Servers As A Service
What's an elastic server? CohesiveFT, one of the newcomers to the cloud computing market, describes it as a custom-configured, on-demand virtual server.
CohesiveFT (short for Cohesive Flexible Technologies) is aiming its server as a service at companies that aren't ready to run all of their IT operations in the cloud, but that want to get started on a smaller scale. CTO Patrick Kerpan refers to that as "cloud intent."
CohesiveFT makes it easy to conduct that first enterprise experiment in the cloud. On its Web site, users go through a step-by-step configuration process that's akin to Dell.com's configuration manager, where a customer moves a PC to manufacturing after choosing operating system, hard drive, and memory. There's even a Build Now button that prompts the Elastic Server "factory" to generate a custom server in a few minutes.
CohesiveFT's virtual servers run Debian Linux. In the coming months, the company plans to offer Ubuntu, Red Hat Fedora Linux, and Windows Server 2008. Users can combine a variety of open source code--Apache, Tomcat, Ruby on Rails, MySQL--with the operating system. Virtual machine options include VMware ESX, Citrix XenSource, and Parallels.
The company's virtual machine building portal adds default Web services to an application, so users can add components and manage the application remotely. A manufacturing dashboard shows how many users are creating Elastic Servers, how many servers they're using, and which software bundles are most popular.
CohesiveFT originally stood for Cohesive Financial Technologies, reflecting the financial industry background of the company's senior management team. As use of virtual machines in the cloud became more broadly based, the name was changed to Flexible Technologies.
In an example of how cloud startups are working together, CohesiveFT recently partnered with Skytap to let users of its Elastic Server generator run their VMs in Skytap's Virtual Lab.