Once your company gets to the point where you decide to move out of the comforting safety of a public cloud like AWS and set up your own infrastructure, things get rather complicated. You have to choose a data center (or two) and your network and exchange providers, for example, and chances are your team isn’t fully up to speed on how to buy these kinds of infrastructure services.
Inflect, which is launching in preview today, wants to make this whole process easier. The San Francisco-based company is targeting the kind of company that grew up in the public cloud and now needs to move at least some of its services to a private cloud, either because that’s cheaper or because it has very specialized needs. “One-size-fits-all solutions don’t work for the lucky few,” Inflect COO Charles Stewart told me. “And when they hit this inflection point in their growth, they have this rude surprise.”
Traditionally, data and telco are bought manually. You have to sift through lots of information, verify it, and then go through a very traditional sales process. This can be a major drag on productivity for a company’s infrastructure team.
The idea behind Inflect is to offer these companies a single, neutral tool that allows them to find the right solutions for them and connect them with the right infrastructure providers.
Stewart stressed the fact that Inflect wants to be neutral. The service, which aggregates its data from a wide variety of sources, wants to help its users make informed decisions but leaves those decisions up to its users. Indeed, the service itself is free for the time being, though the plan is to monetize it by allowing buyers to directly buy these services on its platform in the future.
All of this seems like such a straightforward proposition that it’s surprising that this isn’t a solved problem yet. The team argues that the main barrier to entry here is acquiring all the data from service providers who often don’t even have an easy way to access this data themselves. If they have it, the service providers are often hesitant to give this data out to and unless there is a service at the other end, there’s no motivation for them to even make this data available programmatically through an API (which is something Inflect hopes to change). The Inflect team already had very strong ties to the telco industry, which probably helped it to get data that others weren’t necessarily able to get. In addition, it’s also using data from PeeringDB.
For now, Inflect focuses on companies that are coming from Amazon’s AWS platform and want to augment that with their own servers (and who need to have fast connections back to AWS). Over time, the team will add support for other platforms as well. Users can upload information about their existing infrastructure to Inflect, tag it and the service can then map other solutions on top of this.
So far, the Inflect team has raised $2 million in seed money. The plan is to use this to launch the service into general availability by the end of the third quarter of this year and then raise more money to expand its service.