I talked to Chris Purrington and Sam Mitchell from the London office of CohesiveFT, a small private company offering Cloud container solutions.

The company is 6 years old with 3 offices, as well as connections with developers in Belo Horizonte. Having just spent a day with IBM’s GTS I was interested to hear how CohesiveFT works with Smart Cloud Enterprise customers. While its offerings aren’t based on a single reference model, its offerings are positioned in the ‘Cloud consumer’ area on IBM’s.

It is firmly allied with movements towards Software Defined Networks (SDN), which have been much in the news following VMWare’s decision to acquire Nicira. CohesiveFT, along with Cloudswitch/Verizon and Citrix CloudBridge take an ‘application-centric’ approach, while others (VMware Nicira, Open vSwitch, Citrix Nexus 100v, IBM, Cisco and Juniper) use a ‘provider controlled’ model. Its advantage? – VNS3 customers can purchase, build and manage their own network appliances and can attest to it being something they’ve done themselves, which can be vital in meeting regulation.

Three offerings – SDN, server images and topology automation

CohesiveFT has three main offerings:

  • VNS3 – an SDN giving users control of address, protocol, topology and security for Cloud Computing, using a Bring Your Own Network (BYON) approach; its capabilities include mobility and agility by separating network location and identity, integrating the management of BYON and site-to-site IPsec connectivity and encrypted data-in-motion
  • Server3 – automation software allowing users to import, transform and deliver images to the leading virtual or cloud deployment targets
  • Context3 – ‘topology automation‘ allowing users to deploy application topologies to virtual/cloud environments – its most recent offering

The three can also be combined into something they describe (metaphorically) as a ‘secure Cloud container’ and it also offers Coalescence –  a tried and tested data center to cloud migration service. Its prices range from $150 per month for simple software defined network to up to $10k per month for its most advanced customers.

Customers and connections

Its latest version 3.0 of VNS3 is designed to run on Public Cloud services including Amazon, Cloud Sigma, ElasticHosts, Flexiant, IBM Smart Cloud, Rackspace and Terremark, Private Cloud services from Eucalyptus and OpenStack and on VMware, Citrix Xen and KVM virtual infrastructure.

The company has over 250 customers  with business systems in production in the cloud (including the UK government’s G-Cloud), deals with over 15 SIs using their technology to solve clients cloud problems s (such as IBM, Cap Gemini and a number of local specialist players) and over 5 ISV OEMs who embed its software to connect 100’s of clients securely.

It claims that 40 million device hours in public, private and hybrid Clouds have been secured by VNS3 and that 30k virtual server templates have been created by over 8,000 users with Server 3.

Experience and practical help for Cloud builders

For CohesiveFT SDN is a new name for an established concept: it should help raise the profile of it’s work, which is to make Cloud computing a reality for its customers through helping them create, deploy, secure and manage containers across private, hybrid and public Clouds. Its ‘application-centric’ approach gives them more control, especially in overcoming data jurisdiction and security issues – common barriers to entry for Cloud Computing. Its BYON approach makes it an infrastructure supplier, rather than contender for lowering the cost of networking itself. Nevertheless it is a small player with strong SDN credentials and one we will be watching closely.

Image credit: Martin Hingley

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