CloudPhysics – A Bridge Between Community Help and Personalized IT Service

It’s always entertaining to watch the executive team from sunset companies leave to do cool new startups – at the moment it seems to be the turn of VMware to provide the talent for this generation of bright new businesses and CloudPhysics is one of those – its CEO, John Blumenthal was a VMware exec in another life and its investors include the legendary VMware co-founders Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum.

CloudPhysics provides intelligent operations management for virtualized workloads. It delivers insights for the teams managing an organization’s infrastructure – it derives these insights through a number of means, not least of all the collective intelligence from the data gleaned from its userbase – some 80B samples of operations data per day.

This is a really interesting play since, in a number of different areas we’re seeing companies try and harness collective intelligence, apply it in an automated and aggregated way and draw conclusions when seen in the context of an individual users situation. A nice analogy would be to take Yelp’s database of user contributions and deliver it on a personalized basis and in context of an individual’s preferences, location, budget etc etc. It’s a growing tend that I’m seeing of companies harnessing the best of collective intelligence, while delivering in an automated way.

Previously the company had rolled out a crowd sourced knowledge base and today that is extended with the release of an intelligent IT operations management service for VMware workloads. Essentially the product takes awareness of a customers infrastructure makeup and performance, analyses that against crowdsourced best practices, and identified problems and inefficiencies gleaned from the process. The product has been beta tested by several hundreds of enterprises globally and today sees it more generally available.

CloudPhysics is using that most attractive of promises – that enterprises can mimic the continual improvement methodologies employed by Google. Says Jason Blumenthal, CloudPhysics CEO and co-founder:

Google uses analysis of anonymized traffic data from everyone’s GPS location streams to help users avoid accidents and bottlenecks and make better driving decisions. CloudPhysics brings that same kind of power to IT so enterprises can make better operational decisions. Our servers receive a daily stream of 80+ billion samples of configuration, performance, failure and event data from our global user base with a total of 20+ trillion data points to date. This ‘collective intelligence,’ combined with CloudPhysics’ patent-pending datacenter simulation and unique resource management techniques, empowers enterprise IT to drive Google-like operations excellence using actionable analytics from a large, relevant, continually refreshed data set.

Lofty promises indeed – so what specific capabilities does CloudPhysics offer? The SaaS offering includes:

  • Health Checks – Continuous checks for operational hazards cover best practices from vendors and field knowledge from CloudPhysics’ community of sysadmins personalized to the individual environment.
  • Reporting – Interactive queries to find VMware insights, without requiring scripting or knowledge of schemas. Users can pull pre-built reports shared by community members or build unique ones and share with community members and colleagues.
  • Analysis – Big data driven analytics for storage, compute and other systems to identify radical efficiency improvements for VMware.
  • Planning - Simulation of planned purchases or configuration changes before rolling out in production.

As part of the release, the company is also introducing a set of specific problem resolutions, styled after the Apple App Store. “Cards” are user-defined “applications” targeting specific problems. While I’d suggest the word “app” is a little misleading in the case of what is essentially a glorified “how to”guide – it’s a great way to start enterprises talking about the deeper offerings CloudPhysics have. It’s also an interesting link between an enterprises’ home-baked operations wiki and a more general industry knowledge base and, once again, speaks to the bridge that the company is building between personalized context and generalized community  help.

It’s a very interesting approach towards modern IT management – I’m not 100% convinced the IT world is ready for such a revolutionary approach towards how it does thing – but it’s certainly going to be interesting watching the company try and build momentum.

1 Comment
  • Hi Ben:

    Thanks for the great article. Agree that CloudPhysics is using a revolutionary approach.

    As you note, CloudPhysics cards span planning tools, simulators, health checks and more. Just this morning, I gave a live demo of the High Availability Simulator card to the Toronto VMUG. It is really neat to see in action. Another demo was building a new card using Card Builder (see <2min video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvh11y-Vkfc). The audience and I together built a card to find virtual machines with memory resource allocation problems within seconds.

    Interesting times.

Leave a Reply