-based start-up launched operations in 2009 and boasts the only social communications platform that lets users talk, text, and share videos and photos all in one place with their social circle. It develops and offers for free its mobile application that is available for iOS, (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) and Android OS.

In January 2011, CloudTalk finalized a $5.2 million Series A funding,which was in the form of combination of debt and equity financing.

By Kiril Kirilov

6 Leading Angel Investors with Really Diversified Portfolios

6 Leading Angel Investors with Really Diversified Portfolios

The world of angel investors interested in technology and cloud-computing start-ups is populated by various people ranging from former programmers to salesmen and saleswomen who have discovered the huge potential of IT industry. Many of these people were on the cover pages of Forbes, Fortune and other business magazines but we tried to present you with a list not of the richest or most “influential” technology angel investors but with a list of those who boast most diversified portfolios and who also tend to invest in cloud-computing start-ups.

Ron Conway : Angel Investments: 190

Ron Conway is an indisputable leader among American angel investor who made fortune investing in companies like Google, PayPal and Ask Jeeves during their early development stages. Actually, he can  be described as “a super angel”, one of those angel investors who accumulated enough resources and knowledge to lead the pack in a highly competitive environment where everybody is in desperate search of the next “Big Think” like Google. His approach to investment is quite exotic with organizing cocktail parties where politicians and sportspeople are being persuaded to invest in technology start-ups.
His invested in hundreds tech start-ups and, recently, in cloud computing companies and over 190 angel investments by Conway are more or less public. His cloud computing investments include start-ups like dotCloud, Sharethrough, Digg, and many others.

Paul Graham : Angel Investments: 129

Paul Graham is Y-Combinator’s co-founder and one of the prominent angel investors in the past decade. He started his career as a programmer, working on Lisp a computer programming language used widely a decade ago. He has invested in over a hundred tech start-ups with companies like Scribd, Reddit, and Loopt attracting Graham’s interest. Other investments of Paul Graham include FanChatter and Heyzap while Graham is considered one of the most active angel investors in Silicon Valley.

Aydin Senkut : Angel Investments: 65

Aydin Senkut has entered the market for angel investment less than a decade ago but since then he managed to build an impressive portfolio comprising more than 60 investments in various tech start-ups. He has financed cloud computing start-ups like Meraki, Webs.com, and Weebly while other angel investments Senkut include companies like ContextLogic, Nowmoc, Trivop, and Rapleaf.

Esther Dyson : Angel Investments: 60

Esther Dyson, the daughter of famous professor Freeman Dyson, has angel investments in about 60 tech start-ups while her interest in aviation and space-related companies is well known in the financial world. Her most successful investments include Flickr and del.icio.us as well as Yandex, the leading Russian search company which performs better than Google in the regional market.
Cloud-related start-ups financed by Dyson include companies like Wee Web, GoodData and eCourier.co.uk.

Marc Andreessen : Angel Investments: 53

Marc Andreessen co-founded Netscape and served as Chief Technology Officer of AOL after AOL acquired the company behind the once famous web browser Netscape Navigator, which in turn borrowed some elements from Mosaic, a product developed at National Center for Supercomputing Applications. Andreessen has invested in various tech start-ups, including ExtraHop Networks,  GoodData, Asana, and SocialMedia.com. Companies like Twitter, Scribd and Digg are also included in Andreessen’s portfolio of 53 tech companies.

Jeff Clavier : Angel Investments: 52

Jeff Clavier invests primarily in Web 2.0 start-ups through SoftTech VC, a venture capital firm he founded in Palo Alto, California. Cloud computing start-ups based in Europe should be aware that he invest mainly in Silicon Valley start-ups and is among the angel investors that are very interested in social media both as a medium and an investment opportunity.
His investments include companies like SocialMedia.com, Grouply, Mashery, Rapleaf, Edgeio, and Loomia.

This article uses data by public sources and Business Week, YouNuddle and Crunchbase. The number of angel investments per investor is calculated using public sources and might not include other investments by respective angel investors.

By Kiril Kirilov

Microsoft Introduces Cloud ERP Solution through Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Introduces Cloud ERP Solution through Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft top managers announced plans to take Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions to the cloud at the opening of Convergence 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia, affirming that the software behemoth considers every single option to grab a market share in the market for cloud computing services. Microsoft’s heavyweights, CEO Steve Ballmer and Kirill Tatarinov, corporate vice president for Microsoft Business Solutions, presented Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 release and encouraged Convergence 2011 visitors to take advantage of cloud solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM products.

According to the company, the next major releases of Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions will run on the Windows Azure platform, allowing customers to relocate their systems to the cloud without the help of third party vendors and service providers. The proposed solutions will offer the entire functionality provided by on-premises solutions, the company said in a press release. In addition, customers are able to take advantage of a newly released Microsoft Dynamics Cloud Partner Profitability Guide, which is aimed at unearthing essential success factors effecting business processes optimization.

The company also unveiled new Microsoft Dynamics cloud-enabled vertical solutions, add-ons and services which will be available via the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. Therefore, the company tries to enter a market niche for tailored software products in contrast to Microsoft’s most popular software suites like Microsoft office and the company’s operating system.

Microsoft showed its new ERP solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, which is depicted as a product featuring a unified business process repository, model-driven architecture, and simplicity originating from built-in collaboration tools and familiar user interface. This goal is not hard to achieve, bearing in mind that most users are pretty familiar with the most of Microsoft’s product lines.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 frees customers from the electronic concrete that has plagued the ERP industry for so long,” Tatarinov said in a statement. “Customers want flexible yet cost- effective business applications that work the way they do instead of being forced to adapt to the software,” he added.

The company plans to unveil the final release of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 in August 2011 while a beta release will be made available to customers in April 2011.

Microsoft is forced to look for ways to diversify its product offerings in the cloud after a growing number of peers and start-up software vendors started cloud-tailored solutions to businesses around the globe. The Redmond, Washington-based company is already a big player in the cloud computing market but more and more innovative software companies provide solutions that are entirely cloud-based, lowering the costs of running various types of businesses and Microsoft begins to realize that it could lose market share if fails to address this market trend in a timely manner.

Microsoft Dynamics ERP solutions are yet to be tested by the business community worldwide and one could expect a satisfactory quality of the service and functionality provided by the new cloud solution although Microsoft is famous for fixing and patching its software on the move. Nevertheless, entrepreneurs should expect a solid cloud solution that will offer expected level of scalability and customization although Microsoft can hardly provide solutions tailored to the extent offered by smaller and more flexible software vendors, including developers of open source software products.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars To Watch – Complete List

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars To Watch – Complete List

Over the past couple of months, CloudTweaks offered to its readers corporate profiles of some of the most innovative and fast developing start-ups in Europe. Some companies on the list are already well-known in the cloud computing sectors while others are still developing their services. What distinguishes them is the fact that all the companies are based in Europe, although some of them have offices in North America and Asia, and are involved in developing innovative products that are almost entirely cloud-based. This is not a complete list of all promising European cloud start-ups but a series of profiles of those companies that already set foot on the market and are rapidly growing. Some of them will succeed in their efforts while others might disappear in time but all of them are worth watching in the foreseeable future…

The companies are listed in alphabetical order

1 – Aepona – Aepona is a company providing application-led products and services to telecommunications operators worldwide. The flagship product of Aepona is the company’s Universal Service Platform which allows service creation and implementation to be carried out within the service network from underlying network resources.

2 – Amplidata – Amplidata’s Distributed Storage System provides storage solutions for cloud-based businesses and data centers which are based on a next generation RAIN grid. Amplidata is able to scale up to tens of Petabytes within a very reasonable period.

3 – BlueTeach – BlueTeach is a knowledge sharing community in the Cloud, offering a virtual classroom called Eclass. The service features featuring videoconferencing tools and whiteboard that allows users to embed graphics and other objects. Teachers can work for free or conduct paid lessons.

4 – Brightpearl – Brightpearl offers end-to-end web based solutions for small and medium businesses featuring a fully integrated accounting, CRM, order and stock management, ecommerce and helpdesk capability. The platform integrates with services like Gmail, Google Apps, MailChimp and many others.

5 – Cloudmore – Cloudmore’s solution is described as able to provide one stop provisioning, billing, integrated identity and service level management that enables companies and organizations to smooth and accelerate the transition to the cloud.

6 – CloudSigma – CloudSigma is an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider, and its platform is independent of operating systems allowing users to install any operating system they like by choosing from standard server templates or uploading their own.

7 – CohesiveFT – CohesiveFT allows users to dynamically define and deploy servers for virtual environments and clouds through its platform, named Elastic Server. The company also develops VPN-Cubed, a cloud security solution.

8 – Flexiant – Flexiant provides cloud infrastructure software and services for hosting providers, data center owners and telecommunications operators and is one of only three independent public cloud providers in Europe. Their FlexiScale is Europe’s first cloud platform which was launched in 2007.

9 – GreenQloud – GreenQloud is a public cloud computing service that is 100% powered by renewable geothermal and hydropower energy. The company is based in Iceland and claims that is the first start-up company of this kind in the cloud computing industry; namely, 100% green.

10 – Huddle – Huddle is an online project management product that is alos accessible via iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry. Its desktop esktop applications include add-ins and plug-ins for Microsoft Office, Xobni, Chrome Web Store, LinkedIn, Xing, and Ning.

11 – iCloud – Xcerion AB offers its Internet OS as a Web 2.0 service under the name iCloud. One of the features that distinguishes iCloud from other similar services is the fact that it is free to use. No subscription fees are applied and no premium paid membership is offered while customers are able to purchase additional 100 GB of storage space.

12 – iSpaces – The company runs a cloud service named NonStopWeb™, and in addition offers a newly launched product called CloudBrowser™. ClodBrowser is a web browser within a browser allowing users to log in to the company’s platform from multiple computers while iSpaces saves the state of their interface to the company’s data storage centers in the cloud.

13 – Kwaga – Kwaga based of applied computational linguistics, which is able to understand email texts and take appropriate actions depending on the type and content of the message. The company’s SmarterEmails™ semantic toolkit, launched in October 2009, is available from the Google Apps Marketplace and its proprietary semantic technology understands email text, detecting urgency, action requests, deadlines etc.

14 – Memonic – Memonic is a personal online notebook to store text, pictures, videos or sound they found in Internet, developed by Nektoon Ltd. The online notebook offered by Memonic is available as a web-based service and is accessible in Windows, iPhone and any Smartphone.

15 – Mvine– Mvine is a social business software platform, which bets on niche markets trying to serve particular communities, rejecting the one-size-fits-all business model applied by leading companies in the field. The Software as a Service (SaaS) competes with business collaboration platforms like Microsoft Sharepoint and Salesforce Chatter.

16 – Racktivity – Racktivity provides customers with a solution that focuses on optimizing the physical infrastructure layer. Racktivity’s Rack Controller replaces power distribution units with a smart device that tracks energy use, temperature, humidity, airflow and rack security.

17 – RunMyProcess – RunMyProcess offers a cloud-based platform as a service (PaaS) that allows customers to build and deploy highly customized business applications. The platform integrates with Google Apps and is targeting primarily IT managers or businesses who manage large or complex networks.

18 – Timetric – A hosted service for managing and analyzing statistical data; actually, a cloud-based Data as a Service (DaaS) platform for websites and publications interested in presenting statistical data in various spheres. Timetric is Platform as a cloud-based, proprietary time series database, statistics aggregator, and visualization system.

19 – Tradeshift – Tradeshift is a free invoicing tool, which supports all major web browsers and allows customers to send and receive invoices electronically. The software features social networking functionality enabling users to add and invite business partners to join their network.

20 – Twinfield – Twinfield provides online accounting accounts to businesses via secure connection. Twinfield is the first such web service for online accounting in Europe. The company’s subscription service competes with several similar cloud-based services worldwide.

21 – VirtenSys – VirtenSys offers patented I/O virtualization technologies for servers and storage platforms.

22 – Visor – Visor Limited is a developer and distributor of an online accounting product for accounting service providers in Ireland. The company’s flagship product, accountsIQ, offers accounting package, Web-based accounting, and financial control services, including business analysis and reporting functions.

23 – Webdoc – Webdoc enables users to insert almost unlimited types of content into their “webdocs”. Webdoc offers functionality to integrate interactive applications like slideshows, games and polls into a webdoc. In addition, users can put into their webdocs web services like Twitter or Google Maps.

24 – Workbooks – Workbooks.com provides web-based CRM and business applications that require no additional software or hardware. Their solution uses a ‘Windows-like’ desktop interface, allowing users to sort, group and filter their data.

25 – Zimory – Zimory boasts a carrier grade cloud computing solution suite that enables enterprises, communication service providers and partners to offer dynamic IT infrastructure services for the enterprise environment.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: iSpaces

Dermot Doherty, Sunne Justice and Guillermo Söhnlein founded iSpaces in 2009 as they were tired of opening different email accounts and Web apps and synchronizing between various computers and mobile devices. The result of their efforts is an Ireland-incorporated company that offers a cloud-based operating environment; namely, a cloud computer or virtual desktop that currently runs best on Google Chrome, but will be released soon on other popular browsers. The platform is written in Object Oriented JavaScript and provides multi-desktop functionality to users who are non-stop in the web.

Actually, the company runs a cloud service named NonStopWeb™, and in addition offers a newly launched product called CloudBrowser™. CloudBrowser is a web browser within a browser that allows users to log in to the company’s platform from multiple computers while saving the state of their interface to the company’s data storage centers in the cloud.  iSpaces runs on any Windows or Linux computer, with Mac coming soon, creating a virtual desktop that simplifies users’ everyday life by eliminating the need to reopen numerous browser tabs and web applications.

The company’s founders claim that they offer a unique service to cloudaholics who are growing in numbers and prefer to store their data and conduct their work in the cloud.“I guess I would qualify as a “cloudie” since I spend so much of my time using a variety of Web apps, including 6 different E-mail accounts, Google Calendar, SalesForce, QuickBooks, LinkedIn, Twitter, and so on. I normally have 4-5 Chrome windows open simultaneously, each with 5 or more tabs,”  Guillermo Söhnlein, CEO of OceanGate and co-founder of iSpaces, said in a recent press release. “Before iSpaces, I would have to either lug around my laptop or re-open each window/tab on my home, work, and travel computers. Now that I use iSpaces all I need is an Internet connection and NonStopWeb keeps all of my work persistently available. I now live completely untethered while still staying connected,” he added.

Dermot Doherty came up with the idea to create iSpaces forced by his need to access all his open tabs and Internet-based application anywhere and anytime. In addition to a persistent web presence and a browser within a browser, he developed a multiple desktops (called Spaces) functionality, enabling users to arrange windows depending on their preferences.“iSpaces is designed for everyone who wants to simplify their digital life,” Dermot Doherty, the company’s founder and CTO said in a statement. “I often work from multiple computers and was tired of wasting time logging in and out of various Web applications. I wanted to create a technology that made my digital life easily accessible and persistent. iSpaces is a whole new breed of technology, it’s part computer, part OS, part desktop and part browser. I call it a cloud computer,” Doherty added.  “Welcome to the future of computing,” he concluded.

Such a bold statement can be justified only if one is familiar with the core idea of cloud computing and related services. Virtual data storage spaces have been available since long ago, however the resulting services took some time to be developed. When it comes to “virtual desktops”, we are not speaking about a remote connection to another computer but for a computer working session that is executed in the cloud and saved in the cloud. Thus, any user can restore his or her last session, or any previously saved session, which is stored in the cloud without the need to reopen multiple tabs, windows, documents or applications running in the web.

The service features secure and encrypted storage that is replicated while data is backed up regularly.

Most, if not all, cloud-based data storage providers apply the same policy but none or few of them offer a service similar to the virtual desktop provided by iSpaces. In addition, the service features a secure web-based phone called SpacePhone (which is in SpaceWorks, iSpaces testing lab, but on the horizon.) OfficeSpace™ is a functionality integrating Zoho Office Suite in the platform, enabling users to work with Microsoft-created documents.

A major advantage of iSpaces is that the company offers its service free of charge, limiting the amount of free storage to 1 GB. The platform does not need local installation on users’ computers and is compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7 and Linux.Such an advanced free-to-use offering is tempting to many users who need such functionality despite that 1 GB of free storage is quite a limited amount of data space in today’s world. On the other hand, the company is offering a pretty revolutionary service that is still in its initial stage of development with Salesforce appearing as iSpaces’ sole competitor at the moment.

iSpaces currently has a group of 33 angel investors and has just opened up its second round of fundraising.  With the economy reviving and investors starting to look for lucrative opportunities again, we can expect that iSpaces will attract greater interest from venture capital firms. Looks like iSpaces has taken the right course, avoiding redundant publicity and developing its beta-stage service in semi-stealth mode.  However, the company bets on a promising technology although the time is not yet ripe for iSpaces to monetize its innovative approach toward cloud computing services.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Huddle

One can hardly say that Alastair Mitchell and Andy McLoughlin, co-founders of Huddle, entered an underdeveloped and non-competitive market when they started Huddle.com in 2006. The cloud-based platform competes with collaboration and project management solutions like those offered by 37signals and Cisco, while products like Central Desktop, Sosius, Ximdesk, LiquidPlanner, and Project Manager   are directly competing with the Huddle’s platform.

Huddle, like all major project management products, can be used online, on mobile devices and on desktops. In addition, the platform supports a number of businesses social networks and can be accessed via Microsoft Office applications.

The main challenge to developers of collaboration software and project management software products is the fast development of mobile devices used by business people to access and manage their databases, documents and run their businesses remotely. Huddle offers various options to access and manage corporate projects and information and via numerous mobile applications developed in-house. The company offers applications for iPhone, iPad, and BlackBerry while desktop applications include add-ins and plug-ins for Microsoft Office, Xobni, Chrome Web Store, LinkedIn, Xing, and Ning.

It is not unusual for a cloud-based platform to provide support for various devices, office suits and online services but Huddle offers an impressive set of options to connect to different web-based services using mobile devices.

The company’s software allows users to store their work on the Huddle’s servers while backup procedures are also conducted in the Huddle’s platform. The platform allows sharing of documents and features search function, which is a must-have functionality in each and every project management software. The profile of each member of a team created shows his/her area of expertise, contact details and work schedule enabling team leaders and managers to assign tasks to the right person who is available at the moment.

The web-based software tracks versions and revisions of documents and features phone and web conferencing, functionality lacking in some other products of the same caliber. The whiteboard function allows virtual brainstorming sessions, the company claims.

Interestingly, Huddle offers functionality to add unlimited number of users to a workspace which can collaborate using online whiteboards, calendars and free online MS Word and Excel via secured connection within the entire site. Another interesting functionality, in addition to email alerts related to projects, is the ability to track project progress and changes via RSS.

The search function offers full text search functionality and searches within both titles, descriptions and text in a single workspace or across all user’s workspaces. Huddle enables users to upload multiple files to its data centers supporting various file formats including MS Office docs, PDF, images, video and others. The company has made a step further in organizing its support department, offering support to users via Twitter, in addition to traditional methods like email, ticketing and classic online support.

The emergence of the cloud computing concept urged investors to re-think their investment priorities in the IT sector and companies like Huddle are increasingly in the spotlight. For good or bad, cloud computing companies and clod services providers quickly managed to become a new Silicon Valley myth attracting interest of venture capital firms, angel investors and even individual investors.

Huddle secured a Series A funding in October 2007 with Eden Ventures pouring USD4 million in the company. Eden Ventures, together with Matrix Partners, led a Series B funding in May 2010 and Huddle received USD10.2 million in new financing. Therefore, the company is not lacking financial resources to develop its product and services unlike many other start-ups in the cloud computing sector.

The company boasts customers like HTC, Kia Motors, AKQA, and Fujitsu which is a good indicator of Huddle’s ability to attract corporate clients that are able to spend larger budgets on cloud-based services. However, many peer companies are also expanding aggressively, offering free or discounted services to small and medium businesses, for example. Huddle offers a good product but the company faces fierce competition which will determine its corporate behavior and businesses model in the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, Huddle already demonstrated its ability to survive in a highly competitive environment.

By Kiril Kirilov

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The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing

The Global Rise of Cloud Computing Despite the rapid growth of cloud computing, the cloud still commands a small portion of overall enterprise IT spending. Estimates I’ve seen put the percentage between 5% and 10% of the slightly more than $2 trillion (not including telco) spent worldwide in 2014 on enterprise IT. Yet growth projections…

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future Of Cybersecurity

The Future of Cybersecurity In 2013, President Obama issued an Executive Order to protect critical infrastructure by establishing baseline security standards. One year later, the government announced the cybersecurity framework, a voluntary how-to guide to strengthen cybersecurity and meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), moving it one…

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Driven by Cloud, Big Data and IoT

Digital Marketing Successful digital marketing campaigns are being driven largely by trending technologies, specifically the Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, and The Cloud. These may be used for a huge number of marketing applications, from optimizing the performance of sports teams to improving science and research, even helping to aid law enforcement. Amazon Web…

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery – A Thing Of The Past!

Disaster Recovery  Ok, ok – I understand most of you are saying disaster recovery (DR) is still a critical aspect of running any type of operations. After all – we need to secure our future operations in case of disaster. Sure – that is still the case but things are changing – fast. There are…

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups: Guarding Your Data Against Hackers

The Importance of Cloud Backups Cloud platforms have become a necessary part of modern business with the benefits far outweighing the risks. However, the risks are real and account for billions of dollars in losses across the globe per year. If you’ve been hacked, you’re not alone. Here are some other companies in the past…

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

Choosing IaaS or a Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting Provider?

There is a Difference – So Stop Comparing We are all familiar with the old saying “That’s like comparing apples to oranges” and though we learned this lesson during our early years we somehow seem to discount this idiom when discussing the Cloud. Specifically, IT buyers often feel justified when comparing the cost of a…

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Three Factors For Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy

Choosing Your Long-term Cloud Strategy A few weeks ago I visited the global headquarters of a large multi-national company to discuss cloud strategy with the CIO. I arrived 30 minutes early and took a tour of the area where the marketing team showcased their award winning brands. I was impressed by the digital marketing strategy…

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Maintaining Network Performance And Security In Hybrid Cloud Environments

Hybrid Cloud Environments After several years of steady cloud adoption in the enterprise, an interesting trend has emerged: More companies are retaining their existing, on-premise IT infrastructures while also embracing the latest cloud technologies. In fact, IDC predicts markets for such hybrid cloud environments will grow from the over $25 billion global market we saw…

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Don’t Be Intimidated By Data Governance

Data Governance Data governance, the understanding of the raw data of an organization is an area IT departments have historically viewed as a lose-lose proposition. Not doing anything means organizations run the risk of data loss, data breaches and data anarchy – no control, no oversight – the Wild West with IT is just hoping…

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Do Not Rely On Passwords To Protect Your Online Information

Password Challenges  Simple passwords are no longer safe to use online. John Barco, vice president of Global Product Marketing at ForgeRock, explains why it’s time the industry embraced more advanced identity-centric solutions that improve the customer experience while also providing stronger security. Since the beginning of logins, consumers have used a simple username and password to…

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

Digital Twin And The End Of The Dreaded Product Recall

The Digital Twin  How smart factories and connected assets in the emerging Industrial IoT era along with the automation of machine learning and advancement of artificial intelligence can dramatically change the manufacturing process and put an end to the dreaded product recalls in the future. In recent news, Samsung Electronics Co. has initiated a global…

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Despite Record Breaches, Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority

Secure Third Party Access Still Not An IT Priority Research has revealed that third parties cause 63 percent of all data breaches. From HVAC contractors, to IT consultants, to supply chain analysts and beyond, the threats posed by third parties are real and growing. Deloitte, in its Global Survey 2016 of third party risk, reported…