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Loudcloud Shows Off Its Smarts

Looking to attract corporate customers, Netscape co-founder and Mosaic creator Marc Andreessen's Loudcloud (Nasdaq: LDCL) is making several announcements this week that the company says will give it a competitive advantage in the Internet outsourcing sector.

Executives from the Sunnyvale-based company Tuesday were in New York to launch its "Integration Smart Cloud" as a subscription model . The new Web-based service, due out by June, manages a customer's back-end platforms and is designed to work with the Loudcloud's new core automation technology, known as Opsware 2i.

The new core lets Loudcloud's Internet outsourcing service to be offered within a customer's existing data center instead of using outside data centers such as Exodus or AT&T. Currently, Opsware 2i is in the pilot stage.

"We are simplifying the process by turning technology integration into a service available to all Loudcloud customers," says Loudcloud CTO Tim Howes. "Now a company can focus on creating new applications based on this vast wealth of data, rather than being distracted by trying to manage the integration of the infrastructure itself."

The first version of the Integration Smart Cloud service is based on message queuing technology that allows data between different types of computing systems talk to eachother. The service uses technologies from outside vendors such as BEA Systems, TIBCO Software, and webMethods. The service can then either expand or contract depending on a corporation's needs.

For example, an online banking application could send a fund transfer request to the back-end banking system, which actually performs the transaction, without duplication, loss or corruption.

Holding Hands

In addition to launching a new service, Loudcloud also says it has worked out a preferred partnership with New York-based iFormation Group. The deal means that up and coming businesses working with iFormation's partners (The Boston Consulting Group, General Atlantic Partners and Goldman Sachs) will automatically get access to Loudcloud services.

Since its initial public offering (IPO) last month, Loudcloud has made deals with other companies like Jamcracker and Accenture to help its clients speed production and cut costs.

"Ford Motor company says they shaved one-fifth off their operating costs because of us," says Loudcloud VP of Marketing Scott Dunlap.

Loudcloud says it has also completed a certification and branding program from Palo Alto-based networking giant Sun Microsystems (Nasdaq: SUNW).

Some analysts say the partnerships and new services are a way for Loudcloud to outpace its competition.

"It's similar to the situation with Microsoft Windows," says Mark Langner, an analyst with Epoch Partners. "Right now it would take a lot of resources to come up with a solution that has more features than Windows. By making all these announcements, Loudcloud is basically trying to give itself more of a footprint."



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