Azul Pegs Pegasus

Data center startup takes the wraps off its first customer and reveals its partner plans

August 18, 2005

3 Min Read
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Data center startup Azul Systems. has finally named its first customer: hotel bookings company Pegasus Solutions Inc., although its other early adopters (and its funding) remain shrouded in mystery (see Pegasus Chooses Azul).

Azul offers the Compute Appliance, a device that offloads server processing of Java applications. But even though it claims disruptive technology, lack of customer credibility has been cited as a major hurdle for the startup (see Azul to Launch Virtual Java Box).

Now that may change. Shahin Khan, Azuls chief marketing officer, says the company now has “a healthy double-digit number of engagements” with “some very big names." Although Khan would not provide those names, he says they are in the likes of financial services, telecom, travel, entertainment, transportation, and the automotive industries. In the coming months, more will be revealed.

Khan would not reveal the value of Azul’s deal with Pegasus, nor would he confirm how many Compute Appliances the company is using to support its 60,000 client hotels.

Some of Azul's reticence could be owing to users being publicity-shy about their adoption of new technologies. The company's gear certainly qualifies: Traditionally, IT has added additional processing capacity to servers to cope with peaks and troughs when dealing with Java-based applications. However, Azul now redirects these workloads to its devices, freeing up data center servers (see Azul Attacks Data Center Apps, Azul Unveils Compute Appliances, and Building Virtual Empires).Khan admits that some IT managers are wary of change, although he says that the Compute Appliances can be slotted into a data center within 30 minutes. “You don’t have to change your existing applications,” he says. "The system is as easy to put in as it is to take out.”

But customers are not the only thing on Azul's agenda. Today the company announced that JBoss Inc. has certified interoperability between its middleware products and Azul’s Compute Appliances (see Azul Named Certified Solution). Similar to existing agreements with BEA Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BEAS) and Caucho Technology Inc., JBoss and Azul will also sell each other’s products (see BEA Supports Azul Appliances).

Khan tells NDCF that Azul is keen to add to this list. The startup, he says, is currently looking for similar relationships with major Java players IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM), Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Azul is also looking to clinch a partnership with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) around the software giant’s .NET technology for Web services. “We have been pursuing that,” says Khan. “Microsoft .NET is emerging, particularly in the enterprise space.”

Azul was founded in April 2002 by Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) execs Gil Tene and Shyam Pillalamarri, along with Scott Sellers, the man behind graphics processor company 3dfx Interactive. The company is headed by CEO Stephen DeWitt, former vice president and general manager of Content Delivery and Edge Computing for Sun.Azul is backed by venture capital firms Accel Partners, Austin Ventures, ComVentures, Redpoint Ventures, and WorldView Technology Partners, although the company is unwilling to divulge exactly how much funding it has so far received.

— James Rogers, Site Editor, Next-Gen Data Center Forum

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