Appcore Company Profile
I recently joined the board of directors of a company called Appcore (www.appcore.com). I was introduced to the company via the investment banker managing the raise of their Series B round. I was instantly intrigued by their story since the company’s converged infrastructure platform targeted telecom service providers and data center operators. This focus struck a cord because when I joined Voxel dot Net, a managed hosting company in January 2011, one of our initial sales targets were telcos, many of whom I knew personally from my 15 years in the telecom space. The sales premise went that telecom players wanted to sell cloud and managed services to their customers but lacked the in-house expertise to build and manage public/private clouds so partnering with an IaaS player like Voxel through a wholesale relationship was a natural fit.
We probably had a dozen very positive initial discussions with telcos, MSPs and collocation providers about the Voxel platform. Based on the initial discussions, I expected many to evolve into commercial relationships. But as we delved deeper into the details an unfortunate reality became clear. The truth was that that highly automated cloud platforms like Voxel’s VoxStructure (and for that matter others like AWS, RackSpace and Softlayer) were simply too complex for telcos to manage. Voxel’s automated infrastructure was more of a “toolkit” that telcos would have to utilize to build actual products and services for their customers. In addition, the process of configuring, provisioning and managing clusters and specific applications ultimately had to be handled by the telcos for a wholesale relationship to work. Telco’s simply did not have the depth of knowledge in systems administration and application management across the organization to manage an IaaS platform via a wholesale model. We sadly discovered this fact after a few months of discussions and ultimately terminated our sales activities to this sector.
What I’ve discovered since joining Appcore is that most telcos are in the same state as they were in 2011 – still trying to get their heads around how to deploy cloud and applications to their customers. Most telcos have still not made the paradigm shift from networking to cloud/managed services absent those that have completed major acquisitions, such as CentryLink’s acquisition of Savvis and Verizon of Terremark. This is why I am so excited about the Appcore solution. The Appcore platform is designed to enable service providers to offer cloud services and applications to their customers. The Appcore platform is designed from the ground up to be a service provider owned and operated infrastructure stack with end user products and services (geared toward SME and enterprise customers) pre-built into the system via an enterprise app store and easy to use provisioning and orchestration front-end. Appcore’s solution allows our telecom service providers and datacenter customers to be selling a fully branded public/private cloud product set on infrastructure that they own to their end user customers in 45 days.
The flagship Appcore product is called Appcore AMP for “Automation Management Platform”. The AMP product automates the deployment, management and orchestration of compute, storage and applications for enterprise private clouds and service provider public clouds. The AMP software stack is technology agnostic (hardware, hypervisor, storage type, etc), allows for granular management at the VM level and includes bare metal and virtualized server integration all through a single interface to multiple clouds and zones. From a deployment perspective, the Appcore solution is delivered in three modes: as a fully integrated hardware/software bundle that we ship in half rack or full rack deployments; as a 2U software appliance that manages customer owned equipment; or as a fully outsourced white label solution. As we like to say, we can deploy AMP on “your hardware, our hardware or no hardware.” The multi-zone orchestration capabilities of AMP mean that hybrid deployments are seamless. In fact we have multiple customers who have an Appcore deployment with Zone 1 on their premise and Zone 2 at our datacenter facility in the MidWest US. Under the hood, AMP leverages Cloudstack, Openstack and Puppet with a large amount of proprietary code and intelligence.
Already, several of the telcos that I spoke to about cloud services in 2011 have become Appcore customers. The attraction of the Appcore solution is not just the elegant technical capabilities of the system, but the completeness of the Appcore solution. Appcore has really thought through how to enable service providers to be successful at selling cloud to their end-user customers. This is why the Appcore tagline is, “Appcore – the business of cloud computing.” Appcore has developed an extensive video training library for operations, sales and marketing, created generic marketing and product collateral, and provides extensive onsite training. Why? Simple, the better Appcore customers get at selling cloud, the more infrastructure they will consume, and the more money both parties make. Appcore has a strong incentive to make their customers successful, unlike other products that are focused on onetime license or hardware sales. I’m excited to be working with Appcore and strongly believe that this type of approach will allow telecom service providers, MSPs and data center operators to enter the business of cloud computing.