Bracket Computing Launches to Virtualize Public, Private Clouds

Startup Bracket Computing encapsulates all of an enterprise's IT assets and services--cloud or whatever--into its own virtual data center.

Bracket Computing is a startup with a lofty mission: It's daring to show enterprises how to virtualize the cloud—which, as we all know, is already quite virtualized.

The 3-year-old Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company came out of stealth mode Oct. 22 to unveil something called the Bracket Computing Cell, what it describes as the world's first cloud virtualization system.

We certainly know about virtualized servers, storage, networks and even I/O. Now, we've got virtualized clouds. Stay with us here.

Companies that use this, Bracket claims, will obtain the reliable, high-performing enterprise-grade security and control that they require to run significant workloads on the public cloud. Bracket does this by encapsulating all of an enterprise's IT assets and services—cloud or otherwise—into a virtual data center that acts and feels just like a physical data center.

Alone in Its Approach to Virtualizing Clouds

"The mission of Bracket is to make software that helps enterprises use the public cloud safely, reliably and predictably," CEO and Co-founder Tom Gillis told eWEEK. "I know we're not alone in that mission, but I think we're alone in our approach.

"We're creating a fundamentally new software architecture that we think will change the way data centers work."

With their applications and data safely isolated in their Computing Cell, customers can take full advantage of all the efficiencies of the public cloud but with the security and control of a private data center, Gillis, a former executive at Cisco Systems, said. It also adds an extra dimension to security, due to the extra lightweight layer of virtualization around the workload that Bracket brings, Gillis said.

During its three years of development, Gillis said, the company found that the problems of enterprise computing could not be attacked piecemeal. So Bracket built security, storage and virtualization as a single architecture, which enables Bracket to offer very high service levels. This systems approach also allows third-party components to work seamlessly alongside Bracket's, he said.

Unique Storage System

Within its own architecture, Bracket has developed a unique storage system that yields high performance, data integrity and availability, integrated with a state-of-the-art multi-key encryption system. All the components are transparent and tightly integrated in the virtualization layer so that everything works in sync, Gillis said.

"Imagine if you could put an enterprise's existing data center—applications, data and associated computing infrastructure—in a Computing Cell and move them out almost magically across multiple public clouds, and then have consistent controls across providers," Gillis said. "The workload doesn't know whether it's running on premises or on a public cloud. It just works."

The first assumption the company made is that logical controls are more important than physical controls, Gillis said. "This is becoming more clear every day. You can put a guard with a gun in front of your data center, you can put a cage and a lock on it, but bad guys are finding ways to get in. Same with the cloud," he said.

"What we have built are logical controls that we think are far superior to the physical controls in a traditional data center. At the heart of logical controls is encryption, so we have a fundamental belief that we have to encrypt everything all the time."

Enables Use of Legacy Software, Hardware

Bracket's Computing Cell even enables the migration of existing enterprise controls and enables users to keep their existing policies; as a result, Bracket's Computing Cell simply appears as a more flexible and robust extension of the customer's private cloud infrastructure.

In this way, Bracket offers a radically different hybrid cloud computing model in which workloads can flex up or down, span multiple public clouds, be moved at any time and be managed with one set of controls.

Bracket's team of systems and security experts spent three years developing the Computing Cell. To fund that effort, the company raised more than $85 million from industry heavyweights Andreessen Horowitz, Norwest Venture Partners, Sutter Hill Ventures, ARTIS Ventures, Allegis Capital, GE and Qualcomm.

Bracket's Computing Cell is now available and is already being used by several multinational corporations.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...