Cloud service provider Platform9, has gained the support of RedPoint Ventures in a funding bid worth $4.5 million. The finance will help Platform9 to pursue its goal of improving the private cloud users’ experience and to “accelerate our roadmap”, says the firm’s CEO Sirish Raghuram. The funding will allow the company to expand its product feature set and enable it to offer support for multiple hypervisors. It offers a cloud service that enables businesses to manage their existing virtualised infrastructure and it will become available in late 2014.

With regards to the prospects of the company, he says it will be around for years. His confidence in Platform9’s offering and future founded on the interest customers have shown in Platform9’s service, which has surpassed the firm’s expectations. This interest has translated into a number of requests to beta test the service, and many customers are already beta testing it because they are looking for more efficient ways to manage their own IT infrastructure. KVM is, for example, beta testing with Platform9 at the moment.

Power of SaaS

Platform9 wishes to bring the power of software-as-a-service to the private cloud. Raghuram explains what his company means by this turn of phrase: “Platform9 is a cloud service that manages private, on-premise virtualised infrastructure and it transforms them into private cloud and this hasn’t been done before.” With this service its customers no longer need to focus on deploying, configuring upgrading and monitoring their management software. Instead they will have the ability to concentrate on using their infrastructure because Platform9 provides the management service of Infrastructure-as-a-service, only requiring customers to just plug in their servers.

“The service runs outside of the customers’ environment and software agents are using to establish a connection”, says the company’s head of product Madhura Maskasky. She says that customers can start small and grow to a certain size before they look at their public cloud deployment, arguing that customers could run it cheaper with a private cloud infrastructure. In her words Platform9’s ambition is to offer the simplicity of Amazon in terms of user experience.

Simplest model

“Customers really like the fact that Platform9 is the simplest model for running their private clouds because the burden of monitoring issues isn’t placed upon them”, says Raghuram. In contrast in traditional IT world they’d have to do their own monitor, know when there is a problem and then they’d have to work with their disparate software vendors. This traditional approach places too much of a burden on IT administrators, but today there is more choice.

In the past they may have been only able to select one flavour of virtualisation. Today things have changed in his view because customers aren’t “wed to any particular virtualisation system; they will have the freedom to mix and match amongst KVM, Docker and VMWare vSphere.” Docker Containers, for example, works well with light workloads such as Linux web services. He adds that VMWare is good for production workloads, while KVM is useful for testing and development workloads. For these reasons Platform9 is heterogeneous, allowing for a high level of diversity.

Future plans

Over the next 12 months the company wants to expand beyond its existing 12 customers, each of whom are beta testing the service at the moment, by improving the product to enable it to scale towards meeting the demands and needs of a larger customer base. “We aim to have 100 customers by the end of 2015 and 1,000 customers by the end of 2016,” concludes Raghuram.

Most of the new funding will be invested in achieving this goal. RedPoint Ventures Partner Satish Dharmaraj has joined Platform9’s board to help Platform9’s team in their bid for future success by adding experience, expertise and market knowledge to the company’s strategic toolkit. RedPoint Ventures’ backing comes at time when it feels that the private cloud market is right for disruption, meaning that with Platform9 their will no longer be a need to manage a multitude of management software in a company with say 80 installations as only one is now required.

By Graham Jarvis