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12/8/2008
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RightScale's Cloud Outlook Is Upbeat Despite The Recession

It's unclear exactly how cloud computing will fare during the recession, but RightScale CEO Michael Crandell has a rosy outlook. That prognostication appears deserved for now: the cloud management startup just raised an additional $13 million.

It's unclear exactly how cloud computing will fare during the recession, but RightScale CEO Michael Crandell has a rosy outlook. That prognostication appears deserved for now: the cloud management startup just raised an additional $13 million."Cloud computing promises to be resilient," Crandell said in an interview. "You pay as you go for on-demand resources as opposed to up front. It's just less expensive if you look at straight, server to server type comparisons, and you're just paying for what you need."

After bringing in $4.5 million from Benchmark Capital in its initial round of funding last April, RightScale announced Monday that it had raised an additional $13 million from Benchmark and London-based Index Ventures.

Crandell said the company hadn't initially even seen additional funds as necessary, but there was enough interest coming in from venture capitalists and customers that RightScale decided to secure some more cash. "This is a bright spot in an otherwise dreary economic environment," he said.

Management looks to be one of the key areas of importance to the cloud, as my colleague John Foley writes in our cover article, "A How-To Guide To Cloud Computing," in this week's InformationWeek. As businesses and Web software start-ups begin using services from different cloud service providers such as Amazon and Salesforce.com, they'll need to manage the integration, scaling and implementation of their cloud environments.

RightScale, best known for managing Amazon Web services, envisions growing into a management platform that operates "agnostically" across different clouds and SaaS apps. Right now, the company's SaaS management offerings can automatically scale cloud applications, remediate server failures, move apps from one cloud environment to another, and come with pre-packaged components like a MySQL database packaged to run in the cloud. RightScale supports Amazon, GoGrid, and FlexiScale and will soon support Rackspace's recently announced cloud platform.

In coming months, RightScale will focus on developing relationships that help it build out an ecosystem of software developers building "templates" for servers that run in the cloud, ISVs building their own SaaS apps who want to look to RightScale for management, and cloud providers. RightScale is also working to figure out how it can be relevant in "hybrid" situations where an app leverages both on-premises equipment and cloud services. "We're in discussions with more cloud providers than we can shake a stick at," Crandell said. No word if any of those providers is Microsoft or Salesforce.com, two glaring omissions to RightScale's list of supported platforms.

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