Category Archives: Lists

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: BlueTeach

Founded in 2009 and based in Paris, France, BlueTeach employs only seven professionals but already has a customer base calculated in thousands of users worldwide. The company self-describes its service as a knowledge sharing community in the Cloud and competes with services like eduFire and Livemocha to attract customers who are eager to gain new knowledge or provide tutoring services.

The service, located at, requires only a web browser to run and no additional set-up of software or hardware is involved. Actually, it is a virtual classroom, called Eclass, featuring videoconferencing tools and whiteboard that allows users to embed graphics and other objects. BlueTeach supports Google maps and images, YouTube videos, 3D games, science objects, formulas and other objects required in the learning process. Users are able to upload various types of Microsoft Office documents like Power Point presentations, text documents, spreadsheets, etc., as well as PDF presentations.

A newsworthy option is the ability to teach and learn for free if a tutor has decided to work pro bono. Such being the case, both the teacher and the student can use the service free of charge while sharing lessons on foreign languages, natural science, games, or conducting professional training. Teacher can also benefit from a built-in functionality allowing them to record their lessons and publish them on other social networks in the Cloud.

The cloud-based platform of BlueTeach is not a new invention in terms of original idea, such platforms came to life and ceased to exist in the past with at least several other companies developing similar platforms. BlueTeach can be picked out from the crowd thanks to its entirely cloud computing nature, users should not take care of any additional software nor they have to be familiar with a specialized software to conduct an online lesson, any of the popular web browsers will do the job for them. Of course, all users attending a class should have Flash 10 installed on their computers. The platform also features planning and scheduling functionality, allowing teachers to plan and manage their online classes.

Unsurprisingly, the company has adopted its own credit-based currency like many other services providing a sort of online marketplace with teachers being charged by BlueTeach for their paid lessons.  Tutors and teachers are able to set their own per-hour rate while the service calculates the overall cost of a class depending on the duration of educational course of lectures. The company claims that it does not impose literary any restrictions on what can be taught online, though we doubt they offer such a total freedom of expression as the opposite will ruin the core idea of learning and teaching online.

BlueTeach, like almost all cloud-based social platforms, offers public, private, and on invitation only communication between users. It is not quite clear why a teacher looking for more students would like to make its classes private but it is a useful option if a person wants to teach lessons to a relative overseas, for example. In fact, such a functionality is more typical for “genuine” social networks like Facebook despite that most developers consider this option as something that is taken for granted in any modern communication or collaboration application.

More interesting idea, still in development, is the upcoming introduction of a co-browser, which is really an advanced feature that will be worth looking at when this functionality is available. At present, the service compensates for the lack of co-browsing functionality by allowing users to save anything pasted on the whiteboard. BlueTeach also offers cloud-based libraries enabling teachers and students to save resources in the Cloud and access them via their accounts.

In a rare public statement, one of the persons behind BlueTeach, Kemal El Moujahid, insists that the company’s solution: “Will revolutionize person-to-person learning by bringing a global online dimension to educational exchanges.” Press releases have an interesting property; namely, to read oddly in terms of words used to describe potentially useful and promising technologies. At this stage, it is hard to determine whether BlueTeach will manage to “revolutionize” the growing market for educational services in the Cloud. On the other hand, the French start-up aims to develop a service that is an essential part of a knowledge-based society and economy which tend to replace traditional communication channels with cloud-based online collaboration tools.

BlueTeach can be a real rising star, bearing in mind that their technology is developed in-house, if the company’s founders are able to ride the wave of cloud computing and apply a successful business model for the service they offer.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Webdoc

Stock market analysts in the main world financial centers already voice concerns over the overvalued Facebook and Twitter and started asking questions whether these cloud-based services will trigger the next bubble in the IT industry. In the meantime, start-ups like are eager to grab market share in a lucrative market of social platforms aimed at consumers that increasingly share, create and store content in the Cloud.

The Swiss-based Webdoc is a relatively young company, founded in 2009 by a group of serial entrepreneurs and geeks, and regardless of its name, suggesting a collaborative cloud platform, it is more a Facebook-like service. The company employs about 15 people, according to its public Linkedin and CrunchBase profiles, but has the ambition to offer “open spaces for social expression”. The company boasts a brand new approach to social platforms but unbiased observers will hardly find any significant differences between Webdoc and Facebook, at first glance.

At second reading, however, one will realize that Webdoc offers possibility to insert almost unlimited types of content into their “webdocs”. Most cloud-based social platforms allow users to put text, pictures, videos and music into their profile pages, “walls”, whatever they are called. 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.

Actually, some of the companies we already reviewed in the Top 25 European Rising Stars Series are applying similar approach and deploy analogous functionality in their cloud platforms, services and software. The difference is that Webdoc is a more spontaneous platform where people are able only to listen to others and to group around topics, events, and content. It is not an original idea, though, not many other services bet on such a policy.

Webdoc is a simple to use platform featuring drag-and-drop functionality while allowing users to add even entire web sites to their postings. It seems that the company has decided to enable users to embed almost everything into their webdocs, realizing that digital content is experiencing fast-paced development that widens the bounds of the social platforms as a widespread instrument of communication.

Unsurprisingly, Webdoc features private and public conversations with private ones differing from the public webdocs in their limited number of friends allowed to see the content that is put into them. Users can log in with their Twitter and Facebook accounts, which is another advantage in a world of growing number of personal digital accounts and hints that the company wants to build on the popularity of these services before trying to oust them. It looks like a clever business model for a start-up still gaining popularity and lacking finances to fight multi-billion behemoths in an open duel. At the same time, applying of such relaxed approach toward account policy opens the door for more loyal Facebook and Twitter users to try what Webdoc has to offer.

The company is still waiting for a major financial boost by venture capital investors despite that it is not quite clear whether the founders of Webdoc are actively looking for external financing. The company attracted the attention of those who keep a close eye on the cloud industry and innovative IT companies as well as professionals who understand that gradual development can be more advantageous in long-run compared to an aggressive marketing campaign backing an underdeveloped product.

Webdoc is not aggressively promoting their product nor they are fueling the hype around the company. One should be aware, however, that companies like Skype, ICQ, AVG, etc., emerged outside the Silicon Valley but gradually evolved becoming well known world leaders in their respective market segments.

The Bible tells a story about David who managed to overcome Goliath armed with a sling not a catapult, and the same story reiterates during history of humankind, including history of business and market development. Webdoc started a promising project in the Cloud, yet we have to see whether the company is capable to gain momentum or will fizzle out like many other start-ups in the technology sector which failed to materialize a good business idea.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Memonic

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Memonic

Memonic Attacks Specific Markets with Its Cloud-based Personal Notebook

memonicZurich-based start-up Nektoon Inc. was founded in 2009 to launch a new cloud-based service called Memonic and since then managed to become a popular online service in Europe. The company competes with services like Evernote, providing customers with a personal online notebook to store text, pictures, videos or sound they found in Internet. Memonic allows users to capture essential content of any web page, store it in their personal cloud-based notebook and access their accounts anytime through different devices. Actually, Memonic is a sort of Storage as a Service with extended functionality.

The service was launched in November, 2009 by co-founders Dorian Selz, Felix Hürlimann, Patrice Neff, Christoph Hauzenberger and Toni Birrer who managed to secure USD 200,000 in seed funding for Nektoon. The Swiss-headquartered company received USD 1 million in angel investor funding in May 2010 and since then no news on new rounds of funding have been revealed. Memonic, however, won several awards in just a couple of years, including an award for innovative and promising business idea.

The online notebook offered by Memonic is available as a web-based service and is accessible in Windows, iPhone and any Smartphone. Apart from online knowledge gathering functionality, the application allows users to share the content they stored under their online accounts as well as possibility to edit collected information.

Memonic features several basic modules or functionality that should be included in any cloud-based application designed to serve as an online notebook. The first one, the web clipper allows users to select text, images or videos from web pages visited by customers. The web clipper works as a bookmarklet or browser extension while the application is automatically indexing all the content captured by the users. The capturing tool is also able to mail users’ notes to their Memonic accounts while creating new items is also possible. Thus, the content of the personal notebook is searchable, which is not an innovative functionality but is worth mentioning.

The company calls its folders, containing various items organized by users, “Sets” and these Sets can be organized by dragging and dropping an item to a list or by using special menus. In addition, an item may belong to a particular Set or a group of Sets. Memonic has a built-in text editor allowing users to edit the content of items while adding or removing images to an item.

Sharing functionality is essential part of any cloud-based application and Nektoon added such feature to their Memonic service. The application allows users to share their collected content via email, Facebook and Twitter while any item can be labeled as private or public. Private items can be shared too, using a guest password that unlocks the content of a private set of items.

Recent hacking competitions showed that iPhones, and smartphones, in general, are not the most secure devices to use for private browsing but Memonic follows the overall industry trends and made its application accessible via such devices. Memonic supports iPhone, iPad and iPod and offers data synchronization for offline browsing and reading. The application is available on the iTunes application store but we suggest to be careful what you store online using your mobile smartphone.

The Windows version of Memonic adds more functionality to the application with possibility to write notes and take screenshots. Users are allowed to extract text and pictures form various Windows applications like text and presentation editors while saving clipboard is also possible. Notes and screenshots created offline can be uploaded automatically to a user account when the application goes online.

The company offers two types of free accounts, Instant and Standard, with the latter providing additional sharing capabilities, mobile access, iPhone application, and create by email function. However, both free account types do not provide SSL encryption, which is a serious disadvantage.

An unbiased observer might ask: “Why should I use Memonic if services like Google Docs exits?”. The correct answer is that Memonic is not trying to compete with cloud services like the one offered by Google Docs and other collaborative platforms.

There are plenty of cloud-based collaborative tools around while Memonic bets on another, yet underdeveloped, niche. The growing market for cloud services and the related boom of Internet-based operating systems and devices is creating an entirely new market of cloud storage services. The growing number of Internet PCs and smartphones force their owners to seek affordable, secure and user friendly methods to store their data collected during Internet browsing sessions. Why should a user in Africa purchase an expensive laptop to browse the web if the market offers cheap web OS PCs while services like Memonic provide cloud storage space for the user’s collected valuable content. Add functions like sharing and editing and you get a good idea why services like Memonic are the likely winners in a fast paced cloud computing environment.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Timetric

Not many scholars tend to launch a successful business, especially in a highly competitive environment offered by technology sector. Timetric’s cloud-based service was started by Andrew Walkingshaw, Toby White and Dan Wilson in Cambridge in the United Kingdom with Walkingshaw and White graduating in Cambridge while Dan Wilson received his PhD in computational chemistry from the Royal Institution of Great Britain in 2005.

The hosted service for managing and analyzing statistical data uses the Timetric Platform and was developed by the company’s co-founders during their work on computational physics research. Physical simulations require processing of large data volumes and the three scientists were writing software to manage such data, which led to the creation of Timetric Ltd and the website powered by the Timetric Platform.

Timetric managed to close its first round of seed funding in March 2010 after the company was named among the winners of London Mini Seedcamp 2009. Investors in Timetric include Stefan Glänzer who is executive chairman and founding investor of, Alex Zubillaga, Sherry Coutu, a well-known serial entrepreneur and founder of Interactive Investor, Matteo Stefanel, and Sean Park and Udayan Goyal of Nauiokas Park.

Timetric provides cloud-based Data as a Service (DaaS) for websites and publications interested in presenting statistical data in various spheres. The service offers interactive and sharable graphs featuring interactive visualizations. Reputable publications like The Guardian, Financial Times,  Citywire and This Is Money are among the customers using Timetric’s Chartroom.

The company can offer cost-effective solutions for its service is hosted in the cloud and publishers must not take care of aggregating and processing large data volumes to incorporate interactive pages containing statistics in their news services. Timetric’s Chartroom pages allow writers to reuse graphics and visualizations anywhere, enabling readers to share a Timetric Chartroom in a couple of clicks. The platform supports all major browsers and graphs are able to run on iPhone and iPad.

The company describes its Timetric Platform as a cloud-based, proprietary time series database, statistics aggregator, and visualization system. In addition, Timetric claims its team is able to build a customized service very quickly because the service is based on their own platform.

Cleverly enough, Timetric Benchmark is collecting data from public sources around the globe, which means the company is covering data sources like central banks, national statistical offices, etc. to provide analytical services based on statistical data. Taking a brief look at the number of such sources of statistical data worldwide shows that a platform aggregating data from public sources can be a very reliable source of information for hundreds and thousands of public data sources exist. When a software is able to collect all those data it becomes a powerful source of comparable information that can be of benefit to individuals and businesses alike. Providing data in real time and allowing users to securely share such data is just another advantage of Timetric.

The company claims that its service is not business intelligence or web analytics but a platform tracking, measuring and collecting all key metrics of an enterprise regardless of where the data originated. Timetric API allows business owners to create subscription services and manage access control, payment and delivery of data to customers.

Timetric graphing widget is based on Adobe Flash and supports major web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Safari and IE 6 or later. The company’s product is built on top of open source software including Python, Django, jQuery, Postgres, and Tokyo Tyrant. Developers working for Timetric also created or contributed to the creation of a number of software products like Sunburnt, which is a Python-based interface for working with the Solr search engine. Other products include Raphlot – a port of Flot to use the Raphaël APIs and Appengine-mailer, which is a limited RFC2822-over-HTTP proxy for running in Google App Engine. As3xls is a library for reading Excel files from Actionscript 3 and is extremely useful when the matter in hand is reading statistical data.

The future looks bright for Timetric for today’s world relies and depends on information and data to an unimaginable extent. At present, the company is not running a multibillion business but one could hardly find any reasons for Timetric not to monetize its know-how and become a leading DaaS cloud service provider. Moreover, it is encouraging to witness the growth of a company founded by scholars that are taking advantage of ever growing market for data while offering a cloud solution that is very cost effective. Thomas Edison is a good example of this type of inventor and entrepreneur and despite that Timetric co-founders did not invent the electric bulb, which changed the way of living of mankind, they are offering a promising knowledge-based cloud service that obviously bears great potential.

By Kiril Kirilov

Cloud Data Migration: What An ISV Needs To Know

Cloud Data Migration: What an ISV Needs to Know

Cloud Data migration is not new to ISVs. Data conversion from legacy systems during new implementations is common and so is the data migration during major upgrades. ISVs adopt either manual methods or proprietary tools or resort to sophisticated ETL tools for this important step of a customer implementation project. However things change drastically when a customer is moving to cloud and the on premise data needs to be moved to the cloud. ISVs need to know and prepare for the following in their data migration solutions for their customers moving from on premise to cloud.

Storage selection: This happens actually much before the data migration and needs to be considered while designing the cloud architecture of their products. Cloud vendors offer multiple storage options. For example take S3, Simple DB and RDS offered by Amazon. While RDS is good for web apps, S3 is suitable for large media files and Simple DB is the best option for query-able light weight attribute data. Selecting the right storage simplifies data migration later during customer on boarding.

Data location:  On premise data migrations allow you to specify the target storage and path. However, in the case of the cloud, unless you ask for it you have no control over where your data will reside.  Hence while selecting a cloud vendor it is important to check whether they allow and facilitate this choice. Customers might have compliance reasons to insist on data location within a region and not having a strategy in place could mean loss of business.

Data selection:  It is critical to plan for the data to be migrated.  There could be multiple reasons for keeping part of the data on premise. These could be data sensitivity, archived data or a hybrid cloud model. What are really important are the data extraction strategy and the tools which can apply the filters e.g. attribute based, selection table based or aggregation function in SQL to extract the appropriate data.

Multi tenant data transformation:  Degree of multi tenancy plays an important role in data migration strategy. If it is separate database tenancy migration, it’s simple. If it is shared database but separate schema most of the ETL tools support it. But the challenge comes when it is a shared schema model tenant id which has to be passed at the record level. Run of the mill ETL tools will not support this and the ISV needs to prepare a solution well in advance before moving to shared schema multi tenancy.

Data loading strategies: There are multiple options like direct loading, Simple APIs or workflow based APIs.  Simple APIs check for data model failures or non compliance but in a multi tenant cloud there could be tenant specific data model extensions and APIs need to work with these. Similarly workflow based APIs run pre determined workflows and throw up pre defined errors in case of deviations. One needs to develop these APIs before hand as a part of the migration strategy.

Migration verification:  The standard method of on premise migration verification is to verify whether all attributes of selected objects are migrated. This poses challenges in cloud. Unlike on premise relational targets cloud storage do not yet support strong SQL querying capabilities. So the standard top down, bottom up equivalence or bottom-up fingerprint techniques do not work as is. And thus for verification, custom solutions need to be built before hand. While this post does not cover specific solutions, ISVs would benefit to use these as a checklist in their cloud migration strategy.

By Milind Khirwadkar, AVP Cloud Services, Symphony Services

Symphony Services is a leading global specialist providing software product engineering outsourcing services. The company’s focus on Engineering Outcome Certainty™ drives R&D results that shorten time-to-market for new products and delivers greater innovation to compete in a global marketplace. Independent software vendors (ISVs), software enabled businesses and companies whose products contain embedded software partner with Symphony Services to achieve their business goals.

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Mvine

Serial entrepreneur Frank Joshi founded Mvine Ltd. in 2005 as an online record label and music social network but he soon realized that B2B cloud platforms have great market growth potential and Mvine platform was re-designed to serve also as a social businesses software system. Recently, the company released its new social business platform in the United Kingdom and most experts agree that Mvine is trying to set foot at markets traditionally occupied by business collaboration platforms like Microsoft Sharepoint and Salesforce Chatter. The UK-based company also faces other serious competitors like Google Docs cloud-based service and platform and the Jive Jive social networking platform.

The company claims its cloud-based platform is more secure and more capable that other similar products offered as Software as a Service (SaaS). Unlike other platforms, Mvine bets on niche markets trying to serve particular communities, rejecting the one-size-fits-all business model applied by leading companies in the field.

People think that the internet has changed the way people do business, ironically in some respects it has and it hasn’t: the internet hasn’t replaced human communications, it has enhanced them. At the same time it takes the drudgery out of mundane processes and allows people to focus on the content of messaging, letting the technical worry about distribution. Mvine’s technology tries to find better ways to do transactional processes which will typically involve people not machines,”Frank Joshi explains in a statement on the company’s website.

The company develops a variety of portals that are based on open source software like Debian (Stable), PostgreSQL, Apache and Perl. The platform offers the usual advantages of cloud computing and open source technologies like scalability, high level of customization and acceptable degree of security functionality. Mvine uses Perl’s Mason HTML template software that allows each page users see to be unique for it is dynamically created after user’s log in.

The Mvine platform features capabilities offered by all major cloud collaboration platforms like upload and management of documents, text, images, audio, and video. Users are allowed to create unlimited number of groups and subgroups while various types of communication are available – live/passive communication, instant messaging, video conferencing and telephone calls are offered within the platform. The company has integrated a BI platform in the system, allowing customers to get detailed reports on various events occurring on the website. In addition, reporting can be cross referenced with and linked to other databases.

Mvine develops and supports different types of portals in four different categories: customer portals, business communities, alumni & diversity portals, and membership portals. The first one provides businesses with the ability to run customized dashboards aimed to deliver a customer-centric experience. Customer portals feature central document repository and management areas while providing instant messaging, private messaging, telephony and discussion groups functionality.

The platform offers extended functionality to business communities by allowing organizations to connect remote offices and teams, including mobile employees, through a cloud-based service. Mvine’s cloud platform boasts secure environment for enterprises to share and collaborate on various projects in different file formats, providing unified content management and cloud storage facility.

The company develops two major types of cloud-based social software for alumni & diversity communities. Alumni Communities for schools allows customers to manage and administer their community portals while publishing important information about the school and its activities. The platform also features tools for mass communicating messages to community members although this cannot be considered an advanced functionality anymore. Alumni communities for businesses provide similar functionality, betting on social networking as a tool for creation of devoted communities that can assist business development.

Membership portals offered by Mvine take advantage of available cloud computing technologies providing instant messaging, telephony and video conferencing functionality. Portal owners can create different subscription levels and get a holistic view of the site and coherent analysis.

Recently, Mvine’s platform has been adopted by a number of clients, including British Telecom, that are eager to outsource their document management and online communications to the Cloud. The platform features integrated document management, CRM, data integration, content publishing, security, identity management, online communications and business intelligence (BI) and analytics, functionality, which makes it a real competitor to rival services offered by mastodons like Microsoft and Google. At present, the company is targeting primarily the financial services sector and insurance companies in particular. Mvine established a subsidiary company, named Exvine, to target the insurance industry with former former Lloyds of London chief information officer Chris Rawson heading the new business unit.

Mvine loudly announced the launch of its businesses collaboration platform in the cloud but it is hard to assess whether it will be able to grab significant market share in the coming years. Nevertheless, the company is aiming at business sectors that rarely experience financial difficulties and, provided that its platform is well accepted, it could witness fast paced growth of its services. Mvine has long been on the radar of those interested in cloud computing start-ups but it finally unveiled a solution that can help the company to set foot at the lucrative market for online collaboration and cloud-based B2B services.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: Kwaga

Web-based email services and applications are considered a classic example of cloud-based solutions offered by a large number of providers. Kwaga, however, goes a step beyond traditional cloud email services and offers a solution 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. Actually, applied linguistics is interested in artificial intelligence and a number of research laboratories around the globe have offered interesting applied solutions over time. However, few companies managed to offer a full-scale working product on the market, a product that can be easily utilized in PC users’ everyday activities and electronic communication.

France-based Kwaga was founded by Philippe Laval in 2008 and its SmarterEmails™ semantic toolkit, launched in October 2009, is available from the Google Apps Marketplace (Kwaga Context). SmarterEmails is a cloud-based solution that determines the relative importance of email messages using Kwaga’s cloud servers showing forgotten emails or messages that have to appear at a fixed date and time, for example. Kwaga claims that its proprietary semantic technology understands email text, detecting urgency, action requests, deadlines, contact details, etc. More interesting functionality is the ability of SmarterEmails to detect open-issues, meeting proposals and cancellations, and invoices. It looks like a simple software solution, however, those engaged in computational linguistics are aware that such solutions require sophisticated algorithms and advanced technology.

The company takes advantage of its semantic know-how to incorporate its product in various business platforms including Google Apps and the iPhone. Meeting cancellations are delivered Iphones through push Email technology, for example, with SmarterEmails detecting such messages in the background, working of Kwaga’s cloud servers. The company cloud-based solution is also offered as an extension for Google Chrome and via Google Apps Marketplace.

Another advantage of Kwaga’s solution is their lack of ambition to create a standalone email application but to focus on what they do best – semantic analysis. Therefore, SmarterEmails is able to work inside various email applications with Kwaga’s software running in the cloud without changing core user interface or functionality. Actually, the semantic tool extracts information that requires some sort of action from the user allowing customers to decide what to do when such information is delivered to their desktop or mobile device. The cloud semantic tool does not interfere in the normal operation of an email application until the user requires assistance.
Public versions of Kwaga are available for Gmail and Google Apps Mail while administrator of Google Apps domains can install the Kwaga contextual gadget for Google Apps for all users of their domain. All major browsers are supported while iPhone users should install the Kwaga Application for iPhone to use the service.

Technologically, the semantic tool works via Kwaga servers that access Google IMAP services to receive a copy of user emails and conduct semantic analysis of the text received. The company’s servers are AWS-based and are able to detect and store key phrases using semantic algorithms. Kwaga claims it respects the privacy of users and all emails are deleted immediately after the text is processes, storing only those key phrases that could be displayed to the user when he requests email intelligence assistance.

Kwaga says on its company website its semantic tool has processed over 5 million emails so far (without elaborating the exact time period) which is not so big number of emails to say that SmarterEmails is a widespread popular service. However, semantic tools are something one should expect to be part of many future applications and with growing cloud-computing services market computational linguistics will play increasing role in development of advanced technology solutions. Researchers, and Kwaga, are not really close to a fully operational and trustworthy semantic application that is able to read our emails and fully understand the context and nuances of meanings put in a text message. On the other hand, applied and computational linguistics provide powerful tools for developing semantic-based aiding applications that will be in high demand in an evolving virtualized world.

In early 2009, Kwaga received a small scale seed funding of EUR 600,000 and since then no additional funding rounds were reported. Although not constantly present in the news the company continuously develops its product and is adding new features like Kwaga Context, a contextual gadget for Google Apps that displays the sender’s social profile and user’s common history of threads, natively in Gmail. Kwaga BirdsEye is a new desktop widget version of their semantic email tool with more product enhancements expected in the future. At present, Kwaga is a relatively small European cloud computing start-up but a company one should keep a good eye on. The company barely has real  competitors, which is not necessarily a good news, but a tremendous growth potential for its services exists in an underdeveloped market that will increasingly rely on advanced cloud-based solutions.

By Kiril Kirilov

Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: iCloud

Update: Acquired by Apple

Xcerion Develops Internet OS Which Provides More Than SaaS

Xcerion AB is not a newly established company, really, it was founded in 2001 by Daniel Arthursson but attracted public attention in 2008 and 2009 when it started its Internet OS as a Web 2.0 service over the Internet. Back in 2001, cloud computing was a relatively new technology, not to speak of viable business model, so the company had to wait until 2007 to launch its online desktop that is available in the Cloud from any device or computer anywhere. The booming cloud computing market gave boost to company’s operations and now we can confirm Xcerion and its iCloud platform and service can be depicted as one of the cloud computing rising stars based in Europe and operating worldwide.


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.

Main features of iCloud include functionality to create a personal online desktop allowing users to chat with MSN users and other iCloud users. The system offers possibility to store and share files on iCloud as well as to manage schedules through multiple iCloud utilizing various iCloud calendars. Applications for iPhone and Android are also available. Sweden-based Xcerion AB boasts two dozens of patents on which its operating system is built with a new AJAX XML OS enabling Visual Orchestration™ that allows visual creation of software without programming.

A growing number of customers interested in cloud-based solutions, and not willing to pay license fees for their operating systems, will find that iCloud offers extended features like productivity tools and applications needed for everyday computing, visual development tools and the ability to scale millions of users. The service provides essential applications like IMAP Email, Calendar, Presentation, Contacts, Todo, Instant Messaging, Visual Application Designer (IDE), Document Explorer, Word Processing, Money Manager, Photo Organizer, Music Player, Radio, RSS Reader, XML Editor and Widgets.

Open Source

Moreover, the company bets on Open Source technologies and all applications are delivered under Open XML Source license. Such an approach allows developers to customize solutions provided by Xcerion and combines two fast developing IT segments – cloud computing and open source technologies. Skeptics might argue that such a combination of cloud computing and open source could pose security risks and they would have been right a couple of years ago. However, open source applications already proved their stability in practice while the Cloud transforms into a really secure environment very fast.

Actually, iCloud applications are executed locally, not in the cloud, and Xcerion utilizes its data centers mainly for storing the users files. Therefore, Xcerion offers a Hybrid Cloud Computing solution that uses the company’s XML Virtual Machine (XVM) to support richer applications and fewer server round-trips.

The XIOS/3 operating systems runs within an Internet browser and is able to operate offline too. The company explains that its Internet OS boots itself and runs in the primary memory of the computer with the OS disappearing from the computer once the browser is shut down. The OS is self-updating and describes applications at a higher abstraction level in pure XML which is advantageous for developers. On the other hand, such a model allows developers to easily and faster create new applications for the Internet OS and XIOS/3 boasts hundreds of applications in different categories.

Another advantage offered by XIOS/3 is its ability to run word processing, mail and calendar applications within the browser eliminating the need to install standalone software while allowing users to store their documents in Xcerion’s data center. The system features functionality to share documents and calendars with other users by creating groups of trusted peers and friends, providing built-in support for collaboration, a vital part of each and every cloud computing solution. In addition, the company’s data centers are able to deal with over 40 million users of its Internet OS.

The company’s service is not widespread in the United States, independent analysis showed, with some 13 percent of all iCloud users coming from the U.S. However, iCloud is very popular in Scandinavia and is attracting a growing number of users across Europe and Asia since its launch in September 2007.  In September 2008, the company secured USD 12 million in series A funding which helped the company to open its U.S. office in Seattle and continue developing XIOS/3. Xcerion faces fierce competition from at least two other providers of cloud-based OS and file storage solutions but it looks like a company which is well prepared to deliver advanced technology to end-users. Rumors are that Xcerion is looking for funding from major market players but no official reports on such investment were issued in the past couple of years. On the other hand, the growing demand for cloud-based solutions and related outsourcing and cost saving activities of enterprises worldwide might give a major boost to company’s activities. The growing confidence in cloud computing environment and the lessening of security concerns related to the Cloud could be a major driving force behind iCloud’s future expansion.

Visit: iCloud

By Kiril Kirilov

CloudTweaks Comics
Cloud Infographic – DDoS attacks, unauthorized access and false alarms

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A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

A New CCTV Nightmare: Botnets And DDoS attacks

Botnets and DDoS Attacks There’s just so much that seems as though it could go wrong with closed-circuit television cameras, a.k.a. video surveillance. With an ever-increasing number of digital eyes on the average person at all times, people can hardly be blamed for feeling like they’re one misfortune away from joining the ranks of Don’t…

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

The DDoS That Came Through IoT: A New Era For Cyber Crime

A New Era for Cyber Crime Last September, the website of a well-known security journalist was hit by a massive DDoS attack. The site’s host stated it was the largest attack of that type they had ever seen. Rather than originating at an identifiable location, the attack seemed to come from everywhere, and it seemed…

Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

Timeline of the Massive DDoS DYN Attacks

DYN DDOS Timeline This morning at 7am ET a DDoS attack was launched at Dyn (the site is still down at the minute), an Internet infrastructure company whose headquarters are in New Hampshire. So far the attack has come in 2 waves, the first at 11.10 UTC and the second at around 16.00 UTC. So…

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Cloud Infographic: Security And DDoS

Security, Security, Security!! Get use to it as we’ll be hearing more and more of this in the coming years. Collaborative security efforts from around the world must start as sometimes it feels there is a sense of Fait Accompli, that it’s simply too late to feel safe in this digital age. We may not…

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

Reuters News: Powerfull DDoS Knocks Out Several Large Scale Websites

DDoS Knocks Out Several Websites Cyber attacks targeting the internet infrastructure provider Dyn disrupted service on major sites such as Twitter and Spotify on Friday, mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast. It was not immediately clear who was responsible. Officials told Reuters that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau…

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Picking Up – Legacy Security Losing Ground

Cloud Native Trends Once upon a time, only a select few companies like Google and Salesforce possessed the knowledge and expertise to operate efficient cloud infrastructure and applications. Organizations patronizing those companies benefitted with apps that offered new benefits in flexibility, scalability and cost effectiveness. These days, the sharp division between cloud and on-premises infrastructure…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

How You Can Improve Customer Experience With Fast Data Analytics

How You Can Improve Customer Experience With Fast Data Analytics

Fast Data Analytics In today’s constantly connected world, customers expect more than ever before from the companies they do business with. With the emergence of big data, businesses have been able to better meet and exceed customer expectations thanks to analytics and data science. However, the role of data in your business’ success doesn’t end…

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart Change-Induced Network Outages and Breaches

How Formal Verification Can Thwart  Breaches Formal verification is not a new concept. In a nutshell, the process uses sophisticated math to prove or disprove whether a system achieves its desired functional specifications. It is employed by organizations that build products that absolutely cannot fail. One of the reasons NASA rovers are still roaming Mars…

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Part 1 – Connected Vehicles: Paving The Way For IoT On Wheels

Connected Vehicles From cars to combines, the IoT market potential of connected vehicles is so expansive that it will even eclipse that of the mobile phone. Connected personal vehicles will be the final link in a fully connected IoT ecosystem. This is an incredibly important moment to capitalize on given how much time people spend…

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation – Protecting Advanced Threats Within The Perimeter

Micro-segmentation Changing with the times is frequently overlooked when it comes to data center security. The technology powering today’s networks has become increasingly dynamic, but most data center admins still employ archaic security measures to protect their network. These traditional security methods just don’t stand a chance against today’s sophisticated attacks. That hasn’t stopped organizations…

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

The Cloud Is Not Enough! Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions

Why Businesses Need Hybrid Solutions Running a cloud server is no longer the novel trend it once was. Now, the cloud is a necessary data tier that allows employees to access vital company data and maintain productivity from anywhere in the world. But it isn’t a perfect system — security and performance issues can quickly…


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