CliQr, with Google backing, puts legacy apps into the cloud

Most platforms as a service aim to help developers write new cloud-based applications. Startup CliQr Technologies is more interested in putting the applications that already run businesses into that business’s cloud of choice.
The Palo Alto, Calif. startup, which is emerging from stealth with $1 million in seed funding from Google Ventures and Foundation Capital, was co-founded by VMware (S vmw) vet Gaurav Manglik who is CEO.
“CliQr’s Cloud Center will run your apps on one or more clouds and companies don’t have to change their apps to do so,”Manglik said in an interview Monday.
Perhaps as importantly, it claims to enable those X86 Windows and Linux applications to be moved — without modification — from one cloud to another. Such cloud interoperability or the lack thereof was a hot topic of conversation at last week’s GigaOM Structure conference where Rackspace(s rax) president Lew Moorman warned (again) about potential for cloud lock-in when companies use higher end cloud services of Amazon(a amzn).
CliQr, which launches Tuesday, supports Amazon, Rackspace and Hewlett-Packard(s hpq) public clouds and OpenStack-based private clouds.

Secret sauce = orchestration layer

What CliQr is attempting here is to solve a big, complicated problem. “Our secret sauce is our core orchestrator technology — at the cloud and app level. This is common code that runs on every cloud that specs out how the cloud runs the app. From the application’s perspective, that abstracts out the cloud’s inner workings,” he said. “It’s more than abstracting out the APIs — we have to maintain the virtual machine images on each cloud and figure out the right way to do storage and cluster management,” Manglik said.
CliQr will not charge for migrating the apps to the cloud, but then will charge on a per user basis for managing those applications, maintaining their runtime, scaling and security.
A few companies are now attacking this legacy app problem with PaaSes. Red Hat’s(s rhat) OpenShift, which will be a topic at Red Hat Summit this week, is doing so in the enterprise Linux world.  Appcara and Appzero are also attacking aspects of this problem. ActiveState’s Stackato 2.0 release will move existing .NET applications to the cloud as well.
“It’s an open question if companies will move their big, heavy custom-built legacy applications to the cloud and these [CliQr] guys are focusing on an easy on-boarding process to put those apps into the cloud and then make sure you get your money’s worth when they’re up there,” said Dave Bartorelli, lead analyst for Forrester Research.