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Data Center Startups Emerging to Solve Virtualization and Cloud Problems

A host of new data center startups are coming on the scene to help IT shops handle the challenges posed by virtualized infrastructures and cloud computing.

The GigaOM Structure event next week will feature 11 new companies, including at least two that Network World readers will be familiar with.

[NETWORK WORLD'S TOP STARTUPS: 25 hot products from new IT companies]

Big Switch Networks, which has $13.8 million in funding, is building new technology to bring the OpenFlow protocol to data center networks, Network World reported in April.

ZeRTO, meanwhile, is developing disaster recovery and business continuity software for virtualized, mission critical applications and cloud deployments. ZeRTO was featured last year in Network World's "25 new IT companies to watch" and is now emerging from stealth mode.

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Other new companies touting their goods next week include Acunu, which is building storage technology that uses commodity hardware to boost the performance of data intensive applications; CloudFloor, which says it will control the operations of a customer's cloud applications; and Cloudability, which will manage the cost of cloud services.

All of them will reveal more June 22 and June 23 in San Francisco.

Here's a little bit more of what we know about the aforementioned startups:

Big Switch Networks is putting its chips behind OpenFlow, a Stanford University and UC-Berkeley project "designed to separate the control function of switches from the switch hardware and forwarding function so that users can program traffic patterns in a network of multivendor switches and routers," as Network World's Jim Duffy reported. Big Switch is building an OpenFlow controller.

Former Stanford professor Guido Appenzeller is the CEO of Big Switch, which also has ex-Cisco executive Mike Volpi on its board.

ZeRTO is led by Ziv Kedem, who previously co-founded Kashya, a company acquired by EMC and turned into EMC's RecoverPoint data protection and remote replication product. ZeRTO has been quiet about exactly how its disaster recovery technology will work, but has been conducting a private beta and says next week it will "finally reveal what we've been working so hard on while we've been in stealth mode."

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Acunu will launch the first version of its storage platform for Apache Cassandra, a distributed database. Acunu has released its core technology as open source software and says it includes CentOS Linux and "can be used with most Linux compatible 64-bit hardware."

"Acunu is rebuilding the storage stack to meet the challenge of data intensive applications offering fast and predictable performance from commodity hardware," according to the GigaOM LaunchPad page. Based in the United Kingdom, Acunu announced $3.6 million in first-round funding in March.

CloudFloor, which also has more than $3 million in first-round financing, calls its own technology a "mystery project." Not much is known except that CloudFloor will "control the operation of your cloud applications based on business insights and events." The company is led by former executives from application performance management vendor Gomez, which was bought by Compuware for $290 million in 2009.

Cloudability will tackle the billing model in cloud computing services, providing "a comprehensive billing view for all the services you've got running in the cloud."

"Add your cloud accounts, set budget limits, run reports and choose notification preferences to take control of your cloud budget," the company says.

The Cloudability website shows a sample dashboard illustrating a customer's spending patterns on Amazon's cloud and Heroku, a cloud service recently purchased by Salesforce.com.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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