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OnApp: The most popular Cloud platform you've probably never heard of

"OnApp is everywhere... they've been wildly successful but nobody really knows about them"

For a company that has powered 2,000 Clouds with more than 500 service providers in 40 countries, London-based OnApp has largely flown under the radar of industry watchers. But that could be changing for OnApp, which has built up an impressive Cloud management platform, complete with an integrated content delivery network and a new storage-area network that it released today in the 3.0 version of its product.

"OnApp is everywhere... they've been wildly successful but nobody really knows about them," says Carl Brooks, an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Cloud market research analyst at 451 Research.

But the company's sizeable deployment base should increasingly get OnApp mentioned in the same breath as big name vendors like VMware and its vCloud Director, or even open source projects like OpenStack and CloudStack.

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OnApp, which released its first products in 2010 as a platform for service providers to spin up an IaaS Cloud offering to customers, has a simple value proposition for customers: If you have a set of servers that you want to turn into an IaaS offering, then install the OnApp software. It includes orchestration management, billing capabilities as well as pre-integrated load balancing, firewalling and management tools.

OnApp Chief Commercial Officer Kortsen Metreweli calls it a "Cloud business in a box," with OnApp licensing its software for $10/hypervisor core/month.

Today, OnApp filled what 451's Brooks says was one of the only holes in the company's product by introducing an integrated storage service.

OnApp Storage - released in beta last year but made generally available this week - is a distributed SAN, allowing OnApp users to pool capacity of either traditional hard disks or solid state drives (SSD). OnApp's VM-aware offering speeds performance by ensuring that data resides on the same server as the application that needs it. OnApp Storage is meant to supplant, or integrate with SANs from providers like EMC or NetApp, and is now included as part of the OnApp platform.

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One of the most unique aspects of OnApp's platform is its integrated CDN. OnApp allows service providers access to a CDN with 150 points of presence around the globe. This allows service providers who are offering an IaaS to also offer a CDN and locally-hosted presence option. As a comparison, Amazon Web Service's CDN has 39 points of presence, OnApp says. In Version 3.0, OnApp has expanded the capabilities of its CDN to support video streaming, too. OnApp customers contribute excess capacity in their data centers to OnApp's CDN network and in return have access to the company's global CDN marketplace.

In addition to the new SAN and expanded CDN capabilities, OnApp 3.0 can now also be used to manage VMware-virtualized machines, in addition to just managing Xen and Kernel Virtual Machine hypervisors. It also includes a rapid onboarding process named CloudBoot. Metreweli says OnApp can be used to configure an IaaS Cloud in minutes through the software's new graphical user interface.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers Cloud computing and social collaboration. He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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More about: Amazon, EMC, Google, Microsoft, NetApp, NetApp, Rackspace, VMware
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