Hummer Winblad: a Vcs Take on Cloud Computing Opportunities

Lars Leckie is a Principal at Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. He played a key role in the firm’s investments in Aria Systems (SaaS billing and customer management) and vKernel (Virtualization Infrastructure). Leading up to Under the Radar, Lars (as well as Mitchell Kertzman who will be judging presenting cloud startups at Under the Radar) has worked with us to determine who the next generation of disruptive startups are – and identifing the best ones to showcase at the upcoming event. Last week Lars took a shot at examining cloud computing and its opportunities on his blog. We’ve re-posted it here:

On Cloud Computing (By Lars Leckie):

Cloud Computing is topic that has been on our minds at Hummer Winblad for a few years now. It represents a very interesting shift in the data center that we are all used to working with.

You can see a recent cloud computing session I moderated here. This event was organized by the good team over at Dealmaker Media who also recently published the cloud computing ecosystem map. This map covers a large and growing (thanks to some creative rebranding of many companies around cloud computing) list of companies in the space. We were pleased to see several of our companies there including Elastra – the enterprise cloud company, VKernel – Systems management and chargeback for private clouds (virtualization), Birst – cloud BI and Aria Systems – cloud billing infrastructure.

Cloud computing is following some interesting adoption patterns. has lead the way by providing a public cloud offering and they are rapidly adding enterprise features and partners such as IBM. The adoption of cloud computing is rapid in the start-up space – almost every company we meet now has some leverage on the back end from cloud infrastructure. From our discussions with larger companies, CIO’s and enterprise developers cloud is also starting to get traction there as well. This is one of those trends where if the corporate IT department cannot offer cloud solutions that are blessed, the developers will put their credit card in and start using Amazon Web Services. It just takes too long to get resources inside an organization compared to firing up an instance on EC2 in 5 minutes to beta test an idea.

In our informal survey the adoption of cloud is progressing in the following categories:
– financial services
– technology (including startups)
– Medical
– education
– government

The initial use cases are usually non-core applications and batch processes. It is being followed by more sustaining use cases over time. This wave is happening…and corporate good corporate IT departments are trying to get ahead.

The future?
We believe the future of cloud computing will include public clouds like Amazon, private clouds run in corporate datacenters, semi-private clouds managed and run by the likes of IBM on behalf of corporate clients – and a common language/infrastructure to move between these infrastructures.