Joyent gets $85m to take on Amazon in cloud

The investor funding will allow Joyent to expand its cloud datacentres to across the world and help boost its service provider-targeted software, heightening its competition with Amazon Web Services

Joyent, a provider of software and distributed infrastructure, has secured almost one hundred million dollars in investor funding to help it close its datacentre gap with Amazon Web Services.

The $85m (£54m) investment, announced on Monday, will help San Francisco-based Joyent build and rent datacentre infrastructure across the world so it can offer a consistent cloud service on every continent. This puts the cloud start-up into closer competition with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which is seen by the industry as its main rival (PDF).

"This funding will enable Joyent to build out a global compute offering to assist customers in expanding consistent software, support and services to their clients," David Young, Joyent's chief executive, said in a statement. "Having worked with customers around the world, we see the demand for consistent global services regardless of how many countries our customers are operating in."

The benefit of having datacentres on different continents is that it makes it easier for Joyent's cloud-computing customers to conform to local data legislation and to create global applications with predictable latencies from wherever they are accessed. AWS has so far built datacentres in eight regions across the world, the most recent in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Joyent does not disclose the locations of all of its datacentres, but has four in the US, an undisclosed number in China and has planned facilities in Europe and Canada (PDF).


Joyent operates a rentable infrastructure cloud called JoyentCloud. Like AWS, it lets people rent general-purpose virtual machines to host and run applications. Customers can also access a range of purpose-built computers that are tweaked for application frameworks such as MongoDB and Node.js. JoyentCloud customers include LinkedIn and social game developer Kabam, according to the company's website.

In a sign Joyent sees itself as a contender against AWS, it has posted a rental price comparison on its website in which it aims to demonstrate its charges are the same or better than those of AWS. For example, it charges $0.36 an hour for a large instance with 8GB of storage, compared with $0.48 an hour for 7.5GB from AWS.

Joyent targets service providers with its SmartDatacenter software. This lets companies with datacentres, such as telecommunications businesses, offer cloud services built on Joyent's software. One of the investors in the latest funding round was Telefónica Digital, which said it plans to use the technology to "enhance" Telefónica's own cloud products. The other main investor was Weather Investment II, which owns a 20-percent stake in Vimpelcom, a large mobile telecommunications group with a heavy presence in Russia.

Unlike AWS, which is mainly known for its infrastructre-as-a-service technology, Joyent also operates platform-as-a-service under the name Smart Platform. This puts it into competition with services like Google App Engine, Windows Azure and Heroku, which is built on top of AWS.

Get the latest technology news and analysis, blogs and reviews delivered directly to your inbox with ZDNet UK's newsletters.