A new startup called ScaleFT or "Scale For Teams" is tackling the complexity operations teams face when using public cloud infrastructure. ScaleFT's tools will be available commercially to all operations (ops) teams, and strategic investor Rackspace may use ScaleFT as it builds out a service business atop big public clouds.
ScaleFT’s tools are agnostic and meant to help operations teams, often overwhelmed by complexity, run on AWS, Google Compute Engine, Azure and Rackspace OpenStack safely and securely.
The problem, as ScaleFT co-founder Jason Luce describes it is, “operations sysadmins and DevOps folks at every company besides Google, Etsy and Facebook (as a few examples) do not have modern tools to deal with the massive infrastructure they are delivering.”
Luce is the former vice president of finance at Rackspace and was joined by several others from the company, including two former Cloudkick employees. Rackspace acquired Cloudkick in 2010 to jumpstart its managed cloud offerings.
The ScaleFT team includes Paul Querna, Rackspace director of corporate strategy and former chief architect at Rackspace-acquired Cloudkick; Russell Haering, an engineering manager who also came aboard in the Cloudkick acquisition; and Robert Chiniquy, a former Rackspace engineering manager.
“This is a group of capable people that have experienced the same pain, so we’re building a platform focusing on ops teams,” said Luce, adding that there is a big need for these agnostic tools. “If you’re running on just Amazon, you can’t use only their tools. And you won’t use two sets of tools. We’re going to ‘bring them down the hill’ so everyone can use them.”
ScaleFT will provide three core products, all built with delivery flexibility so they can be consumed as multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service, single tenant cloud deployment, or on-premises.
Scale Access is the company's first product, which will tackle authentication practices. Scale Access makes secure workflows easy while ensuring compatibility with all current tools, according to ScaleFT. Luce said the available authentication technologies like RSA and SSH are too complex and that many businesses will require superior security practices.
The other two products have not yet been fully revealed, however, Luce said the second will analyze what everybody does on the server, while the third product, Secrets, leaves keys on servers for specific individuals.
Rackspace’s strategic investment in ScaleFT makes sense given the company’s evolving strategy over the last 18 months or so. The company placed a big bet on OpenStack whereas it’s historically been cloud agnostic. That bet paid off in some ways given OpenStack’s rise, but it shifted the focus away from a potentially very lucrative multi-cloud services business.
“We needed to remain independent,” said Luce.
Luce said that OpenStack adoption is currently occurring heaviest among the bleeding edge technology companies that often like the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) approach rather than handing everything over to a service provider. Rackspace did land significant big enterprise deals, but the company is choosing not to limit itself and to become agnostic once again.
“We’re building a platform designed to help Rackspace with this initiative, which is why Rackpace is a strategic investor in our seed round,” said Luce.