Cloudkick, a startup that delivers cloud server management software, on Friday rolled out a feature that allows customers to hop between providers---Rackspace, Amazon EC2, Microsoft and others---based on price.
At its launch March 16 Cloudkick's service primarily managed Amazon Web Services accounts. In a demonstration at the Under the Radar conference Cloudkick highlighted a feature that moved a virtual machine from EC2 to Rackspace in a few minutes.
Cloudkick's software is now designed to offer a dashboard so customers can migrate to any cloud provider. "We want people to roll their own Google" was the tagline from CEO Alex Polvi, one of the company's founders. Polvi's pitch revolved around being the first demonstration of cloud interoperability.
But the key question, which came from Rackspace president Lew Moorman, was this: Does Cloudkick want to be a server provisioning company or a market maker?
The answer: Cloudkick's Polvi said the company is pursuing both.And here's the conundrum. I see software from Cloudkick that could be immensely valuable yet ultimately hard to defend. If you can provision cloud providers on the fly you can see how the next generation of system admins would be into it. However, what Cloudkick demonstrated is likely to be replicated by larger companies.
That leaves using Cloudkick as a cloud provider marketplace middleman. If Cloudkick can navigate providers, instantly get the best rates and then provision accordingly the return on investment becomes obvious. Double bonus if it's all automated in a way where some algorithm finds the best prices and navigates cloud providers without user intervention.
It's way too early for Cloudkick to veer one way or the other---it is 40 days old---but the future is probably more eBay-ish cloud marketplace middleman than provisioning servers through a browser. Relative to the other presentations at the cloud management panel at Under the Radar---enStratus and Tap In Systems were much more enterprise focused---Cloudkick is raw, but the possibilities are interesting.
Here's the presentation: