Click here to close now.


Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing

@CloudExpo: Article

GreenButton Uses Multiple Clouds for Big Compute

The company is targeting financial services, media and entertainment, aerospace, oil and gas, and biotech

The inspiration for GreenButton was the devilishly complicated battle scene in the 2003 movie "The Lord of the Rings" that its founder Scott Houston pulled together in two weeks for director Peter Jackson against all odds. It was accomplished in record time with thousands of servers and little sleep.

Fade to today. The GreenButton start-up claims its newfangled Cloud Fabric is the first server solution to let users - both the enterprise and service providers - deploy, manage and run compute-intensive applications in either private or public clouds or, for that matter, in multiple multi-tenant clouds.

It's talking about what it calls "Big Compute," basically deploying as much supplementary processing power as the cloud can provide. Thousands of cores spun up in 20-30 minutes at a fraction of the usual cost.

An SGI and Compaq veteran, Houston says, "Cloud computing has been focused on running general-type applications with low memory and CPU requirements. We believe the future of cloud computing is to bring the applications that most people have said ‘will never run in the cloud' to the cloud."

He claims to be seeing exceptional growth and adoption of his widgetry among High Performance Computing and technical computing users looking for a highly scalable, robust, cost-effective solution.

The company is targeting financial services, media and entertainment, aerospace, oil and gas, and biotech. It has partnerships with Pixar, SAP and some ISVs.

Enterprises are meant to run Cloud Fabric to manage workloads in their private clouds and then burst to public clouds when needed.

Only approved jobs are sent to the public cloud and only when on-premise capacity is exhausted. The job is matched to the cloud with the right SLA and price. The architecture is designed so the cloud handles failures and transient error conditions. Porting between clouds is supposed to be easy.

Apparently any application that can scale across multiple nodes can make use of GreenButton including highly parallel workloads, Big Data analysis and Message Passing Interface (MPI) applications.

The company says it's currently running rendering, animation, simulation, bioinformatics, audio/video indexing and captioning, geological analysis and Monte Carlo computations.

This Cloud Fabric stuff is also supposed to let service providers integrate and sell the solution to their ISV and enterprise customers.

They can run the platform on their own cloud infrastructure or on a public platform like Amazon, Windows Azure, VMware vCloud or Dell Cloud Services. OpenStack support is in the works. GreenButton was named Microsoft's Global Cloud Partner last year.

According to Dell cloud evangelist Stephen Spector, "GreenButton has earned the reputation as the best provider of HPC and on-demand computing solutions in the business. With Cloud Fabric, we are able to differentiate our cloud offering and drive utilization, giving our customers a proven Software-as-a-Service solution to help them get the most out of the cloud with the least amount of effort. Cutting time-to-market at a fraction of the cost is invaluable to all."

The company also offers a hosted managed service where it runs GreenButton in one or more public clouds for ISVs that don't have their own infrastructure but want to market a cloud-based service that their customers can take advantage of with the push of a button.

The New Zealand cloudbursting start-up is hawking a centralized multi-cloud management toolkit and SDK called GreenButton Mission Control.

It includes a development emulator to enable workloads and commercial features around billing, reporting and chargeback for granular visibility into cloud use and costs. The emulator is used to test and verify application integration prior to cloud deployment.

It also includes data synchronization tools for the cloud called GreenButton CloudSync, a seamless way to migrate data iteratively into the cloud as well as define custom data extraction for integration with other data sources that can automatically synchronize nominated files with the cloud. (Got that?)

Files can be as big as can be sensibly uploaded and downloaded to and from the cloud over the Internet. If they're so big that it's impractical to send them over the Internet, a physical disk can be shipped to the cloud provider to be uploaded or downloaded directly.

Only owners of the files uploaded to GreenButton can access them or the results of their job. After a job runs, GreenButton wipes the data from that compute node before it's allowed to process another job. All communication with GreenButton is secured using SSL so files and jobs can't be intercepted on the wire.

GreenButton services are exposed to clients via Web Services accessible from Windows, Mac OS X and Linux desktops and, in the rare case mobile devices complements of an integrated green button. Ditto desktop applications like Numerix and Deep Exploration. A green button can also be plugged into Office apps.

The GreenButton Q&A says its platform tracks the number of milliseconds that end customers use a third-party application and charges this aggregated time to the user's GreenButton account. It's an hourly rate and includes the compute and storage costs, GreenButton's management fee, and the software license.

Usage reports can be downloaded from Mission Control, with information about usage at the organizational, departmental and individual level. It provides this data as CSV files so they can be imported into Excel or some other financial tool and compared against budgeted numbers. Users can also get an itemized bill to drill down into how individual applications and jobs are tracking against budget.

GreenButton prices its platform-agnostic widgetry by asking would-be users how much time they've got and what they've willing to pay. Figure a company will pay $75,000 along with a $7,500 fee for each app. The integration work should probably take no more than a couple of weeks.

The company is working on angel investments and a $4 million A/B round from a couple of New Zealand VCs. It has offices in Seattle and San Jose along with East Coast ambitions and an unidentified telco account in Europe.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at) or paperboy(at), and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

Latest Stories
"eFolder does a lot of different things but we protect data and we are focused on protecting data no matter where it resides," explained Carlo Tapia, Product Marketing Manager at eFolder, in this interview at Cloud Expo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Cloud computing is unquestionably one of the driving forces of DevOps, as the automation of operations transforms enterprise software development. DevOps, however, is more than a technology trend, as it represents a move toward silo-busting, self-organizing horizontal teams that drive business velocity. At the same time, enterprise Digital Transformation represents an upheaval across the enterprise, as customer preferences and behavior drive enterprise technology decisions. This transformation ...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment proces...
In demand-intensive mobile and web applications, an emerging pattern is to host the Systems of Engagement in the cloud (for maximum responsiveness) but keep the Systems of Record with the other important business systems in the company datacenter, often on a tightly secured mainframe. But what about the space in between? In this IBM Redpaper publication, we show that the IBM Bluemix cloud platform offers technologies that make it easy for cloud-based SoEs to securely connect to on-premises IBM...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
OpsHub, Inc. has announced enhanced support for DevOps and Migration for both Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio On-line in a heterogeneous environment. With added support for build and release entities in OpsHub Integration Manager (OIM) Microsoft customers can now leverage Visual Studio build and release services to manage DevOps processes in a heterogeneous environment. With the enhanced support customers can manage the DevOps process in Team Foundation Server while undertaking activit...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a global leader in monitoring, and testing the performance of online applications, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.Founde...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.