RealTime IT News

Andreessen's Loudcloud Launches in Europe

[London, ENGLAND] Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen has taken "intelligent hosting" across the Atlantic with the Wednesday launch of his Loudcloud venture in Europe.

Formed by Andreessen with a group of former Netscape/AOL executives in September last year, Loudcloud offers a fully managed IT infrastructure service to support Fortune 2000 companies, application service providers and e-commerce ventures.

Chief Executive Ben Horowitz outlined to journalists what he considered to be the advantages of Loudcloud's so-called Smart Cloud services.

"Our services are designed to help companies get to market faster than they would otherwise be able to do," said Horowitz.

Using its proprietary Opsware automation technology, Loudcloud believes it can provide the kind of high-quality, scalable Internet operations that businesses require, while removing the need for in-house expertise and all the expense incurred acquiring it.

However, Andreessen and his colleagues may well find that the market in Europe has advanced a long way since the early days of the Internet when Netscape was king. Europe abounds in infrastructure services, with city rings, hosting centers and outsourced, fully managed solutions frequently being launched in the U.K., Germany, and France.

For example, Demon Internet founder Cliff Stanford -- one of the pioneers of the Internet in the U.K. -- has backed such ventures as Redbus Interhouse Ltd., which offers managed hosting facilities in London and Paris.

Andreessen, Horowitz, and their colleague Tim Howes and In Sik Rhee believe they are taking the idea of outsourced hosting one stage further, introducing more automation, and offering dynamic scaling, full redundancy and disaster recovery.

The Loudcloud Operational Environment is backed by a 100 percent scheduled uptime guarantee -- a factor that may well be seen as important by European e-commerce companies. On Tuesday night, even Amazon was hit with a short period of downtime on its European sites in the U.K., France and Germany, causing inconvenience to customers in what is intended to be a very customer-oriented business.