Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ScaleXtreme

There are a couple of reasons to keep an eye on ScaleXtreme, who received venture capital from Accel Partners this week.

Firstly, they are focusing on the area of data center server management which has been disrupted due to the fact that organizations are making increasing use of virtual servers hosted by Cloud-based providers such as Amazon and Terremark. Case in point: One of Vordel's customers in the pharmaceuticals area routinely spins up hundreds of servers on Terremark to process clinic trial data, then spins them down again, benefiting from Vordel's VCloud API support. To be able to manage those Terremark-hosted servers alongside on-premises servers is a valuable thing.

Secondly, one of the founders of ScaleExtreme is Nand Mulchandani, who was a co-founder of Oblix. Oblix was a Web Access Management vendor whose main product competed with SiteMinder and Tivoli Access Manager, amongst others. Oblix came relatively late to the game of Web Access Management but brought some key differences. One which stood out for me was its Microsoft interop. I did some Oblix deployments myself, and found it to be a well-designed product, so it wasn't really a surprise when it was bought by Oracle to become Oracle Access Manager ( I recently recorded a screencast video of the Vordel Gateway operating with Oracle Access Manager).

An interesting architectural aspect of ScaleXtreme is how it gets around the "How can I manage my internal servers via a Cloud-based service through mobile devices, when they are behind the firewall?" problem. The way it does this is by using agents which are installed on the internal servers. These then are used to communicate with the Cloud-based service. The Cloud-based service is therefore the main part of the architecture. This justifies the observation by Nand Mulchandani that the Cloud component of ScaleXtreme is intrinsic, not some kind of bolt-on.

Definitely one to watch...