How EasyStack and 99Cloud are scaling new heights far from Silicon Valley.

While Silicon Valley may be home to many large tech companies and thousands of startups, innovation reaches far beyond its borders. Here’s more on how these startups are using OpenStack.

EasyStack

UPDATE: January 11, 2017

EasyStack raised a $50 million Series C round, setting a new single-round record in China for open source. The OpenStack service provider will use the funds to fuel core open-source research and development and enterprise cloud services.

“China is one of the most active areas for OpenStack and many Chinese companies including EasyStack are making great contributions to the community,” says Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation. “The Series C investment is a big milestone for EasyStack and I believe OpenStack will grow fast with the support of successful OpenStack companies and users.”

EasyStack is a leading OpenStack service provider in Asia that counts over 100 enterprise customers, contributions to the Mitaka release and OpenStack Foundation Gold Member status among its accomplishments.

“How to translate all of this into a solid global branding and enable company global market extension is more challenging, however, than for our Silicon Valley peers,” says Robert Wen, marketing director. Wen also cites the large scale and technical challenges in OpenStack deployments in China as well as the time difference and language barriers that make it difficult for EasyStack’s engineers to collaborate and contribute code.

On the plus side, Wen says EasyStack’s large enterprise customers implementing OpenStack in production includes many Fortune 500 companies like State Grid, China Mobile, China Telecom, Postal Savings Bank of China and Lenovo. He summarizes its “simple but powerful” strategy in three points:

  • Deliver value by understanding large enterprise businesses and enabling their innovation, rather than focus-ing on your product just to survive.
  • Position EasyStack as a trusted partner rather than a vendor selling a license or service.
  • Work with the ecosystem and community—never fight alone.

99Cloud

A rapidly growing startup founded in 2012 and one of the OpenStack Foundation’s newest Gold Members, Kai says 99Cloud currently has five core members in different OpenStack projects, underlining its dedication to contributions.Kai says there are three overarching challenges in China: fewer startup buyouts, building differentiation and finding and growing talent. “From day one we knew we needed a long-term survival strategy; this year we’re at the break-even point,” Kai says. That translated to a focus on building differentiation in solutions and service models. For example, they have homed in on plug-in development to fill the gaps between community distro and clients needs, “key pain points during Open-Stack adoption,” Kai says. They also focused on injecting more “vertical industry DNA into OpenStack” for customers with solutions for China Central Bank, China UnionPay and JinZheng.  The company also delivers a cloud to State Grid that will offer electricity to 90 percent of China by the end of 2017.

The advantages, Kai says, are also many.

“China is still one of the most Open-Stack-friendly markets for startups,” says Li Kai, co-founder and vice president, adding that there are three main types of clients. The largest is government cloud or state-run companies who prefer private clouds over public clouds due to information security concerns and customization needs. Then there are traditional companies—banks, for example such as its client China UnionPay—who look to open source technologies for lower costs, better scalability and higher performance. The third are internet companies building community clouds such as ZBJ.com, China’s top crowd-sourcing platform, where 99Cloud supports billions of transactions.

Kai outlined 99Cloud’s strategy for success in four points:

  • Talk is cheap, show clients more code and demos.
  • Don’t push the cloud product—be a “cloud coach” and design the solution with clients.
  • Avoiding vendor lock-in is not just a slogan; show clients it’s doable.
  • Focus on the last kilometer issue during adoption over distros. Community releases are not perfect, tell clients the truth. Let them know what’s mature and immature and provide provide alternatives if necessary.

EasyStack

UPDATE: January 11, 2017

EasyStack raised $50 million Series C round, setting a new single round record in China for open source.  The OpenStack service provider will use the funds to fuel core open-source research and development and enterprise cloud services.

“China is one of the most active areas for OpenStack and many Chinese companies including EasyStack are making great contributions to the community,” says Jonathan Bryce, executive director of the OpenStack Foundation. “The Series C investment is a big milestone for EasyStack and I believe OpenStack will grow fast with the support of successful OpenStack companies and users.”

EasyStack is a leading OpenStack service provider in Asia that counts over 100 enterprise customers, contributions to the Mitaka release and OpenStack Foundation Gold Member status among its accomplishments.

“How to translate all of this into a solid global branding and enable company global market extension is more challenging, however, than for our Silicon Valley peers,” says Robert Wen, marketing director. Wen also cites the large scale and technical challenges in OpenStack deployments in China as well as the time difference and language barriers that make it difficult for EasyStack’s engineers to collaborate and contribute code.

On the plus side, Wen says EasyStack’s large enterprise customers implementing OpenStack in production includes many Fortune 500 companies like State Grid, China Mobile, China Telecom, Postal Savings Bank of China and Lenovo. He summarizes its “simple but powerful” strategy in three points:

  • Deliver value by understanding large enterprise businesses and enabling their innovation, rather than focus-ing on your product just to survive.
  • Position EasyStack as a trusted partner rather than a vendor selling a license or service.
  • Work with the ecosystem and community—never fight alone.

This article first appeared in the print edition of Superuser magazine, distributed at the Barcelona Summit. If you’d like to contribute to the next one, get in touch: [email protected]

Cover Photo // CC BY NC

https://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/7391133386/ // CC BY