“Intelligent” Cloud Automation Gets Substantial Push From Investors

By Nicole Hemsoth

September 15, 2010

Adaptive Computing, known for its Moab automation technology, announced today that it was one of four companies selected by Intel Capital for a round of Series A funding. The company is set to receive $14 million with Intel’s line combined with further resources from two other investment firms who saw promise in the company and its nine-year track record of growth and profitability.

Steve Eichenlaub, managing director of Intel Capital stated that “Adaptive Computing’s solutions are well-positioned to play an important role upgrading enterprise data centers to intelligent self-optimizing cloud environments” and that this is in line with Intel Capital’s view that “intelligent policy management will play a critical role in the next phase of cloud automation.”

Adaptive COO and President told HPC in the Cloud on Monday that some were wondering why they made the external funding decision. In his view, “it came down to the fact that we were seeing an inflection in demand for our cloud products and the amount of incoming demand was greater than our organic revenues would allow us to service. We really had the choice of rejecting business, deferring business or accessing capital to build up to service that demand properly.”

Jackson noted that first and foremost, however, this “will enable the company to increase headcount and expand operations to meet the growing global demand” for customers with complex management and policy-driven needs that he feels is missing with other virtualization-centric or provisioning-related technologies that simple give users basic “yes and no” answers to their provisioning and virtualization needs. Adaptive is seeing that a growing number of customers are looking for more “intelligent” automation to enable more efficient resource management and ultimately, greater cost savings–and it seems investors have been watching this demand play out as well.

Placing Value on Intelligent Cloud Management

While there are a number of solutions that promise simple, intuitive, policy-based automation, Jackson argues that the level of complexity is often not enough to manage the needs of some of the largest enterprise data centers, particularly in the realm of financial services, mega e-commerce and web application providers, telcos, and increasingly, government—all of whom comprise the foundation for a significant majority of Adaptive’s business.

According to Adaptive’s COO, one of the reasons they have been singled out for this round of funding (outside of a clearly stated need to expand) is because there are no comprehensive “intelligent” cloud management solutions that do what Moab—the core of Adaptive’s business—can do.

As Jackson put it, “there many others focus just on the mechanism (provisioning and virtualization management type technologies) ours comes in on the decision-making layer. We focus as a service governor to manage the space, to manage the decisions that are made in the cloud and then we connect to a customer’s pre-existing investment in provisioning, virtualization, network, and storage technologies so we help their existing IT become cloud as opposed to a ‘rip and replace’ that requires them to shift their investments over to different technologies.”

Looking at what might set Adaptive apart is a challenging task given the number of vendors competing for share in the cloud management free for all that has led to some confusion about just how provisioning, policy-driven, and virtualization management issues are handled between solutions. Jackson admitted that there are many competing in the cloud space but they have a distinct focus that does not offer “intelligent” automation—instead opting for simple answers to complex questions for any given workload. 

“You have those that are coming in from the mechanism standpoint, those trying to provide provisioning and virtualization management but the challenge they have is that they are a mechanism without a “brain”—without a toolset to optimally apply resources to meet SLAs or objectives” said Jackson. “They’re typically something you can go to and say can I have it and it will either give it to you or not, but that’s the extent of its intelligence; this more like a workflow connected with provisioning management.”

He points to provisioning management technologies from CA, BMC and Eucalyptus to highlight his point, suggesting that these are “packaging of workflows and provisioning or virtualization management technologies” and that even what VMware just rolled out is a virtualization management-specific technology that focuses only on the question of “how do I move, lift and place resources together to create a new environment?”

Adaptive’s response to this is that they are on opposite side of the spectrum because they realize that customers have already made investments in many of these provisioning, storage and network technologies so it becomes their task “to take what’s there, add on this decision-making layer called Moab, which then makes optimal decisions.”

To highlight this point, he presented a nameless case study of one of their “large enterprise customers” 

“They had KVM, they had VMware, they had physical provisioning technologies and stateless provisioning technologies because 75% of workloads are not virtualized—so to have everything under KVM or Xen is not a reality today; most everything is in a physical provisioning space. So then we layer above that and we’re able to drive their server provisioning and virtualization management (even though it’s two different classes of virtualization).

So they wanted to optimize; if they could get something in KVM at a lower cost and still be virtual rather than VMware, they can cost-optimize that within Moab and apply those that need to be in VMware there; those that don’t go to KVM and those workloads that were not virtualized could then go through stateless provisioning because that’s faster, and then if we can pack things into fewer servers, we can use our green compute capabilities to power down servers. We were able to intermix all of those together. You just won’t find this in a virtualization-centric technology or a provisioning management-centric technology; it really takes a organizational level decision maker to look across all you have and optimize it.”

It’s not difficult to see the value of more intelligent cloud automation and the same companies he called out earlier are working furiously to produce similar capabilities. It seems it will be up to Adaptive to continue enhancing and expanding Moab in order to stay ahead of the curve since some of the other vendors entering into their “intelligent cloud” territory have the advantage of name recognition.

Life After Investment

The words of Intel Capital’s general manager Eichenlaub are worth remembering—that there is an increasing awareness about the business value of cloud automation products and their value for enterprises who are virtualizing some or most of their applications and will likely continue to do so if Gartner and IDC (and any other number of analyst firms) are correct.

Intelligent clouds are a requirement for large-scale enterprises who have taken steps down the road to virtualization as more companies realize they want to have what Jackson says is a “cloud infrastructure that is highly agile or over-buy and have a lot of excess capacity in several areas in order to service customers.” In his view, they want to see “the benefits of having that agile cloud infrastructure and our technology allows them to take advantage of that rapid delivery of resources. But they also want something that is intelligent and watches things like, what are the implications for my applications, what are the implications for my SLA’s—how do I optimize an SLA in that context?”

The funding will be concentrated mostly on the sales and delivery side; or, as Jackson put it, “on those who will take the technology and deliver cloud services to customers” but will also be distributed to other areas the company will emphasize, including end-to-end solutions for its partners. Currently, the company relies heavily on its partnerships, which already include the likes of IBM, SGI and HP, among others, but Adaptive also handles direct customers, which may happen more frequently given the added dash of resources to continue expanding their reach.


Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

GDPR’s Impact on Scientific Research Uncertain

May 24, 2018

Amid the angst over preparations—or lack thereof—for new European Union data protections entering into force at week’s end is the equally worrisome issue of the rules’ impact on scientific research. Among the Read more…

By George Leopold

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Francisco, one would be tempted to dismiss its claims of inventing Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Extreme Performance Solutions

HPC and AI Convergence is Accelerating New Levels of Intelligence

Data analytics is the most valuable tool in the digital marketplace – so much so that organizations are employing high performance computing (HPC) capabilities to rapidly collect, share, and analyze endless streams of data. Read more…

IBM Accelerated Insights

Mastering the Big Data Challenge in Cognitive Healthcare

Patrick Chain, genomics researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, posed a question in a recent blog: What if a nurse could swipe a patient’s saliva and run a quick genetic test to determine if the patient’s sore throat was caused by a cold virus or a bacterial infection? Read more…

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been emerging from stealth over the last year and a half, is unveili Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Intel Pledges First Commercial Nervana Product ‘Spring Crest’ in 2019

May 24, 2018

At its AI developer conference in San Francisco yesterday, Intel embraced a holistic approach to AI and showed off a broad AI portfolio that includes Xeon processors, Movidius technologies, FPGAs and Intel’s Nervana Neural Network Processors (NNPs), based on the technology it acquired in 2016. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Pattern Computer – Startup Claims Breakthrough in ‘Pattern Discovery’ Technology

May 23, 2018

If it weren’t for the heavy-hitter technology team behind start-up Pattern Computer, which emerged from stealth today in a live-streamed event from San Franci Read more…

By John Russell

Silicon Startup Raises ‘Prodigy’ for Hyperscale/AI Workloads

May 23, 2018

There's another silicon startup coming onto the HPC/hyperscale scene with some intriguing and bold claims. Silicon Valley-based Tachyum Inc., which has been eme Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Japan Meteorological Agency Takes Delivery of Pair of Crays

May 21, 2018

Cray has supplied two identical Cray XC50 supercomputers to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) in northwestern Tokyo. Boasting more than 18 petaflops combine Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

ASC18: Final Results Revealed & Wrapped Up

May 17, 2018

It was an exciting week at ASC18 in Nanyang, China. The student teams braved extreme heat, extremely difficult applications, and extreme competition in order to cross the cluster competition finish line. The gala awards ceremony took place on Wednesday. The auditorium was packed with student teams, various dignitaries, the media, and other interested parties. So what happened? Read more…

By Dan Olds

Spring Meetings Underscore Quantum Computing’s Rise

May 17, 2018

The month of April 2018 saw four very important and interesting meetings to discuss the state of quantum computing technologies, their potential impacts, and th Read more…

By Alex R. Larzelere

Quantum Network Hub Opens in Japan

May 17, 2018

Following on the launch of its Q Commercial quantum network last December with 12 industrial and academic partners, the official Japanese hub at Keio University is now open to facilitate the exploration of quantum applications important to science and business. The news comes a week after IBM announced that North Carolina State University was the first U.S. university to join its Q Network. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Democratizing HPC: OSC Releases Version 1.3 of OnDemand

May 16, 2018

Making HPC resources readily available and easier to use for scientists who may have less HPC expertise is an ongoing challenge. Open OnDemand is a project by t Read more…

By John Russell

MLPerf – Will New Machine Learning Benchmark Help Propel AI Forward?

May 2, 2018

Let the AI benchmarking wars begin. Today, a diverse group from academia and industry – Google, Baidu, Intel, AMD, Harvard, and Stanford among them – releas Read more…

By John Russell

How the Cloud Is Falling Short for HPC

March 15, 2018

The last couple of years have seen cloud computing gradually build some legitimacy within the HPC world, but still the HPC industry lies far behind enterprise I Read more…

By Chris Downing

Russian Nuclear Engineers Caught Cryptomining on Lab Supercomputer

February 12, 2018

Nuclear scientists working at the All-Russian Research Institute of Experimental Physics (RFNC-VNIIEF) have been arrested for using lab supercomputing resources to mine crypto-currency, according to a report in Russia’s Interfax News Agency. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Responds to Google TPU Benchmarking

April 10, 2017

Nvidia highlights strengths of its newest GPU silicon in response to Google's report on the performance and energy advantages of its custom tensor processor. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning at 15 PFlops Enables Training for Extreme Weather Identification at Scale

March 19, 2018

Petaflop per second deep learning training performance on the NERSC (National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center) Cori supercomputer has given climate Read more…

By Rob Farber

AI Cloud Competition Heats Up: Google’s TPUs, Amazon Building AI Chip

February 12, 2018

Competition in the white hot AI (and public cloud) market pits Google against Amazon this week, with Google offering AI hardware on its cloud platform intended Read more…

By Doug Black

US Plans $1.8 Billion Spend on DOE Exascale Supercomputing

April 11, 2018

On Monday, the United States Department of Energy announced its intention to procure up to three exascale supercomputers at a cost of up to $1.8 billion with th Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Lenovo Unveils Warm Water Cooled ThinkSystem SD650 in Rampup to LRZ Install

February 22, 2018

This week Lenovo took the wraps off the ThinkSystem SD650 high-density server with third-generation direct water cooling technology developed in tandem with par Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Leading Solution Providers

SC17 Booth Video Tours Playlist

Altair @ SC17


AMD @ SC17


ASRock Rack @ SC17

ASRock Rack



DDN Storage @ SC17

DDN Storage

Huawei @ SC17


IBM @ SC17


IBM Power Systems @ SC17

IBM Power Systems

Intel @ SC17


Lenovo @ SC17


Mellanox Technologies @ SC17

Mellanox Technologies

Microsoft @ SC17


Penguin Computing @ SC17

Penguin Computing

Pure Storage @ SC17

Pure Storage

Supericro @ SC17


Tyan @ SC17


Univa @ SC17


HPC and AI – Two Communities Same Future

January 25, 2018

According to Al Gara (Intel Fellow, Data Center Group), high performance computing and artificial intelligence will increasingly intertwine as we transition to Read more…

By Rob Farber

Google Chases Quantum Supremacy with 72-Qubit Processor

March 7, 2018

Google pulled ahead of the pack this week in the race toward "quantum supremacy," with the introduction of a new 72-qubit quantum processor called Bristlecone. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

CFO Steps down in Executive Shuffle at Supermicro

January 31, 2018

Supermicro yesterday announced senior management shuffling including prominent departures, the completion of an audit linked to its delayed Nasdaq filings, and Read more…

By John Russell

HPE Wins $57 Million DoD Supercomputing Contract

February 20, 2018

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today revealed details of its massive $57 million HPC contract with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The deal calls for HP Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Deep Learning Portends ‘Sea Change’ for Oil and Gas Sector

February 1, 2018

The billowing compute and data demands that spurred the oil and gas industry to be the largest commercial users of high-performance computing are now propelling Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Nvidia Ups Hardware Game with 16-GPU DGX-2 Server and 18-Port NVSwitch

March 27, 2018

Nvidia unveiled a raft of new products from its annual technology conference in San Jose today, and despite not offering up a new chip architecture, there were still a few surprises in store for HPC hardware aficionados. Read more…

By Tiffany Trader

Hennessy & Patterson: A New Golden Age for Computer Architecture

April 17, 2018

On Monday June 4, 2018, 2017 A.M. Turing Award Winners John L. Hennessy and David A. Patterson will deliver the Turing Lecture at the 45th International Sympo Read more…

By Staff

Part One: Deep Dive into 2018 Trends in Life Sciences HPC

March 1, 2018

Life sciences is an interesting lens through which to see HPC. It is perhaps not an obvious choice, given life sciences’ relative newness as a heavy user of H Read more…

By John Russell

  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
Share This