I received an email the other day inviting me to cover the international coming-out of Joviam, an Australian cloud company that is embarking on a mission to enter the US market.

Joviam offers a cloud platform for “technically-minded consumers and professionals who need powerful and flexible technology to create and run apps and digital services (think big data, app development and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications and fintech)” and, given that the US market is the most mature market for cloud infrastructure, it seems natural enough to think that Joviam would be attracted to the opportunity.

Well… it does until you realize that the three biggest public cloud platforms, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, are all based in the US, and have extensive footprints in that market. On top of the huge infrastructure base they have, they’re also incredibly well known and have billions to spend on marketing.

No matter, this is a big opportunity. After all research firm Statista expects North America’s cloud computing revenue to exceed AU$57.84 billion in 2017, with a forecast of AU$87.44bn for 2020.

And so today Joviam is announcing its US launch with plans to “tackle the industry heavyweights.” According to briefing materials, Joviam is addressing a gap in the market with its cloud technology and believes that it competes with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft and differentiates itself by offering high performance at a significantly lower price point.

I can’t even start to comprehend the folly of suggesting you’re an AWS or Azure breaker. But anyway.

So, let’s see what Joviam is saying to justify these lofty claims.

Joviam provides a cloud platform for technically-minded consumers and professionals who need a powerful and flexible platform to create and run apps and digital services, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This includes developers, systems administrators and SMBs (such as engineering companies and development houses). Joviam, which competes with the likes of Amazon Web Services and Microsoft, differentiates itself by bringing enterprise-grade cloud computing capabilities to the wider market. This is made possible by the InfiniBand technology which underpins the platform, enabling performance that is almost five times ahead of the market but at a significantly lower price point.

Hmmmm. Last time I looked there were about a gazillion SaaS applications available commercially, not to mention a massive number of internal enterprise apps. These are being built on the big three cloud platforms as well as a number of other clouds. I haven’t heard too many moans from developers that AWS or its ilk aren’t powerful enough for their needs. In terms of those claims about Infiniband being the secret sauce that puts them so far ahead of the competition, the Twitterverse had a field day on that one:

In terms of those claims about their ability to crucify the competition on price. Owen Rogers, a cloud analyst who spends his days (I kid you not) poring over cloud pricing matrices, had this to say:

In a fit of twisted confusion about what is actually going on in the marketplace. Joviam co-founder Gabriella Jarrett had this to say:

More importantly, our localisation in the US allows us to meet the demand for flexible enterprise-grade cloud computing that doesn’t force SMBs into lock-in scenarios. This means they can build their businesses with best-of-breed technologies that suit their operations, while also eliminating key concerns surrounding cloud computing – in the case of the US, latency, data sovereignty and compliance.

There’s just so much to unpick there. It’s an enterprise-grade cloud, but wait, it’s actually designed for SMBs. It avoids lock in, but again, there’s this thing called OpenStack that promises that. And then there’s the key concern around cloud computing in the US – latency and data sovereignty. Yet both of those are non-events: All the cloud vendors have US-based infrastructure so data sovereignty is totally NOT an issue for US customers. And as for latency, has Joviam come across documents detailing the huge investments that the three hyperscale vendors have in their own networking backbones?

To add insult to injury, whilst the big three spend literally billions of dollars on capital investment each quarter, Joviam is in a slightly different position:

While Joviam is self-funded to date, it has already received interest from US-based venture capital firms. It will consider agreements with these parties should the propositions align with Joviam’s wider expansion objectives as it begins to eye Europe and Asia in the next 24 months.

Unless a VC is prepared to give Joviam many billions of dollars, I don’t think their fundraising is really going to move the needle on their opportunity.

The last word, however, goes to the ever-pragmatic Jeffrey Kranenburg who summed it up nicely:

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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