Welcome!

Cloud Expo Authors: Peter Silva, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Jnan Dash, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Java, SOA & WOA, .NET, Virtualization, Web 2.0

Cloud Expo: Article

GreenButton Uses Multiple Clouds for Big Compute

The company is targeting financial services, media and entertainment, aerospace, oil and gas, and biotech

The inspiration for GreenButton was the devilishly complicated battle scene in the 2003 movie "The Lord of the Rings" that its founder Scott Houston pulled together in two weeks for director Peter Jackson against all odds. It was accomplished in record time with thousands of servers and little sleep.

Fade to today. The GreenButton start-up claims its newfangled Cloud Fabric is the first server solution to let users - both the enterprise and service providers - deploy, manage and run compute-intensive applications in either private or public clouds or, for that matter, in multiple multi-tenant clouds.

It's talking about what it calls "Big Compute," basically deploying as much supplementary processing power as the cloud can provide. Thousands of cores spun up in 20-30 minutes at a fraction of the usual cost.

An SGI and Compaq veteran, Houston says, "Cloud computing has been focused on running general-type applications with low memory and CPU requirements. We believe the future of cloud computing is to bring the applications that most people have said ‘will never run in the cloud' to the cloud."

He claims to be seeing exceptional growth and adoption of his widgetry among High Performance Computing and technical computing users looking for a highly scalable, robust, cost-effective solution.

The company is targeting financial services, media and entertainment, aerospace, oil and gas, and biotech. It has partnerships with Pixar, SAP and some ISVs.

Enterprises are meant to run Cloud Fabric to manage workloads in their private clouds and then burst to public clouds when needed.

Only approved jobs are sent to the public cloud and only when on-premise capacity is exhausted. The job is matched to the cloud with the right SLA and price. The architecture is designed so the cloud handles failures and transient error conditions. Porting between clouds is supposed to be easy.

Apparently any application that can scale across multiple nodes can make use of GreenButton including highly parallel workloads, Big Data analysis and Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications.

The company says it's currently running rendering, animation, simulation, bioinformatics, audio/video indexing and captioning, geological analysis and Monte Carlo computations.

This Cloud Fabric stuff is also supposed to let service providers integrate and sell the solution to their ISV and enterprise customers.

They can run the platform on their own cloud infrastructure or on a public platform like Amazon, Windows Azure, VMware vCloud or Dell Cloud Services. OpenStack support is in the works. GreenButton was named Microsoft's Global Cloud Partner last year.

According to Dell cloud evangelist Stephen Spector, "GreenButton has earned the reputation as the best provider of HPC and on-demand computing solutions in the business. With Cloud Fabric, we are able to differentiate our cloud offering and drive utilization, giving our customers a proven Software-as-a-Service solution to help them get the most out of the cloud with the least amount of effort. Cutting time-to-market at a fraction of the cost is invaluable to all."

The company also offers a hosted managed service where it runs GreenButton in one or more public clouds for ISVs that don't have their own infrastructure but want to market a cloud-based service that their customers can take advantage of with the push of a button.

The New Zealand cloudbursting start-up is hawking a centralized multi-cloud management toolkit and SDK called GreenButton Mission Control.

It includes a development emulator to enable workloads and commercial features around billing, reporting and chargeback for granular visibility into cloud use and costs. The emulator is used to test and verify application integration prior to cloud deployment.

It also includes data synchronization tools for the cloud called GreenButton CloudSync, a seamless way to migrate data iteratively into the cloud as well as define custom data extraction for integration with other data sources that can automatically synchronize nominated files with the cloud. (Got that?)

Files can be as big as can be sensibly uploaded and downloaded to and from the cloud over the Internet. If they're so big that it's impractical to send them over the Internet, a physical disk can be shipped to the cloud provider to be uploaded or downloaded directly.

Only owners of the files uploaded to GreenButton can access them or the results of their job. After a job runs, GreenButton wipes the data from that compute node before it's allowed to process another job. All communication with GreenButton is secured using SSL so files and jobs can't be intercepted on the wire.

GreenButton services are exposed to clients via Web Services accessible from Windows, Mac OS X and Linux desktops and, in the rare case mobile devices complements of an integrated green button. Ditto desktop applications like Numerix and Deep Exploration. A green button can also be plugged into Office apps.

The GreenButton Q&A says its platform tracks the number of milliseconds that end customers use a third-party application and charges this aggregated time to the user's GreenButton account. It's an hourly rate and includes the compute and storage costs, GreenButton's management fee, and the software license.

Usage reports can be downloaded from Mission Control, with information about usage at the organizational, departmental and individual level. It provides this data as CSV files so they can be imported into Excel or some other financial tool and compared against budgeted numbers. Users can also get an itemized bill to drill down into how individual applications and jobs are tracking against budget.

GreenButton prices its platform-agnostic widgetry by asking would-be users how much time they've got and what they've willing to pay. Figure a company will pay $75,000 along with a $7,500 fee for each app. The integration work should probably take no more than a couple of weeks.

The company is working on angel investments and a $4 million A/B round from a couple of New Zealand VCs. It has offices in Seattle and San Jose along with East Coast ambitions and an unidentified telco account in Europe.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Cloud Expo Breaking News
Until recently, many organizations required specialized departments to perform mapping and geospatial analysis, and they used Esri on-premise solutions for that work. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dave Peters, author of the Esri Press book Building a GIS, System Architecture Design Strategies for Managers, will discuss how Esri has successfully included the cloud as a fully integrated SaaS expansion of the ArcGIS mapping platform. Organizations that have incorporated Esri cloud-based applications and content within their business models are reaping huge benefits by directly leveraging cloud-based mapping and analysis capabilities within their existing enterprise investments. The ArcGIS mapping platform includes cloud-based content management and information resources to more widely, efficiently, and affordably deliver real-time actionable information and analysis capabilities to your organization.
In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Hinkle, Senior Director, Open Source Solutions at Citrix Systems Inc., will provide overview of the open source software that can be used to deploy and manage a cloud computing environment. He will include information on storage, networking(e.g., OpenDaylight) and compute virtualization (Xen, KVM, LXC) and the orchestration(Apache CloudStack, OpenStack) of the three to build their own cloud services. Speaker Bio: Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Source Solutions, at Citrix Systems Inc. He joined Citrix as a result of their July 2011 acquisition of Cloud.com where he was their Vice President of Community. He is currently responsible for Citrix open source efforts around the open source cloud computing platform, Apache CloudStack and the Xen Hypervisor. Previously he was the VP of Community at Zenoss Inc., a producer of the open source application, server, and network management software, where he grew the Zenoss Core project to over 10...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mac Devine, Distinguished Engineer at IBM, will discuss bringing these three elements together via Systems of Discover.
As more applications and services move "to the cloud" (public or on-premise) cloud environments are increasingly adopting and building out traditional enterprise features. This in turn is enabling and encouraging cloud adoption from enterprise users. In many ways the definition is blurring as features like continuous operation, geo-distribution or on-demand capacity become the norm. NuoDB is involved in both building enterprise software and using enterprise cloud capabilities. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Seth Proctor, CTO at NuoDB, Inc., will discuss the experiences from building, deploying and using enterprise services and suggest some ways to approach moving enterprise applications into a cloud model.
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Derek Tumulak, Vice President of Product Management at Vormetric, will discuss how to address data security in cloud and Big Data environments so that your organization isn’t next week’s data breach headline.
The cloud is everywhere and growing, and with it SaaS has become an accepted means for software delivery. SaaS is more than just a technology, it is a thriving business model estimated to be worth around $53 billion dollars by 2015, according to IDC. The question is – how do you build and scale a profitable SaaS business model? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Jason Cumberland, Vice President, SaaS Solutions at Dimension Data, will give the audience an understanding of common mistakes businesses make when transitioning to SaaS; how to avoid them; and how to build a profitable and scalable SaaS business.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual Controller™ Technology (SVCT) to eliminate the I/O blender effect and accelerate applications Gridstore delivers vmOptimized™ Storage that self-optimizes to each application or VM across both virtual and physical environments. Leveraging a grid architecture, Gridstore delivers the first end-to-end storage QoS to ensure the most important App or VM performance is never compromised. The storage grid, that uses Gridstore’s performance optimized nodes or capacity optimized nodes, starts with as few a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Solgenia, the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Solgenia is the global market leader in Cloud Collaboration and Cloud Infrastructure software solutions. Designed to “Bridge the Gap” between personal and professional social, mobile and cloud user experiences, our solutions help large and medium-sized organizations dramatically improve productivity, reduce collaboration costs, and increase the overall enterprise value by bringing collaboration and infrastructure solutions to the cloud.
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations.
Enterprises require the performance, agility and on-demand access of the public cloud, and the management, security and compatibility of the private cloud. The solution? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Simone Brunozzi, VP and Chief Technologist(global role) for VMware, will explore how to unlock the power of the hybrid cloud and the steps to get there. He'll discuss the challenges that conventional approaches to both public and private cloud computing, and outline the tough decisions that must be made to accelerate the journey to the hybrid cloud. As part of the transition, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model will enable enterprise IT to build services beyond their data center while owning what gets moved, when to move it, and for how long. IT can then move forward on what matters most to the organization that it supports – availability, agility and efficiency.
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
The 15th International Cloud Expo has just expanded its conference program, to bring together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC at one location. Cloud Expo is the single show where delegates and technology vendors can meet to experience and discuss the entire world of the cloud. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to learn about the latest technology developments and solutions.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare Corporation, a leading enabler of smart connected systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's Internet of @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Bsquare is a global leader of embedded software solutions. We enable smart connected systems at the device level and beyond that millions use every day and provide actionable data solutions for the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market. We empower our world-class customers with our products, services and solutions to achieve innovation and success.
SYS-CON Events announced today that NuoDB, Inc., the leader in webscale distributed database technology, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NuoDB was launched in 2010 by industry-renowned database architect Jim Starkey and accomplished software CEO Barry Morris to deliver a webscale distributed database management system that is specifically designed for the cloud and the modern datacenter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable hybrid cloud storage solutions. Cloudian actively partners with leading cloud computing environments including Amazon Web Services, Citrix Cloud Platform, Apache CloudStack, OpenStack and the vast ecosystem of S3 compatible tools and applications. Cloudian's customers include Vodafone, Nextel, NTT, Nifty, and LunaCloud. The company has additional offices in China and Japan.