Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, September 23, 2023

Platform9 Emerges From Stealth To Unify Virtualization Management 

The cloud ecosystem continues to expand as a group of ex-VMware engineers have emerged from stealth mode to launch a new software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform aimed at managing private clouds.

Platform9, based in Sunnyvale, California, also announced its first funding round that raised $4.5 million from investor Redpoint Ventures.

Noting that enterprises continue to struggle in their attempts to make private cloud operational using virtualized infrastructure, the startup's SaaS platform is designed to quickly convert existing servers into an Amazon Web Services-like private cloud. Platform9 also provides simplified management of Docker containers and guests running atop the KVM hypervisor from Red Hat, Canonical, and SUSE Linux and the ESXi hypervisor from VMware.

The cloud platform has been positioned to address growing demand for public cloud agility using existing virtualized infrastructure. As organizations attempt to scale public clouds, IT administrators confront diverse virtualization and container technologies, forcing them to match workloads to these solutions.

Sirish Raghuram, co-founder and CEO of Platform9, said in a statement that the startup seeks to address "how customers were struggling to achieve AWS-like efficiency with increasingly archaic management software." Raghuram argued that the new SaaS platform could do for enterprise datacenters what the SaaS approach has done for enterprise applications.

"Think of us as the of private cloud management," he added.

Once existing infrastructure is converted to a private cloud and provisioning of workloads is automated, customers "can focus on using their infrastructure rather than babysitting the management software," Rughuram asserted.

Along with the elimination of management software, Platform9 is being pitched as offering a unified management console across different environments like Docker containers and VMware vSphere as well as datacenters at different locations.

It is also compatible with the OpenStack API, the startup said. That is intended to help developers automate the building, testing, and release of applications using OpenStack APIs and libraries, Platform9 noted. KVM support is currently in beta testing while Docker and ESXi support is in technical preview. It stands to reason that Xen and Hyper-V will eventually be brought to heel as well.

The startup said it would use Series A funding from Redpoint Ventures to accelerate its technology roadmap.

Platform9 was founded in 2013 by VMware engineers Raghuram, Madhura Maskasky, Roopak Parikh and Bich Le. Company advisors include Meraki Networks founder Hans Robertson along with former VMware executives Bogomil Balkansky and Caroline McCrory. Maskasky will serve as Platform9's product chief while Parikh heads up engineering and Le serves as chief architecture.

The startup said its SaaS platform is currently in beta testing with a dozen unidentified "mid-to-large size organizations." General availability is scheduled for later this year.

Platform9 plans to demonstrate its product during the VMworld Conference in San Francisco during the week of August 25. Register for a free trial here.

The startup's name was inspired by Platform 9 3/4 in the Harry Potter series, the magical spot in King's Cross Station in London that served as the gateway to the magical world of Hogwarts.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).