Sheng Liang, a cloud computing pioneer who helped found Cloud.com, was quick to clarify reports that he dubbed incumbents in the cloud ecosystem such as Google and Amazon “irrelevant” and “last generation” this week.
The bold words come off the back of Liang discussing his latest venture, Rancher Labs, which aims to provide a differentiated way to create cloud services in a stable local environment.
Joining Liang as CEO is Director of Engineering Will Chan. Both recently had a $10m funding round for their software containment.
Citrix paid $200m for Liang and Chan’s Cloud.com back in 2011.
While the traditional consumption of cloud services is increasingly ubiquitous, their creation is not, with multiple platforms and development environments. Liang aims to change that with “a piece of software people voluntarily use,” effectively leapfrogging many of the reasons for electing to use any one specific cloud vendor.
Not weak, nor irrelevant
“I don’t want to disrupt the incumbents, but I think abstracting the infrastructure is a good idea,” said Liang. “The only sure thing that kills a startup is being too early to market.”
However, despite the slew of red-rag-to-bull headlines linking Amazon and Google to the comments, it may not be all David-and-Goliath bravado. Liang was quick to clarify his words in a follow-up statement which acknowledged Google’s pre-eminent open-source container management, Kubernetes:
“I have never thought Google and Amazon were in any sense weak or irrelevant. To the contrary, both Google and Amazon have continuously innovated to stay ahead the curve so they do not get disrupted, and both have been early and strong supporters of container technology.
“Google, in particular, invented much of the underlying technologies for containers. Their Kubernetes platform is one of the most popular multi-cloud container orchestration platforms. At Rancher Labs, we take a lot of inspiration from what Google and Amazon do, and while we do believe containers will play a big role in changing the way clouds are consumed, we develop our products by modeling what Google and Amazon do in house so that the rest of the industry can benefit.
“Again, I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear about this in any way, but I definitely wanted to clarify this point.”
So that’s all right then.