Who They Are
There’s no shortage of startups looking to help companies optimize their cloud spending. A common approach is to offer analysis and recommendations for more cost-efficient use of the big cloud vendors’ services.
One new entrant in this space, Rising Cloud, aims to lower cloud costs in a different way: by replacing the big three cloud providers — Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud — with what it positions as a faster, more affordable alternative.
In total, all these upstarts have a message that undoubtedly resonates with business executives more than ever today, when every penny going out the door is under scrutiny.
Rising Cloud positions the Big 3 “hyperscalers” as overpriced, overly complex, and inflexible legacy providers. Their deficiencies, according to Rising Cloud, include:
- Performance: They’re slower than running applications on-premises.
- Complexity: They require developers to select memory, CPU, and more.
- Availability: They’re complex and costly to set up for high availability and reliability.
- Costs: They’re expensive and costs aren’t limited explicitly to a customer’s amount of usage.
- Transparency: They don’t provide visibility into why customers are incurring the costs they are.
“They all have a lot of pain points they have not remedied, and they’ve made things more complex in the past decade,” says Sean Brown, head of product for Rising Cloud. Brown joined the company after a lengthy career at IBM.
Based in the Phoenix area, Rising Cloud has 12 employees and is bootstrapped by its founders.
What They Do
Rising Cloud’s artificial intelligence (AI)-based “Workload-as-a-Service” model contrasts with the public-cloud hypervisors that impact performance by virtualizing physical servers. Rising Cloud runs code on bare metal for optimal performance, allocating a physical server for the time an application or job needs to run, then moves on to the next job, Brown explains.
The company’s architecture is stateless, meaning it doesn’t store information and requests are forgotten. This allows more computing power to be dedicated to processing customer requests and no memory is consumed in dealing with old data. The company says it delivers 60% or more performance improvement vs. other clouds.
Rising Cloud refers to its approach as multi-cloud orchestration: Its software duplicates customers’ code across four cloud providers it currently works with: Vultr, Backblaze, Cycle, and Equinix. (It expects to add two more in the near term). With this approach, if one data center, one provider, or even an entire region goes down, processing continues, so customers benefit from greater reliability than they can get with a single provider.
Brown says that as far as the customers are concerned, their data and their applications operate in Rising Cloud’s cloud environment — they don’t see the data center providers that the company works with.
Customers “can give us a container or a serverless function and we replicate it across different servers and different regions. By default, we run across all those vendors. Customers don’t have to manage any of that.”Sean Brown, head of product, Rising Cloud
The company’s patented AI engine determines the resources needed for specific functions and allocates those resources. It also predicts when they will be needed and tees them up in advance. Once a job is completed, the resources move on to the next job. It scales up when needed and retracts when capacity isn’t needed to save money.
The resource allocation process offloads that function from developers, who don’t need to figure out and assign the required memory, CPU, location, and more.
Rising Cloud delivers big benefits for developers — namely, the Rising Cloud command line interface, or CLI, is a plug-in that runs in their existing CLI, letting developers work in their familiar environment. “It keeps the developer in the context of where they are,” Brown says.
The company is willing to put its money where its mouth is: One of its two pricing models pays it a 25% cut of the savings it realizes for customers — you’ll see how that looks in practice through a customer example below. The other model is purely usage-based, working out to 10-12 cents per hour. You can calculate your expected savings through the company’s site.
Rising Cloud addresses the transparency flaw that it attaches to the big cloud providers with a dashboard that shows customers exactly how much it costs the company to run customers’ workloads and, therefore, how much the customer pays.
To this point, the company, which is about 18 months old, has primarily served two types of customers: development shops that build their apps on Rising Cloud and customers with existing cloud platforms. Those latter customers tend to migrate from their existing environment one application or function at a time on a staged basis, Brown says. “You’re just decoupling the microservice,” he says. “You do one, get an understanding of how it works, and go from there.”
Rising Cloud uses a direct selling model but is planning to build a channel model in the future.
Who They’ve Impacted
Multus Medical, which develops 3D MRI rendering and animation that uses predictive analytics to scale, is affiliated with Rising Cloud (both companies have common leadership); the Rising Cloud technology was developed specifically to benefit Multus, then productized for other customers.
The medical firm was spending about $2,200 a month on AWS services that were underutilized during its constant uptime. However, physicians and law firms involved with cases need a quick turnaround from Multus, which ruled out the option of stretching workloads over time.
Rising Cloud’s predictive AI was able to automatically spin down servers when not in use, but also automatically spin up servers whenever that capacity was needed.
Rising Cloud provides Multus with immediate visibility over its cloud compute usage and provides automatic forecasting and adjustments of its cloud compute usage throughout the day through its customer dashboard.
Multus reduced its costs from $2,200 per month with AWS to about $300 in the Rising Cloud model — that’s close to a 90% cost reduction. At other times, the reduction has been over 95%.
The Future and Closing Thoughts
Rising Cloud has established an audacious goal to unseat the Big 3 cloud hyperscalers. The current economic environment, which has CXOs looking at every expenditure and seeking ways to do things more efficiently, creates at least one opening for a company of Rising Cloud’s ilk.
Its measured approach to customer migrations — namely, try one app, see how it performs, and then migrate more — is sensible given the challenges that any vendor faces in unseating an incumbent.
The company’s biggest challenge may be getting its foot in the door with large customers where the Big 3 are entrenched. But if they do, Rising Cloud’s architecture and cost-saving messages could strike a chord.
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