RightScale Takes $4.5M for the Cloud

RightScale, a company acting as an easy front-end console for Amazon Web Services, has raised $4.5 million from Benchmark Capital. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based startup was formed in September 2007 to help companies provision and monitor the web services products offered by Amazon. With this funding it plans to build support for more ready-made programs, such as pre-packaged load balancing programs or automatic MySQL setup on AWS.

RightScale’s funding is good for the startup, and it continues the inexorable movement of cloud computing toward the enterprise. Cloud computing is making the same journey as software-as-a-service, which was first adopted at smaller companies and then made inroads at Fortune 500 firms. Companies like RightScale will help smooth the way for enterprises that need to worry about reliability, security and compliance.

Being able to easily provision and track cloud assets is an important step in getting enterprises on board. It’s still early days, but as Kevin Harvey, a general partner at Benchmark, points out, “Paying for compute power based on need is going to be almost so compelling that people who run their own data centers will feel foolish.”

I’m not sure every enterprise will feel that way, but the trend is obvious. Currently RightScale only supports deployments on Amazon’s cloud offerings, but CEO Michael Crandell expects the recent additions of persistent storage and some basic support will only help RightScale’s business, as it makes it more enterprise-friendly.

Sun Buys MySQL for $1B and Wall Street Mourns

Sun Microsystems said today it would pay $1 billion to buy privately held open-source database maker MySQL, a move that strengthens Sun’s ability to offer an alternative to proprietary software. The purchase, while smaller than the $8.5 billion Oracle-BEA deal that was also unveiled today, is notable because MySQL was a highly anticipated IPO candidate, and had long rebuffed suitors interested in buying it.
For other technology firms planning IPOs, the deal may be as welcome as a kick in the head. While 58 technology firms went public in the last 12 months, the market began to soften in the final quarter, with companies such as Classmates.com and Applied Precision pulling their plans for public offerings and only strong contenders, such as NetSuite, managing to make it out the door. Indeed, Peter Falvey, a managing director with tech investment bank Revolution Partners, says 2008 isn’t looking good for the tech IPO market. Read More about Sun Buys MySQL for $1B and Wall Street Mourns