Rackspace Launches SaaS Marketplace
Rackspace launched its Cloud Tools Marketplace this week, which aims to let its customers find and subscribe to any number of SaaS offerings.
Cloud Tools is built on the marketplace platform of AppDirect. Rackspace describes the new marketplace as an upgrade, though until now the company effectively offered static listings of partners. Cloud Tools lets customers view demos such as videos and screen shots and allows them to subscribe to the services.
Among those on Cloud Tools are cloud management providers enStratus, RightScale, and ScaleXtreme; monitoring and reporting tools vendors Cloudability and New Relic; app deployment provider Standing Cloud; SaaS security operators CloudPassage, Dome9 and Still Secure; and E-mail provider SendGrid.
Rackspace's new marketplace lets customers tie these and other various SaaS offerings to their accounts and receive one bill for the use of those collective services, removing the need to subscribe individually to those services directly from the provider. Ven Shanmugam, Rackspace senior manager of corporate strategy says Cloud Tools will provide a more "seamless experience" for customers using its infrastructure as a service (IaaS) cloud offerings.
Cloud Tools also raises the visibility of AppDirect. Launched in 2009, AppDirect's marketplace lets providers of all types, ranging from telecom, system integrators and even retailers tie SaaS offerings to their respective service offerings. On top of this week's announcement that it is hosting Rackspace Cloud Tools (which will run on Rackspace Cloud), AppDirect disclosed an $8.5 million round of venture financing led by iNova Capital, which adds to last year's $3.25 million round.
While Rackspace is among the most prominent cloud provider AppDirect has signed on, it is also running marketplaces for mobile developer platform provider Appcelerator, Deutsch Telecom and Bell Canada. The company will be shortly announcing a major retail win as well, said AppDirect's co-founder and CEO Daniel Saks. Unlike app stores hosted by say Apple or even the forthcoming Microsoft Windows Store, Saks said his company's marketplace platform is suited to those looking to procure subscription-based SaaS services.
The AppDirect marketplace platform is built on a Java-based stack, supports RESTful APIs and enables authentication and authorization using OAuth and OpenID.
While AppDirect doesn't offer its own marketplace, it has partnerships with numerous SaaS providers such Docusign and Google. Those using the AppDirect platform can leverage those partnerships by offering them on their marketplaces, Saks explained. "Our vision was to create the fabric for the cloud that connects the developers of great applications to businesses through a network of app stores," he said.
Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.