Cloud

SingleHop, a Chicago-based infrastructure-as-a-service startup that manages some 12,000 servers for 5,000 clients, is today launching the SingleHop Public Cloud service. The service will allow SingleHop customers to utilize the VMWare cloud platform without having to deal with all of the technical aspects of its back-end — SingleHop is essentially selling a more convenient interface for VMWare’s “cloud.”

“Our goal with re-launching our public cloud offering is, we wanted to rely on VMWare’s awesome, enterprise-level, low-grade platform, but also keep the simplicity of our LEAP Control Panel intact,” Marc Bollinger, the product manager in charge of SingleHop’s Public Cloud service, says. “VMWare can be very powerful but it can also be mind-blowing if you try to go in there on your own.”

Customers are able to move to the SingleHop Public Cloud to handle large spikes in traffic, and are charged on an hourly or monthly rate. This could allow someone to weather increased traffic from Reddit or Hacker News, for example, or any other unexpected traffic spike. They simply set certain parameters — if “X” happens, do “Y” until it’s no longer necessary, for example — and SingleHop handles the rest.

SingleHop co-founder and CMO Dan Ushman offered one example of another Chicago-based startup that asked SingleHop to make sure their website would withstand the traffic after the company’s product appeared on a television show. With the Public Cloud service, this would have been as easy as setting a few parameters and forgetting about it — as it was, Ushman says that because the customer was using a dedicated server, getting everything ready took “a lot of legwork.”

Ushman says that the LEAP Control Panel, and the mobile access it affords customers, is one of the company’s most important selling points. Breaking the chains between a technician and his laptop allows SingleHop customers to manage their servers while going about their business, transforming what could have been a “Sorry, honey, I’ve got to go deal with something for work” into “Sorry, I’ll put my phone away in two seconds, just gotta deal with something real quick.” (Whether this is a good thing or not depends on how you view that “work-life balance” thing. Or how much your significant other hates you being attached to your phone.)

The LEAP Control Panel is available via native applications for iOS and Android devices, and a Web-based app is available for other platforms. Ushman says that LEAP, like other aspects of SingleHop’s service, was built specifically to allow re-sellers to pass the benefits of using SingleHop onto their own customers. Everything, from the mobile apps to the rest of the service, can be white-labelled and used to “sweeten the pot,” as it were.

SingleHop raised a $27.5 million Series A funding round last year, and Ushman says that the company’s goal for 2013 is “geographic expansion.” The company has been “pretty quiet” since its founding in 2006, and plans to open a data center in Europe “soon.”

[Image courtesy of linh.ngan on Flickr]