Tag Archives: john cowan

6 Things I Think I Think for IaaS in 2011

I love this time of year because it is one of those rare occasions during the corporate and product development process where creative ideas and concepts designed to stimulate future success enter the entrepreneurial blood stream.  It is that rare moment where you have the benefit of an entire year of business fresh in your mind to build upon and an entire new year ahead of you to set new standards and push the envelope of success. 

For our company and for the industry, 2010 was a huge year.   We completed our Series A round of venture financing, relocated the company to the coveted North Carolina State University’s Centennial Campus and tripled the size of our team.  Meanwhile, the industry took meaningful steps toward maturity as mainstream private sector businesses and governments of all shapes and sizes began giving IaaS a very serious look.   If 2010 was the year of formal organization, 2011 will be the year of some serious and meaningful growth.  Not just for our company and our technology, but for the IaaS market as a whole.

In a post I wrote recently I did my best to explain some of the core characteristics that would be central to IaaS achieving mass adoption as the technology revolution marches forward.  While I think it’s very difficult for anyone to offer up accurate predictions for the year ahead of any fledgling market, there are some specific ‘themes’ that I think, as we look back a year from now, will have clearly emerged as bell weather trends in the industry.

To borrow a format from Peter King, one of my favorite sports writers, here are the six things (6 things, 6fusion, get it?) I think I think (for the cloud biz in 2011):

  1. Hybridization Will Prove Critical to Enterprise Adoption.  I’ve been to the edge and back and I have a few words of wisdom to share with my peers about the Enterprise cloud.  Unless what you are doing bridges a gap between what exists inside the four walls of the enterprise data center and what might safely and securely exist outside of those four walls you are just another GUI in the Red Ocean peddling the same wares we’ve seen for years.  Hybridization is something enterprise buyers will use to separate the crème from the crop in 2011.
  2. Regional Clouds Unite.  The arms race among regional managed hosting providers to beef up for cloud services was evident in 2010.  But the silo approach to building up IaaS on a regional basis will prove difficult if not impossible to compete on scale – and it won’t take long to figure this out.  In 2011 expect to see the concept of broad-based IaaS federation become a much more prominent theme as owners of regional facilities and compute partner to create scale and increase market size in the quest to truly monetize their resources and compete with the national players.
  3. The Ecosystem is Bigger Than the Organism.  The IaaS industry is beginning to realize that the creation and quantification of IaaS demand is much more important than the creation of supply.  Its one thing to have the capability to power or enable the creation of IaaS resources, but it is entirely another to drive revenue and margin to the cloud.   The emergence of business ecosystems will be a consistent theme for the coming year because partnering is the key to success in a nascent market.  In 2011 you will see more and more eyebrow-raising deals announced based on ‘synergistic’ partnerships – partnerships that drive mutual revenue and margin between companies that are bound by the common interest of leveraging, distributing and powering IaaS.
  4. It’s All About the Channel.  Building a global business tackling one end-user customer at a time doesn’t scale if your business is supposed to compete with the market pioneers.  In order to generate a serious outbound push to globalize IaaS the cost of business acquisition will be too high for almost every player.  In 2011 IaaS vendors will wake up to the fact that they need help in order to scale revenues and ultimately generate the ROI they are promising shareholders.  Queue the channel gold rush.
  5. Communities Will Emerge.  I subscribe to the notion that one day every business in every vertical will consume a form of public cloud – but we are not anywhere close to this reality.  Large scale IaaS operated by a trusted third party and made available to a select group of common-interested stakeholders is a concept that has legs.  Trust me on this one.  Building out community clouds will emerge in 2011 as one of, if not the most important, concepts to help accelerate IaaS adoption. 
  6. A Course Will Be Charted for an IaaS Futures Market.  If you don’t subscribe to the notion that the final destination for this ride is a commodity exchange for compute, stop and take a look around.  Spot markets emerged in 2010, much to the surprise of many industry pundits.  But spot markets, as novel as they are, do not a true market make.  The real money and the real opportunity are in futures trading.  There are forces at work on this as I type away, and although you won’t actually see compute on a major exchange in 2011, do expect to see this theme to creep it’s way into mainstream IaaS thinking.

Ok, so with the predictions for themes and threads out of the way, I’ll conclude this post with the 6 things I’ll be watching closer than my wallet at a pick-pocket’s convention as 2011 progresses:

  1. Shifting Big Iron:  Companies like HP and IBM have yet to emerge with serious IaaS plays and if you read the tea leaves they won’t any time soon.  I’ll be watching to see if any of the whales in the pool make a splash in the IaaS business.
  2. Processor Plays:  Intel made huge moves in the cloud in 2011 and you don’t need your tarot cards out to see where they are going.  Anyone know what AMD is thinking these days?  I’ll be watching to see if this gentle giant makes any moves that can rival thier kool-aid-drinking-all-in-pot-committed competitor.
  3. Government Clouds:  The GSA announced a major IaaS initiative announcing a schedule of vendors that could be purchased from their schedule.  But will these IaaS vendors truly make any money this way?  I’m not so sure.  My personal opinion is that the money is at a different level of the Public Sector.  Can’t wait to see!
  4. Hypervisor Competition:  KVM is rocketing up the relevance chart.  No doubt.  I’ll be watching to see how VMware plans to keep it’s toe-hold on the hypervisor market as IaaS enablement begins to drive more and more purchasing decisions.
  5. Network Providers:  The accelerated adoption of cloud services will put a big piece of the pie squarely in the hands of the network operators.  I will be watching to see how Network operators jockey to position themselves.  I don’t think it is a foregone conclusion that operators will follow the lead of companies like BT and DT.
  6. Disclosure Watch:  As more and more private sector orgs make the move to the cloud, the greater the potential that something somewhere is going to go wrong.  I will be keeping a watchful eye on key disclosures and cloud failures which could dramatically stunt the industry’s pace of growth.

6fusion’s first webinar of our 2011 series called: “Make your 2011 New Year’s cloud Resolution Now”. I’ll be elaborating on some of these points and drilling down into how service providers can drive new business to kick the session off. Come join the discussion!

PR: New Kids on Campus – 6fusion Partners with NC State University

Raleigh, NC – November 11, 2010 – 6fusion, a company that has developed a system to take control of third party computing resources and create a single utility to meet the needs of the IT Service channel, is the latest company to become a partner on NC State University’s Centennial Campus.

The company is occupying space in the Venture IV building on the research park and technology campus.

“We are delighted to have 6fusion on campus,” said Dennis Kekas, associate vice chancellor of the Centennial Partnership office. “With its background in cloud computing and our research in that area, we think they are an ideal partner going forward.”

6fusion has developed an algorithm that radically simplifies the metering, consumption and billing of compute resources, called the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). The company also has developed a platform called UC6, which provides a single pane-of-glass user interface for customers to dynamically provision cloud workloads internal or external to their organization.

“We spent a considerable amount of time with the team at Centennial Campus after we completed our relocation to the Research Triangle,” said John Cowan, CEO of 6fusion. “Centennial Campus is not only an exciting, intellectually stimulating place to locate an entrepreneurial venture – it’s also a unique venue that allows us to partner on research and development facilities in a campus atmosphere that is more than just office space.”

6fusion makes iNode computing power available exclusively through IT service providers, independent software vendors and managed service providers. The company uses iNodes to build and launch ‘cloud’ based services to its user communities and customers worldwide. The company bridges the gap between supply and demand of utility computing resources with the company’s software technology called UC6. UC6 is a single console that handles all of the metering and billing of the “infrastructure” and deployment and control of customer “applications.”

In addition to the corporate relocation, 6fusion has also partnered with NC State’s Institute for Next Generation IT Systems (ITng) to develop collaborative research initiatives. ITng is also located on Centennial Campus.

“ITng is a perfect fit for 6fusion’s long term R&D program,” said 6fusion co-founder and CTO Delano Seymour.

6fusion Raises $3 Million Round of Financing, Relocates to North Carolina

DURHAM, NC – August 23, 2010 – 6fusion, a company that has developed a system to take control of third party computing resources and create a single utility to meet the needs of the IT Service channel announced today that it has raised a $3 million round of venture capital financing. In concert with funding, the company has moved its headquarters to the Research Triangle region of North Carolina.

The $3 million round, which is the company’s first institutional financing, was led by Intersouth Partners, and will be used to add to its senior executive team and expand research and development as the company continues to scale. “6fusion is growing at a fierce pace,” said John Cowan, co-founder and CEO of 6fusion. “Intersouth is an important part of our future and will be a crucial partner in helping to enable our success in what has become a quickly evolving industry.”

6fusion has developed an algorithm that radically simplifies the metering, consumption and billing of compute resources, called the Workload Allocation Cube (WAC). The WAC is the most granular and universal metric for metering and delivering Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). The company also has developed a platform called UC6, which provides a single pane of glass user interface for customers to dynamically provision cloud workloads internal or external to their organization.

Katrin Burt and Mitch Mumma of Intersouth will join the company’s Board of Directors. “IT managers and service providers are seeking an efficient and simple cloud strategy – one that can allow for the scaling up and down of cloud resources while maximizing ROI,” said Katrin Burt, a partner with Intersouth Partners. “6fusion allows partners and customers to access their resources and manage them from anywhere in the world in a seamless, unified fashion.”¬¬

The company will be temporarily housed at Intersouth’s offices in Durham, North Carolina until it finalizes its new headquarters location.

6fusion considered every major market before deciding to relocate the company to Research Triangle Park. “The Research Triangle has a rich history of strong infrastructure development and a cadre of growing companies, which makes it an exciting place to locate our company,” said Cowan. “As cloud computing continues to redefine IT delivery, we look forward to playing an important role in establishing the Research Triangle as a key location for the industry.”

About 6fusion
6fusion is a new venture created by a group of IT professionals to help other IT and telecommunications service providers enter and adapt to the new and profitable world of managed or hosted technology services by co-creating value and providing a single Utility Computing platform from which they can build, launch and license profitable long-term revenue initiatives. 6fusion’s unique, patent-pending technology creates a single unit of measurement for calculating and billing x86 computing consumption for any software application run on any hardware platform. Through a combination of technology, investments and partnerships with world class data centers, 6fusion provides unprecedented ROI and time to market for VARs, MSPs, SaaS Providers, ISPs, ISVs and end customers.

Contact
John Cowan, CEO
6fusion
jcowan@6fusion.com
919.917.5150

Suzanne Cantando
Intersouth Partners
suzanne@intersouth.com
919.493.6640, ext. 108

6fusion’s John Cowan to Present at Third Annual Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference

Dallas, TX May 3, 2009 — 6fusion, a pioneer in the development of pure-play utility computing systems and software for the IT Channel, announced today that Managing Director and company founder, John Cowan, will present at the 2009 Ingram Micro Seismic Partner Conference, which takes place May 4th through May 6th in Dallas, TX.

Cowan’s keynote presentation, “Get Plugged Into Your Future,” will explore how Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and IT solution providers can use utility computing to build a profitable and innovative IT services business in the cloud, and how this technology can deliver more robust solutions at a lower cost to their customers. In addition, Cowan will discuss the impact and evolution of cloud computing and how utility computing will fundamentally change the way IT services are delivered and consumed in the business world.

“Utility computing is defining the future of IT services and changing how businesses and consumers market, sell, support and use IT computing power,” says Cowan. “The cloud computing innovations we are seeing today represent the tip of the iceberg for delivering an easier and more cost effective solution. The innovation behind utility computing will take the cloud to a new level of sophistication and scalability, bringing a more simplified, secure and affordable means of deploying new technologies and applications to market.”

Cowan’s presentation will also outline the key success factors for using utility computing, as well as operational best practices for MSPs to consider as more IT solutions migrate off premise and into the cloud.

The Ingram Micro 2009 Seismic Partner Conference, “Make Your Mark,” brings together more than 300 MSPs, leaders and influencers within the IT industry to engage in candid business discussions, share best practices and explore high-impact IT service trends. As a presenter, 6fusion will lend its expertise on how IT channel partners can successfully navigate and deploy the hundreds of cloud-based computing solutions emerging, such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) – all of which promise compelling value propositions and business benefits.

Launched in the US market in Jan. 2009, 6fusion’s technology federates independent data centers and makes the collective available compute power available for use by traditional IT service providers, MSPs and ISV’s and their customers. Using 6fusion’s software, called UC6, channel partners can track computing consumption in real time and perform historical reporting functions. In addition, UC6 agents can be deployed to physical or virtual servers located on premise with no overhead to instantly determine the projected cloud computing costs.
In support of its channel partners’ success, 6fusion has also developed training and support exclusively for the IT channel. These resources work to eliminate the risk and uncertainty of utility computing and enable a viable new business alternative for MSPs to adopt and use in today’s challenging marketplace.

“We have made the cost of complex computing as easy to predict and understand as an everyday electricity bill, which means we are uniquely positioned to enable channel partners to help their clients realize the true benefits of cloud computing,” concludes Cowan. “We’re thrilled to share our insight with Ingram Micro’s Seismic Partners and look forward to a great event.”