A group of VMware alumni have launched Platform9, a cloud networking management platform designed to give private cloud networks the look, feel, and functionality of public cloud networks such as Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Platform9 launched today with 12 beta customers, including several that have been named: Marin Software, Moz, and Vendormate. It also announced that it has raised $4.5 million in Series A funding from Redpoint Ventures. The first product will ship by year-end.
The idea is that some companies may want some of the characteristics of a having its computing infrastructure and applications of a “public” cloud network such as AWS but they want to manage it as a private cloud network that the IT department can more directly control. Many companies move IT initiatives into cloud platforms such as AWS because they are easy to set up: They can be instantly provisioned managed from a self-serve portal, giving the customer access to a powerful, global computing platform. But later, as the business grows, there may be more of a need to build a private cloud as the tradeoffs of public cloud — such as cost, security, and control — become more taxing.
This is where Platform9 comes in. Designed for virtualization environments such as Docker, KVM, and VMware vSpere, it allows customers to manage their private clouds as if they were public clouds — with a single management pane and customer portal.
“There is a big trend in [companies] moving from Amazon to a private infrastructure,” says Sirish Raghuram, Co-founder and CEO of Platform9. “There was no way to manage and make it available like Amazon.”
Platform9 got its start in classic fashion, with a group of colleagues hearing about a steady demand from customers to solve a vexing problem. The founding team includes four former VMware veterans: CEO Raghuram; Platform9 director of product, Madhura Maskasky; Head of Engineering Roopak Parikh; and Chief Architect Bich Le.
Although VMware has many effective management tools, according to Raghuram, nothing fits the bill in helping companies move their infrastructure from the public cloud to the private cloud.
“VMware’s management systems center is very good as an operational tool, but there is nothing in that product portfolio that gives you the AWS experience.” he says.
The first product will be available in the fourth quarter on the KVM platform. Later, the company will make it available for VMware vSphere and Docker. The technology will be based on OpenStack, and open-source virtualization environment.
Raghuram said the company picked KVM first because of certain customer needs and its wide adoption as being including with the Linux OS. But the company will provide its tools on other platforms going forward.
“We are not vested in any one platform, we want them to build a private cloud platform with the technologies of their choice,” says Raghuram.
Platform9 will include migration tools that allow administrators to import existing servers and workloads from public cloud platforms. The technology will pool together servers, storage and networking into a private cloud that can be shared by teams of users. It’s also designed to manage utilization and enforce capacity quotas, among other features.
The product will be showcased at VMworld, taking place the week of August 25th in San Francisco.