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Startup looks to become ‘lingua franca’ of the cloud

Most of the time when concepts come along like the cloud, they’re discussed first from a 30,000 foot, theoretical point of view. As they take shape, though, pragmatic nuances come into play. After looking at a map, you still have to get from point A to point B.

The wider economy is dampening some appetites for innovation, but the cloud is rolling on, and new companies are popping up to solve some of the new logistical problems presented by its evolution. For one thing, the frailties of today’s Internet networks have come up a lot in more pragmatic discussions of the cloud. While companies like EMC and Sun are offering advanced kits to service providers, customers still face limited bandwidth and at times lossy networks getting their data uploaded to the cloud.

I met with one new company looking to address these issues last week. Called Linxter, it’s looking to sell software to service providers that places an agent at each end of the wire between cloud and customer. The software agent for the customer side would be embedded into whatever software the service provider already has them use. These dual software agents then can act as a kind of universal adapter for sending data over the network to the cloud data center, reducing protocol chatter, improving latency, allowing for on-demand and scheduled sending and receiving of data. They automatically re-transmit data if a connection is lost, picking back up where the transmission dropped off. This can be key for sending backup streams to the cloud, for example. The software will also be pre-packaged with various devices so that cloud service providers don’t have to re-engineer software for each new endpoint.

According to founder and CEO Jason Milgram, the product’s third public beta was released Oct. 3. The first commercial release will be available on the company’s website in mid-December. “The communication layer is a very high level skill set, and our company has those skills,” Milgram said. “Our technology takes care of the complexity.”

To date the company has been funded to the tune of $3 million byt angel investors and is pursuing a channel/partner sales strategy. Milgram couldn’t name any partners, but said there will be at least 10 listed once the commercial release comes out. So far of the approximately 50 public betas, most are systems integrators and ISVs. There have been at least 300 downloads of the Linxter middleware since May, he said.

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