10/11/2011 10:26 pm ET | Updated Dec 11, 2011

High Tech Startup Focus: Zirtu


"Cloud. Virtualization. Servers. Platform. Elastic multi-tier paradigm shift... I hope this covers the Cloud buzzwords for today. Now, let's talk about the real world."
Jake Lifshits, Co-Founder, Zirtu

There's nothing comparable to the technology world's ability to use words to create hyperbole around something new; unless you've heard a carnival barker. It's as if every single, tiny development is a cure for a terminal disease. PR firms, marketing writers and bus dev people stay up all night agonizing about how to attach "Next Big Thing" status to every client's minor invention.

So as the monolithic IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, HP and the verging on monolithic Citrix and VMware all place big bets on the Cloud computing/virtualization markets and jockey for position, they all contribute mightily to the confusion and misunderstanding in the marketplace. It's just what they do.

And the big tech clients are as culpable as anyone in this miscommunication to customers; this 'baffle them with bullshit' marketing strategy. To me, an uneducated, or worse, confused customer -- one who doesn't fully understand what the product can do for them -- is your worst customer.

Venture capitalists, angels and other investors contribute to this process by rushing their investments in 'must-have' cloud and virtualization startups which likely -- even had the investors done the appropriate amount of due diligence -- will fail at a higher rate than their average investments. And it's just because of the false urgency, the hype.

It's as if everybody is trying to disembark from the US Airways' plane which crash-landed in the Hudson River a few years back, except we're all not calm and rational as those brave people were, no. We're running around like chickens with our heads cut off and climbing over women and children to get out of the aircraft (or into a Cloud/virtualization startup).

Why can't we all just communicate and proceed in a calm, rational fashion about the things we develop?

Apparently, we can. Occasionally.

As I was trolling the recent DEMO 2011 event in Santa Clara, I was told by another journo about, "perhaps the best company who just gave the best demo at this event." Intrigued, I asked who that might be. He said, "A company called Zirtu, cloud computing. One of the founders, Jake Lifshits is right over there; you should talk to him."

Talk to him I did.

Jake is as calm and rational a young man as I've ever met. Perhaps he has it in his DNA or was born that way, I don't know. Jake and his tight cadre, including two other entrepreneur/technologists who've been working together for more than 10 years (how old were they when the started working together, 12?) and saw that the virtualization sector was evolving not with the customer or their convenience in mind, but instead based solely upon the vendors' needs and strictly server-related visions; very myopically.

Having missed his live demo at DEMO, I initially relied upon my conversation with him to gauge my interest, but then I watched the taped demo. Wow. I confess to never really understanding all this Cloud elation before; how it worked; or how it would help the average worker who had zero interest in what's inside the box or getting a complicated explanation about how it worked, only that it does what it's supposed to do.

With Zirtu's technology, the worker on the road can continue to work remotely even when a network connection is lost. This is The Holy Grail for the Road Warrior.

I won't write anything further about Jake or what his company does; it's self-evident if you watch his fascinating demo.

Now, after watching the Zirtu demo, finally, I began to 'get it'... to understand what this whole sector of Cloud computing and virtualization can mean to the average schlub.

And it took a kid named "Jake" to enlighten me.