Flexiant Acquires Multi-Cloud Management Technology Tapp

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Flexiant announced on Wednesday that it has acquired the Tapp multi-cloud management technology and business from Spanish cloud company Besol Sl.

The cash and stock acquisition includes the migration of technology, staff and customers (including Telefonica’s hosting division, Acens) to Flexiant.

Tapp offers a management layer between server infrastructure and the underlying cloud providers, offering a provider-independent way to configure and manage cloud servers. Flexiant will integrate the Tapp technology into its cloud management platform, Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator.

Flexiant says that this acquisition will help enable managed service providers and others to manage workloads across multiple cloud vendors and geographies. Flexiant sees the MSP market as under-served, and a big opportunity considering there are around 30,000 MSPs in the US alone, Flexiant CEO George Knox says.

“One of the problems we’ve seen with the MSP market is people think it’s dying and going away,” Knox says in an interview with the WHIR. “Because they’ve traditionally been seen as the middleman…a lot of people think that as cloud comes in they are going to be cut out of the loop, and that people are going to go direct to the hosters or service providers. We think the world is always going to have multiple vendors and multiple technologies and we believe that’s going to be the same for cloud providers.”

“We think instead of the MSP becoming less relevant they will actually become even more relevant because they’re the ones who have the existing customer relationship,” he says.

Flexiant will launch a new set of cloud services using Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator and Tapp in summer 2014. The initial product will be SaaS-based (Tapp also has an on-premise product) and aimed at the MSP market. MSPs will be able to white-label the product, and their customers will be able to use it to manage multiple clouds whether they be Amazon, Rackspace, Azure or others.

“Why would a small hoster want multi-cloud capabilities? He might think that it will take business away from him but in fact it’s actually a bigger opportunity to take business away from Amazon,” Knox says. “The other opportunity is in capacity planning. They’ve got their own limited infrastructure and all of the sudden they want to scale beyond their infrastructure, they can burst to an external service provider.”

Knox says that Tapp offers “tremendous DNS capabilities, load-balancing as a service, and monitoring using New Relic” as well as application auto-scaling. “Most auto-scaling is done at the virtual machine level.  What this does is it will actually monitor the application user experience and if the user is seeing a slowdown it will auto-scale…it’s much more focused on the experience that the user has with the application.”

Flexiant enforced its focus on service providers with its partnership announcement earlier this year with Parallels. The partnership helped extend its reach and its salesforce, with Parallels agreeing to resell the Flexiant Cloud Orchestrator solution.

“We think [Tapp] is a great fit in where Flexiant works because we are only focused on the service provider market. We don’t want to compete with our customers,” Knox says.

Tapp also includes the use of Chef for application blueprinting. This feature allows application blueprints to be deployed on multiple clouds without having to start from scratch each time.

According to Knox, aside from acquiring a complementary technology that helps Flexiant serve MSPs, the developer community will also benefit from its Tapp acquisition. Flexiant will bring on Tapp’s dozen or so staff who are mostly developers as well.

“If we tried to do this ourselves it would have taken us probably at least two years,” Knox says.

“I think it’s fair to say that a lot of hosters don’t really traditionally focus on that market,” he says. “What we’re doing with this acquisition is we believe that we are going to add a platform that will have more appeal to that developer community.”

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