Loudcloud turns expertise into research service

Managed services provider Loudcloud Inc. launched a set of research services Tuesday, offering to help companies, test, chose, integrate and manage their Internet technologies and operations.

Beginning with technology selection services, Loudcloud is offering to help customers analyze which Internet infrastructure technologies fit their needs and how they will affect existing operations. The company will use information obtained from customers to evaluate ways in which clients' Internet technologies can be automated and managed using Loudcloud's proprietary automation technology, Opsware.

The company is also offering research and integration services, helping customers evaluate internally created Internet infrastructure technologies and products. After having gained expertise in customers' internally created technologies it will then assume management of them, freeing clients to concentrate on their critical business operations, Loudcloud said.

Loudcloud further will provide customers access to lab facilities, where they can test the performance, interoperability and scalability of their Internet infrastructure technologies.

Loudcloud is the much-watched company created by Netscape Communications Corp. founder Marc Andreessen and former America Online Inc. executive Ben Horowitz, along with In Sik Rhee and Tim Howes.

While the company is still a new kid on the block, founded just two years ago, it has been recognized by some analysts for its Internet technology expertise. In creating its new research services, Loudcloud said that it is counting on more than 60,000 hours of real-world testing of more than 200 Internet hardware, software and networking technologies.

The launch of its research services "is very impressive," said Giga Information Group Inc. Senior Industry Analyst Joel Yaffe.

"They've built up a pretty impressive array of intellectual capital for a young company," Yaffe said, adding that packaging the company's knowledge into research services is "a shrewd move."

However, although the services will boost the company's credibility and name, they probably won't make a difference to its bottom line, Yaffe said.

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