As organizations migrate to cloud-based data centers, the scalability that was originally a benefit can become a handicap, and the promise of more efficient computing becomes ethereal. Rackspace hopes to help IT admins find some peace of mind and reclaim the cloud from the chaos with the acquisition of Cloudkick.
Based in San Francisco, Cloudkick is a two-year old startup initially funded by Y Combinator. The fundamental focus of Cloudkick is to enable customers to manage and maintain all servers from a single dashboard regardless of where they are located -- scattered across the cloud or spread between the cloud and on-premise data centers.
"Until now, the cloud has been about automating hardware and making it more agile and efficient," says Lew Moorman, chief strategy officer of Rackspace. "But as cloud computing has made it easier to launch servers, companies launch a lot more of them, and use many of them inefficiently -- and even lose track of some. Cloudkick brings order to that chaos and sprawl. It takes cloud computing to a new level: into automation of the work of system administrators. In addition to providing robust cloud health information, Cloudkick enables automation around deployment and scaling. It makes cloud computing more powerful, with less expense."
In other words -- the ability to rapidly scale server capacity in the cloud can very quickly result in losing both track and control of those servers. And, for organizations that still maintain on-premise servers in addition to migrating some functions to the cloud, the role of the IT admin actually becomes more complex rather than more efficient.
The concept has caught fire. In two short years, Cloudkick has established itself with more than 1500 customers -- including household names like Mozilla and National Instruments, as well as smaller startups Fortune 500 companies. More than a million servers have been monitored and managed with Cloudkick's tools -- an average of just under 10,000 servers per month since its inception.
As companies embrace the cloud and take advantage of the ease of virtually limitless scalability, IT admins will increasingly need to turn to tools like those offered by Cloudkick to bring some sanity and order to it all.