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NetApp swallows Icelandic cloud management software biz

Greenqloud’s QStack becomes gets NetApp-ed

By Chris Mellor, 18 Aug 2017

NetApp has made one of its relatively rare acquisitions – this time an Icelandic cloud management software house called Greenqloud with its Qstack product.

In the latest earnings call, NetApp CEO George Kurian said: “At the start of Q2, we acquired Greenqloud, a private startup company that created a cloud services, orchestration and management platform for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. Greenqloud augments our team and accelerates our leadership in hybrid services by providing NetApp with the scalable architecture, unique technology and expertise that enhances our ability to integrate and deliver cloud data services.”

The acquisition was not large enough to classed as significant financially. Greenqloud’s founding and funding history is this:

  • 2010 - founded in Reyjavik, Iceland, by Eirikur Hrafnsson and Tryggvi Larusson,
  • 2014 - undisclosed venture funding,
  • 2015 - Kr10 million grant,
  • 2016 - Kr15 million grant in March,
  • 2016 - $4m privately invested by Kelly Ireland.

A Króna these days is worth about 0.9 US cents so the money poured into Greenqloud so far will be very small financial potatoes for NetApp, which may not have paid much more than $10m to $15m, in our view.

Greenqloud’s CEO was Jonsi Stefansson, who became head chief in 2014 after being a board member. Tryggvi Larusson was CTO and Eirikur Hrafnsson, based in the Seattle area, was the COO. The EMEA headquarters are in Reyjavik, Iceland, with the US office located in Kirkland, Washington, just across Lake Washington from Seattle.

Stefansson is now VP for Cloud Services at NetApp, with Hrafnsson being a Technical Director.

Greenqloud, now branding itself Qstack, was started up as a public cloud provider. It developed technology to deploy private, hybrid or public clouds and shipped a hardware/software product, positioning itself as an infrastructure as a service company. This was switched to a software-only focus on the Qstack on-premises cloud management (meaning IaaS and infrastructure management) product after Stefansson became the CEO.

Qstack was first shipped in 2015 and developed a public cloud capability as well as multi-cloud management through a single pane of glass.

The company developed Qstack partnerships with Microsoft, VMWare, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Netapp and Hitachi – indicating it had a lot of enterprise credibility.

Qstack features:

  • Self-service web console,
  • Industry-standard API controls for automation of IT services,
  • Multiple hypervisor support; VMWare, KVM, HyperV and Xen,
  • Customizable,
  • Deployable as a stand-alone private cloud with hybrid cloud features to manage multiple datacenter locations or public clouds,
  • Kubernetes support,
  • Intel DCM (Data Center Manager) support,
  • Hardware agnostic, support x86 x64 platforms,
  • Proprietary software plus hardened open-source components.

Investor and board member Kelly Ireland said: “Qstack showcases not only their ability to innovate quickly but also their clear understanding from the beginning that OpenStack would not provide all the needed functions to deliver a true infrastructure management framework.”

The company she runs, systems integrator CB Technologies, has adopted Qstack as its cloud management product and has deployed it in within its CLOUD@scale (Managed private cloud offering) facility at Switch's SuperNAP facility in Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

NetApp has bought itself a hybrid cloud deployment and management platform that can be slotted in quickly as part of its Data Fabric strategy and integrated with its OnCommand ONTAP array management software. There should be no Spinnaker type delays here. ®

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