It has been quite a decade for the cloud. The rapid pace of evolution in cloud computing over a few short years has altered the landscape for data-dependent businesses.
With groundbreaking cloud infrastructure service providers like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure offering on-demand cloud computing to the masses, no longer are companies wondering whether they should migrate their functions to the cloud. Now the question is which aspects of a company's services should be migrated, and how quickly.
Those tech giants are far from the only players influencing how businesses handle their information.
They are cloud management platforms, data center hosts, software developers and designers. And all hope to leave their fingerprints on the next wave of cloud computing innovation as the technology becomes part of everyday business.
Like many cloud solutions companies, CloudBolt began when its founders noticed a problem.
Bernard Sanders and Auggy da Rocha were helping large companies and government entities automate their data center operations when they realized the relationship between their IT departments and the rest of the organizations were frayed. If a department had a specific need, they often failed to communicate it to their IT department in a way that would enable a quick solution.
"People wanted to do their jobs but they felt they couldn't, and they were frustrated by what they saw as other teams' inability to do their jobs," said Sanders, CloudBolt's co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.
The 2012 founding of CloudBolt sought to bridge that gap. The company, headquartered in Maryland but with much of its workforce in Portland, provides users with a hybrid cloud orchestrator, giving them the ability to seamlessly move between servers in their own private data centers and public cloud hosts like Amazon or Google.
The idea of hybrid cloud computing is to empower end users with the ability to manage their own resources in any environment, whether with private or public cloud. CloudBolt's product orchestrates complex provisioning operations that span a range of technologies, like storage, networks, monitoring and more, so a company’s complex applications can easily be deployed to any cloud.
"Public cloud providers and virtualization vendors are doing everything they can do to lock organizations into their solutions," Sanders said. "IT teams want the flexibility to choose the best cloud for each job, without the end user needing to learn the specifics of each. CloudBolt gives you a unified interface for your datacenter and public clouds so you're prevented from getting locked into any specific technology."
Shannon Hulbert and her team have worked in the cloud since it went by a different name: virtualization.
That was in the late 1990s, when the team that would become Opus Interactive worked as the IT department of a Portland creative agency. Since then the firm has grown out of its roots and into an industry leader in cloud hosting.
It started with the company's private cloud solution, OpusCloud, a small Portland data center and several dozen customers. Now Opus Interactive is one of the fastest growing private companies in Oregon, in part because it has evolved almost as fast as the cloud itself.
Private cloud hosting is their specialty, but Opus has been agile in embracing public, hybrid and multi-cloud solutions to keep up with competitors like Amazon Web Services.
"We're really helping people figure out what their right hybrid mix is, where their workload belongs and where it would be most optimized," Hulbert said.