Amazon EC2 creators to start cloud computing biz

Two members of the team that created Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud have built a cloud computing start-up called Benguela, which is expected to emerge from stealth mode next week.


Benguela,based in Menlo Park, Calif., and Cape Town, South Africa, was founded in 2008 by Amazon veterans Chris Pinkham and Willem van Biljon.


Between 2001 and 2006 Pinkham was “responsible for IT infrastructure at all data centers, offices and facilities [and] proposed and led development of Amazon EC2,” according to his LinkedIn profile. Van Biljon spent just a year at Amazon, leaving in July 2006, and was “part of the team that built the initial Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) utility computing offering [and led] product management and commercial strategy of EC2.”


Amazon EC2 launched in a public beta in August 2006 and has since played a major role in the rise of cloud computing as a viable alternative to existing IT infrastructure models. EC2 relies heavily on virtualization to allow customers to purchase raw computing capacity on an on-demand basis, with the ability to scale up and scale down at will.


With Benguela, Pinkham and van Biljon are not revealing many details but claim to have built “cloud infrastructure software” that will “revolutionize how enterprises interact with the cloud.”


Benguela employee Girish Kalele, an engineer, describes Benguela’s software in his LinkedIn profile as “next generation network virtualization for the datacenter.”


Benguela is backed by the Sequoia Capital venture firm.


Although Pinkham and van Biljon left Amazon in 2006, they more recently recruited software engineer Quinton Hoole, and systems engineer Kuyper Hoffman, both of whom worked for Amazon until December 2009 and are now with Benguela. Benguela is also looking to hire a new software engineer, with requirements including the “ability to design code to sustain high standards of availability, security, and performanc … ability to work with, or learn, just about any technology stack, with a bias towards open source tools and methods,” and understanding of virtualized compute, storage and network environments.


Benguela’s Pinkham will reveal more details about the company next week at the Structure 2010 conference, where Benguela has been nominated for a LaunchPad award.


In case you’re wondering, Benguela is the name of a city in Angola, capital of the Benguela Province, where there is also a bay that goes by the same name.


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