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Five cloud computing startups to watch heading into 2016

Hoping to challenge the cloud status quo, new vendors are making moves in IaaS and SaaS. Here are five cloud startups that piqued analyst interest in 2015.

Each year, a new crop of startups enters the ever-active cloud computing market. Given the tough competition, most...

won't go far. But some of these cloud computing startups will thrive, prosper and maybe even go on to change the technology landscape.

The odds seem good that in 2016 we'll see some new cloud vendors begin to have a real impact -- and perhaps enough market traction for IT decision makers to take a closer look. 

Here are five cloud computing startups that caught analysts' attention this year, and are worth following in 2016.

Velostrata

Colm Keegan, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), an analyst firm in Milford, Mass., says his organization has been focusing on how traditional businesses are incorporating cloud and how those spending decisions will flow through the industry.

Velostrata, which recently came out of stealth mode, has a technology that helps streamline the movement of data into and out of the cloud. "One of the concerns that you hear regularly is that if you push data into the cloud, it will be hard to get it back, and potentially costly," said Keegan. As a result, data simply goes into the cloud and stays there.

Velostrata, based in San Jose, Calif., has a tool that analyzes data to help businesses efficiently move into public cloud environments like AWS and Google Cloud Platform. Its software also provides baseline information to help businesses make cloud-related decisions, Keegan said. For instance, he explained, if you have a 1 TB database, Velostrata identifies the small number of active gigabytes that are most suitable for cloud hosting, along with those that are better suited to remain on-premises.

CoreOS

As container technology continues to gain ground in the enterprise, CoreOS is another startup worth watching, Keegan said.

[CoreOS has] created, in effect, an operating system for managing containers that integrates security and management features that aren't available with Docker.
Colm KeeganSenior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group

"They have created, in effect, an operating system for managing containers that integrates security and management features that aren't available with Docker," he said. For instance, when IT shops need to run a single container instance on multiple virtual machines, there is currently no central way to manage and provision that environment. CoreOS, based in San Francisco, incorporates some advanced features and functionality that help address that challenge, Keegan said.

Also, he noted, the CoreOS Tectonic platform runs the Google Kubernetes container management system, along with software called Rocket, which the company claims provides a faster and more secure way to deploy containers.

Ravello Systems

Ravello Systems, a startup in the software as a service (SaaS) market, is another cloud business that stood out this year, Keegan said.

"They have a SaaS-based offering that allows businesses to rapidly create VMware instances in a public cloud by leveraging nested virtualization," he said. Nested virtualization is the process of running a hypervisor on a virtual machine to further subdivide resources on a host, thereby supporting multiple application services that don't require too much CPU or memory.

Ravello's SaaS offering orchestrates and manages the creation of cloud-based virtual machines based on users' VMware images and data, including all the requisite security, networking services and load balancers. This allows organizations to deploy virtualized applications to support a variety of use cases, such as application development and testing, training and proof-of-concepts. For IT organizations that need to quickly deploy a temporary set of cloud-based application services, Ravello is an interesting option, Keegan said.

DigitalOcean

In the infrastructure as a service (IaaS) space, DigitalOcean, based in New York, is a cloud computing startup to follow in 2016, said Holger Mueller, principal analyst at Boston-based Constellation Research Inc.

With a specific focus on developers, DigitalOcean provides public cloud infrastructure at global scale, Mueller said. The vendor says it maintains a provisioning time of less than a minute, low I/O latency, private networking and an API that gives developers control over their virtual private servers.

Bracket Computing

Fresh off a recent funding round from investors, Bracket Computing, based in Mountain View, Calif., says its computing cell software gives businesses a secure and virtual infrastructure that can span public and private clouds, as well on-premises data centers. William Fellows, analyst at Boston-based 451 Research, said Bracket's computing cell enables enterprise applications and data, as well as security and networking, to exist in a "single software construct."

Of course, only time will tell which of these five cloud computing startups really takes off. But, in the meantime, it will be interesting to see how their technology fares as we move into next year.

Next Steps

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Six cloud startups to follow in 2017

This was last published in November 2015

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