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|Articles - May 2014|
|Monday, April 28, 2014|
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Puppet Labs, which Kersten left Google to join in 2011, has emerged as a leader among Oregon businesses making those resources more effective. Last year the firm more than doubled its Portland-based staff, along with its sales, as companies like Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America and REI put Puppet Labs’ software to use. Puppet Labs’ products automate tasks such as configuring new servers, implementing software updates and many other repetitive IT duties that can eat up a system administrator’s time and limit how fast a digital product can deploy. For many clients, Kersten says, it has created efficiencies that cut the timeline for launching new applications from a year or more to mere days or weeks.
That kind of automation will become increasingly critical to manage the crush of information created online every day. Cisco has forecast that global data-center traffic will triple between 2012 and 2017, when cloud applications are expected to represent two-thirds of that activity.
The ongoing migration of IT tasks to the cloud will raise its own set of challenges for managers, says Mat Ellis, founder of Portland startup Cloudability. He offers up an analogy: a vertically integrated pencil manufacturer that transitioned from ownership of graphite mines and sawmills to a company that purchases its raw materials on the open market and works with dozens of suppliers to handle everything outside the final-product assembly. As with outsourcing physical tasks, companies that turn to online businesses for IT services will have to develop new ways to integrate vendors, monitor costs and ensure quality.
“A new set of tools and processes have to bubble up, and it’s very similar to the challenges businesses had when they stopped owning every part of their supply chain,” he says. Ellis, a U.K. native, recounts how he moved to the Portland area during the recession to be closer to his wife’s family after the arrival of their second child. He started consulting to pay the bills and discovered that his large clients had only a loose grasp of where their spending for Amazon AWS and other cloud providers went. That prompted him to write a cost-tracking program that would become Cloudability, which Ellis says reveals efficiencies that frequently cut users’ cloud spending by one-fifth or more.
In the three years since Cloudability formed, the startup has grown to 27 employees, raised about $10 million in capital and now monitors nearly $1 billion in spending on behalf of its customers. That rapid expansion happened, in part, thanks to Ellis’ own use of the cloud to grow.
“It’s easier than ever to start up a company. This is my fifth one, and on the previous four we had to go spend $1 million to $2 million to get into a data center,” he says. “Now you can just plug in a credit card and pay $0.80 an hour.”
Other cloud-centered companies in Oregon include Elemental Technologies, which lets media outlets such as the BBC and ESPN process video streams in the cloud before they’re delivered to viewers. Portland also hosts most of the research and development team for San Francisco-based New Relic, which enables real-time performance monitoring and business analytics for app developers. It quadrupled the size of its office space downtown in 2012.
Thursday, October 02, 2014
More than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN
Meetings get a bad rap. A few local companies make them count.
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Most smartphones come equipped with speech recognition systems like Siri or Cortana that are capable of understanding the human voice and putting words into actions. But what if smartphones could do more? What if smartphones could register feeling?
Wednesday, October 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
A Design Week panel discussion raises questions about how innovative we really are.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.
Friday, October 24, 2014
How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!
Friday, November 14, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Oregon entrepreneurs reveal their favorite caffeine hangouts.
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