These industry leaders helped propel cloud computing to the forefront of technology innovation.
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Michael Crandell is the co-founder and CEO of Rightscale. He is a thinker and entrepreneur, equally comfortable in a programmer's t-shirt, which he frequently wears while engaging customers at RightScale's user group meetings, or wearing the Silicon Valley's executive uniform of a dark blue suit and no tie. He has defined a new market -- online cloud management -- and is determined to do it better than any single cloud vendor.
Crandell created in 2006 what is now a powerhouse service that sits at the crossroads of cloud computing, with users paying a fee to use the RightScale hub to gain the flexibility and ability to move between dissimilar clouds. The RightScale system knows enough about the machine images needed by each provider that it can move a workload that is first run in Amazon Web Services out to a VMware partner cloud, then to Rackspace and back to Amazon, if the customer chooses. Rightscale simplified migration into the cloud with its Server Template selections, with users needing to bother with few of the details.
Crandell from an early stage has been a frequent speaker at cloud events, showing a strong sense of humor. He's been outspoken on the need for hybrid cloud when others were reluctant to venture forth, and he's been an advocate of maintaining mobility between clouds as a way to avoid lock-in. For the value it's brought to cloud computing, Rightscale was named by the World Economic Forum a 2013 technology pioneer "committed to improving the state of the world."
Crandell maintained a cutting edge team to build the company that includes co-founders CTO Thorsten Von Eicken, a former professor of computer science from Cornell University; and VP of engineering Rafael Saavedra. The RightScale platform, among other things, serves as the management interface for online-gaming company Zynga, which has 75 million users at peaks connecting to their activities through Rightscale.
In February, Rightscale became the first management platform other than Google to support and manage the Google Compute Engine.
Sean O'Toole, the founder of ForeclosureRadar, said Crandell and RightScale helped his company build a scalable Web platform in just a few weeks "despite no prior experience with Amazon's EC2. We could not have done it without them."
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