The world needs a new technology for the hybrid cloud

OpenOcean

Why we invested in Sunlight.io by Ekaterina Almasque

When I was an investor for EMC and then Samsung from 2014 to 2019, there was already a clear focus on resolving major bottlenecks in the cloud. Data center architectures traditionally rely on storage and network infrastructure with high unpredictable latencies and low performance. In general, these architectures are complex, slow, expensive and difficult to manage, and this cannot be easily resolved by continuing to disaggregate server resources using traditional virtualisation methods.

Since then, the world has evolved. Today, new workloads such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and High-Performance Computing (HPC) are driving ever-accelerating growth in volumes of data, and overwhelmingly dominating cloud resource consumption. The HPC-as-a-Service market alone is projected to reach $10B by 2023, according to MarketsandMarkets — growth largely driven by Healthtech and Life Science applications, which we have seen the importance of in the current healthcare crisis.

Furthermore, trends like connected cars, autonomous driving, and Industry 4.0 will continue to push workloads like AI to the edge. One of the major challenges in deploying edge infrastructure is that it is not possible to take a “traditional cloud” technology stack and deploy it in an edge architecture; there are very different resource limitations, including processing power, form factor and bandwidth. At the ‘far edge’, for example, there are devices on the factory floor which need to work in harsh environmental conditions, in small enclosures and with low power. Existing approaches, some of which were developed even before the “cloud era”, are extremely inefficient or unusable in such circumstances.

Last but not least, for much of the last 15 years “cloud versus on-premise” has been a recurring theme. The discussion has now morphed into “data everywhere”, as we witness a tectonic shift to a hybrid cloud. Many traditional technologies were architected for the era of the single cloud and do not natively support hybrid, let alone edge, thus creating siloes. As a result, a one-size-fits-all enterprise strategy is not viable.

Hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) was developed to bring simplicity and software control to the deployment of enterprise applications. However, many of the early players in that space were created before the advent of edge and hybrid requirements. Even though they are racing to adapt, it is often hard to change the underlying architecture. As per Gigaom’s newest report, choosing the right HCI infrastructure remains challenging. Although HCI is becoming good at managing more applications, there is still a balancing act today for supporting both capacity-driven and latency-sensitive workloads.

What if there were no need to sacrifice high capacity for low latency and vice versa, especially when data and computation are all in a hybrid cloud environment? This is where Sunlight.io comes into play. Sunlight’s low footprint, high-throughput HCI stack provides distributed storage with equal to bare-metal performance for large amounts of data, with all the benefits of virtualisation and hyperconvergence. It is based on a unique Hypervisor technology, which is disrupting decades of homogenous, one-size-fits-all storage and compute in the datacentre, and its breakthrough can be captured in one word: “Efficiency.”

This gives Sunlight a distinctive advantage in the emerging market of micro-datacentres, colocation and hybrid cloud. In addition, it is second to none when it comes to running workloads at the edge. Sunlight’s ability to optimise resource usage is also vital to software-as-a-service players’ profitability when facing soaring infrastructure costs as they try to minimise the ‘infrastructure costs as a percentage of revenues’ metric.

At its core, the real breakthrough of Sunlight is in efficient handling of Input/Output, the very core of the cloud bottleneck. With targeted support of NVMe storage in several layers of the stack, Sunlight can achieve more consistent performance overall. The approach was developed by Julian Chesterfield, a co-founder of Sunlight and one of the top global minds in virtualisation, having been previously an architect of Xen, the original foundation of the Amazon cloud (XenSource was acquired by Citrix). Julian was inspired in his collaboration work with ARM in a previous venture, where he researched ways to remove inefficiencies in performance of workloads running on ARM-based servers. Luckily for Sunlight, it looks like the world is now moving towards ARM (and other hardware accelerators such as GPUs), with both Apple and Amazon announcing their move to ARM processors.

A series of performance benchmarks have been conducted to compare the performance of MariaDB’s database (OpenOcean’s portfolio company) running on Sunlight in AWS vs natively on an AWS instance. The tests demonstrate that with 8 cores allocated to the instance, Sunlight can achieve ​65% higher performance at ​40%​ of the cost. Access latency is measured at ​68%​ lower than the standard AWS instances. The resulting IOPS (input/output operations per second) in Sunlight’s case are astonishing.

Although our first reaction when we met Sunlight was “why would we need another virtualisation player?”, we are now convinced that Sunlight is the platform enabler we were looking for to finally make a cloud strategy more viable for both data centres and enterprises. We already see benefits for Splunk and other analytics workloads and we look forward to seeing more customers enjoying the benefits of Sunlight, both for delivering highly performant services and maximising Return on Investment.

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IronNet Launches Premium Professional Services Offerings in AWS Marketplace

C5 Capital

News provided by IronNet-

IronNet Cybersecurity, a leader in Network Detection and Response and Collective Defense, announced today that it is one of the first Amazon Web Services (AWS) independent software vendors to offer its professional services in AWS Marketplace.

AWS customers can now find and purchase Red Team, Hunt, and Security Advisory services from IronNet in AWS Marketplace, a curated digital catalog of software, data, and services that makes it easy to find, test, buy, and deploy software and data products that run on AWS. IronNet offers AWS customers the ability to easily quote and contract services in AWS Marketplace that help customers assess their cloud and network security. Within AWS Marketplace, AWS customers can also explore IronNet’s security solutions, which help protect enterprises against the most critical cyber threats targeting industries today. See IronNet’s AWS Marketplace listing for more information.

As organizations migrate to the cloud, they are looking for best-in-class security capabilities and professional services, like those offered by IronNet. With professional services from IronNet available in AWS Marketplace, customers have a simplified way to purchase and be billed for both software and related services in a centralized place. Customers can further streamline their purchase of software with standard contract terms to simplify and accelerate procurement cycles.

“IronNet is honored to participate in this launch and to offer our professional services through AWS Marketplace,” said IronNet co-CEO Bill Welch. “Our team is dedicated to helping companies evaluate their overall cybersecurity posture and develop customized strategies to enhance their defenses with our Network Detection and Response and Collective Defense capabilities. We’re pleased to be able to make it as easy as possible for AWS customers to obtain these critical services and software from one centralized location, in AWS Marketplace.”

IronNet’s Red Team, Hunt, and Security Advisory services, among others, are led by security professionals and threat researchers who have real-world experience with nation-state cyber operations. These customer engagements deliver end-to-end security posture evaluations that enable a customer’s security team to exercise their processes and technologies against a sophisticated but benign adversary, identify new and novel threats in their networks, and discover potential gaps. IronNet works closely with the customer’s security team to help address the findings, uncover opportunities for improvement, and identify threat actors that might otherwise not have been discovered, even in networks with sophisticated security controls.

Read the full press release here >>

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Cloudbakers Goes Big on Google Cloud with a Growth Capital Investment from Sunstone Partners

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SunStone Partners

Investment to Fuel Accelerated Growth in Cloud Adoption, Infrastructure, Data Analytics & Managed Services

CHICAGO, IL, (October 20, 2020) – Cloudbakers, a Google Cloud Premier Partner and Zoho Premium Partner, announced the completion of a significant growth capital investment from Sunstone Partners, a growth-oriented private equity firm specializing in technology-enabled cloud services. This capital will allow Cloudbakers to accelerate their growth in cloud-native services with a strong focus on growing their Google Cloud Platform technical consulting and managed services business.

Mitch Greenwald, CEO and Founder of Cloudbakers, said: “I couldn’t be more pumped up to welcome the Sunstone team to the Cloudbakers family. Their expertise, approach, and track record is amazingly complimentary to Cloudbakers’ business model, core values, and culture. This investment will drive exponential growth in our capabilities to the benefit of our clients, our partners, and our team.”

Cloudbakers was founded in Chicago, IL in 2010 and has experienced strong organic growth over the past decade while transforming hundreds of organizations with cloud-based data, application, and infrastructure modernization offerings. Cloudbakers’ blend of technical skills and people skills helps clients adapt to the ever changing digital landscape, modernize their applications, and do so in a practical, cost effective manner. Cloudbakers “brings the cloud down to earth” for their clients.

“Demand for cloud technology and expertise is growing, and Cloudbakers continues to delight customers with their focus on customer satisfaction, team values and strong technical expertise. Last year, Cloudbakers won our Google Cloud Expansion Partner of the Year Award for North America and we’re excited to accelerate our partnership to help customers digitally transform their businesses with Google Cloud.” -Eric Rosenkranz, North America Region Partnerships Leader at Google Cloud.

Sunstone’s Co-Founder and Managing Director, Mike Biggee, along with Operating Partner Jeff Rich, will join a new board of directors at Cloudbakers as part of the investment. Sunstone’s strategic and operational guidance were key to the recent growth and eventual sale of cloud-native consulting and managed services firm, Onica, to Rackspace in November of 2019.

“We are still in the early innings of a massive shift from legacy IT to public cloud infrastructure in organizations today, and we are extremely excited to partner with Cloudbakers to help guide customers through this change” said Mike Biggee from Sunstone Partners. “Cloudbakers is a great company with innovative processes, premier cloud-native talent, and deep intellectual property that add immediate and lasting value to clients in their cloud journeys.”

About Cloudbakers
Cloudbakers is a Google Cloud & Zoho Premier Partner that has been helping organizations successfully migrate to cloud technologies for nearly a decade. Being one of only a few Google Cloud Premier Partners, their mix of 50% tech skills and 50% people skills means they bring together custom solutions and side-by-side support. Adopting and adapting to changing technology is a difference maker for any business– that’s what Cloudbakers is here to help with. They bring the cloud down to earth. http://www.cloudbakers.com

About Sunstone Partners
Sunstone Partners is a growth-oriented equity firm that makes majority and minority investments in technology-enabled services and software businesses. The firm seeks to partner with exceptional management teams, often as their first institutional capital partner, to help accelerate organic growth and fund acquisitions. Founded in 2015, the firm has $800 million of committed capital to its first two funds. For more information, visit http://www.sunstonepartners.com

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3Cloud Acquires 3Cloud Acquires Pragmatic Works Consulting

Gryphon Investors

Acquisition expands 3Cloud’s data and analytics capabilities and geographic reach, forming the largest Azure pure-play services firm in the U.S.

Chicago, IL – September 10, 2020 —

 

3Cloud, a leading Microsoft Azure services firm, today announced that it has acquired the consulting arm of Pragmatic Works, an award-winning services firm focused on Microsoft’s cloud and data platforms.

“With the acquisition of Pragmatic Works Consulting, 3Cloud has taken another big step towards achieving our goal of becoming the number one Azure pure-play services provider” said Mike Rocco, 3Cloud CEO and Co-Founder. “Pragmatic Works Consulting has built an outstanding reputation as a leader in Azure data and analytics solutions, and we are excited to combine the expertise of our two world-class teams to deliver leading-edge Azure solutions for Microsoft customers.”

With this acquisition, 3Cloud will form the largest Azure pure-play services firm in the U.S. Additionally, 3Cloud will gain an expanded geographic presence to better serve clients across the U.S.

Pragmatic Works Training will continue to operate as a separately owned company under the leadership of Pragmatic Works CEO and Founder Brian Knight. “I’m extremely proud of the market-leading position Pragmatic Works has built in the Microsoft data and analytics space,” said Knight. “I look forward to seeing the talented employees of our consulting division continue to excel as part of the 3Cloud team.”

“Pragmatic Works Consulting has always focused on helping companies grow their business and operate more efficiently with data. We take pride in helping our clients solve some of their most complex technology challenges,” said Adam Jorgensen, Pragmatic Works Consulting President. “3Cloud has the same client-focused and growth-oriented approach, and we’re excited to join forces with them.”

Both firms have strong partnerships with Microsoft and industry-leading Microsoft credentials. 3Cloud was recently named the winner of the Microsoft US 2020 Azure Influencer Partner Award, and Pragmatic Works was named the winner of the Microsoft US 2020 Power BI Partner Award. Pragmatic Works was also a finalist for both the Power BI and Power Apps 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards and is a Databricks partner with deep expertise on this platform.

“We continue to see tremendous Azure growth momentum in the marketplace, especially in the data and analytics space as companies seek to modernize their data warehouse and business intelligence platforms,” said Jim Dietrich, 3Cloud President and Co-Founder. “With the help of our financial partner Gryphon Investors, we will continue to pursue growth opportunities across the spectrum of Azure solution areas while remaining committed to our mission of delivering the ultimate Azure experience for our clients.”

7 Mile Advisors served as exclusive financial advisor to 3Cloud and Gryphon Investors. Gryphon Investors completed a majority investment in 3Cloud in June 2020.

About 3Cloud
3Cloud is a “born in the cloud” Gold-certified Microsoft Azure technology consulting firm and Azure Expert Managed Services Provider that provides cloud strategy, design, implementation, and managed services to clients across multiple industries. Founded by former Microsoft technology leaders, 3Cloud combines a team of highly experienced cloud architects and technologists with a strong network of Microsoft sales and engineering relationships to deliver the ultimate Azure experience for clients.  3Cloud is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois with offices in Dallas, Texas and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and supports clients throughout North America and Europe. To learn more, visit www.3cloudsolutions.com.

About Pragmatic Works
Pragmatic Works is 100% focused on Microsoft’s cloud and data platforms. They have worked across the United States with thousands of companies including 97% of the Fortune 100. Through their weekly free training sessions, large-scale virtual Azure events and a team dedicated to helping customers grow their business with data, they are uniquely positioned to consult businesses on taking advantage of the latest Microsoft applications. Pragmatic Works’ focused work with Microsoft has led to them being recognized as a finalist for the Data Platform Partner of the Year award in 2017, Data Analytics Partner of the Year award in 2019 and both the Power BI and Power Apps Partner of the Year award in 2020. They have also been named the 2020 MSUS Partner Award winner for Business Applications – Power BI. To learn more, visit www.pragmaticworks.com.

About Gryphon Investors
Based in San Francisco, Gryphon Investors is a leading private equity firm focused on growing and enhancing mid-market companies in partnership with management. The firm has managed over $5 billion of equity investments and capital since 1997. Gryphon targets making equity investments of $100 million to $300 million in portfolio companies with sales ranging from approximately $100 million to $500 million. Gryphon prioritizes investment opportunities where it can form strong partnerships with owners and executives to build leading companies, utilizing Gryphon’s capital, specialized professional resources, and operational expertise. For more information, visit www.gryphoninvestors.com.

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