Morphlabs launches mCloud, secures $5.5M in Round B funding

Morphlabs is a US startup founded in 2007 by Winston Damarillo (CEO) and Guy Naor (CTO).
Damarillo founded a number of other startups (some acquired by IBM, Iona and Intalio) and he’s currently busy as Chairman also at G2iX and Exist Engineering, but most importantly he has been a venture capital executive at Intel Capital.

Morphlabs’ flagship product, mCloud, has been launched in April. It’s a management platform for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. Anyway the product is not meant to control and extend an existing virtual infrastructure by managing all its virtual machines. It’s rather a full computing stack that orchestrates the deployment of a large amount of predefined VMs, to realize a cloud-in-a-box platform.
Such Linux VMs come preconfigured with a specific Linux distribution and specific applications: Ruby on Rails, Java, PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Solr and ActiveMQ are the predefined templates at the moment, but customers can create their own templates.

mCloud leverages the open source automation and configuration management framework Puppet. Puppet currently supports only Linux operating systems, despite that Morphlabs managed to support Windows guest operating systems inside the recently released mCloud Controller 2.1.
mCloud also leverages the open source monitoring framework Nagios. Morphlabs developed an API for it to track virtual machines specific values like the vCPU or the vRAM load. 
It’s not clear what hypervisor or virtual infrastructure the product currently supports but considering the strong focus on open source it’s either Xen or KVM.

As expected from a IaaS cloud management solution, mCloud provides basic virtual infrastructure management, dynamic resource management, high availability, self-service provisioning, virtual machine library, automation, backup, metering and billing and more. And it supports multi-tenancy.

Morphlabs claims that its product can scale up to thousands managed virtual machines and it’s approach seems similar to the one of another IaaS cloud management startup that recently launched: Nimbula. But while Nimbula is trying to offer an on-premises clone of Amazon EC2, Morphlabs goes further, offering control of the application layer too.

First of all, mCloud uses a technology called Morph Application Platform (MAP) to turn the Java, PHP or Ruby-on-Rails virtual machines into a PaaS cloud.
On top of that, customers can deploy their applications inside the cloud using versioning systems like CVS, Subversion, GIT, Mercurial, etc.
The uploaded applications can be automatically clustered by Controller, is the administrator asks to deploy multiple instances of them.
Everything is continuously backed up and point-in-time recovery is available for the previous 90 days.

mCloud is available for on-premises installation or as a hosted solution (mCloud On Demand).
The on-premises version ships within a hardware appliance and comes in two sizes: a two 1U rackmount servers (this version is what Morphlabs calls mCloud Controller) and an IBM Blade Center S Platform (the mCloud Server).
The Controller, which doesn’t host the virtual machines itself, can manage over 5,000 VMs.
The Server instead is meant to serve the VMs too and comes with an entry-level solution that hosts 100 VMs.

The company secured a first round of funding in March 2008 for $1.5M, led by AO Capital Partners and CSK Venture Capital. Today the company announces its second round: a $5.5M investment led by Global Gateway Investment Group and Frontera Group.

Damarillo is from Philippines and CSK Venture Capital is the investment arm of the Japanese CSK Group. So it doesn’t surprise much that Morphlabs is using part of this new round to start its operations in Asia and open its subsidiary in Japan.