ScaleFT plans to make managing public clouds safer

ScaleFT, a new DevOps startup founded by a number of former Rackspace executives and engineers, today announced that it has raised an $800,000 seed round with a strategic investment by Rackspace and participation from a number of angel investors, including CoreOS CEO Alex Polvi (who himself previously worked at Rackspace).

It’s no secret that Rackspace wants to offer services on top of its competitors’ clouds, including Amazon, Google and Microsoft. As ScaleFT co-founder and CEO Jason Luce tells me, the company was interested in funding the company because its products fit in very well with this mission.

“Rackspace has been vocal about building a service business on AWS, GCE and Azure, and ScaleFT is advancing the tools that Rackspace ops teams will need for their new strategy,” Luce writes in today’s announcement. “This is an important reason why Rackspace is supporting our endeavor.”

ScaleFT’s first product, which is also launching today, is Scale Access for making access to servers easier and more secure. The company argues that an authentication solution based on SSH private keys isn’t just cumbersome but also not as secure as you would think. “Technologies like RSA, X.509 and SSH are available, but so complex that businesses are prevented from enjoying their full benefits,” Luce says.

Scale Access, however, uses fast-expiring keys that are only valid for a few minutes and an authentication solution that can be integrated with single sign-on solutions like Google Apps and the SAML standard. Because of this, it also works with tools that need a second factor for authentication.

The promise here is that SSH will still just work and that tools like Ansible for IT automation will work just like before. The service can also issue certifications for access to VPNs, web applications and other infrastructure services.