Appirio Turns Cloud Development Wheels With CloudSpokes


Cloud solution provider Appirio has amassed a crack team of cloud developers through its two-month-old CloudSpokes cloud-focused, "crowdsourcing" initiative, and the community is continuing to thrive creating a new channel for companies looking for cloud development.

According to Appirio, CloudSpokes has amassed more than 3,700 members; paid out $27,000 to 13 challenge winners; and has received 80 developer submissions since CloudSpokes' February 14 launch.

CloudSpokes is a "crowdsourcing" development community and marketplace launched by Appirio that pairs companies that need cloud development work with a global community of cloud experts. Appirio coined the term cloudsourcing, or helping customers move fully to the cloud. The community focuses solely on multi-tenant public cloud platforms and applications, and the projects, topics and skills related to public cloud platforms.

The CloudSpokes community offers a competitive and collaborative environment for contests, networking, discussions and jobs in the cloud and acts as a storefront for companies to find and reward talent and for developers to gain recognition while learning new skills from peers.

Ryan Nichols, product management and marketing lead for San Mateo, Calif.-based Appirio called CloudSpokes "where the crowd meets the cloud" and said it's a new model through which developers can make money and build out their portfolios.

Appirio's CloudSpokes play comes as cloud solution providers take on more and more ISV traits, by developing custom apps and software for their clients along with the consultative cloud work. CloudSpokes also arrives as Appirio experiences massive growth. Appirio recently made its third acquisition in two months as the company creates a cloud computing colossus.

And while CloudSpokes has hit early milestones, Appirio said it's not stopping there. The company this week pledged at least $1 million in contest prize money -- $2,000 of which is up for grabs now. Additionally, there are open challenges on CloudSpokes involving multiple APIs, including Salesforce's Force.com, Heroku, Twilio and HTML5.

"Although it's only been a few short weeks, we're happy to report this burgeoning cloud developer community has started to gain momentum and is already producing some real results," wrote Appirio CMO Narinder Singh in a recent CloudSpokes blog post. "These results can be (and have been) for sponsoring companies -- ISVs or enterprises -- and the community at large."

Singh wrote that CloudSpokes is riding the wave of change introduced by cloud computing: Enabling a developer to work on any problem in the world from any location with nothing more than an Internet connection and a public cloud platform.

Some projects that have already stemmed from CloudSpokes include a Force.com component that makes it easier to build Force.com apps for Facebook; a Firefox extension that aids developers; and an OmniAuth extension that lets Heroku connect to Force.com via Oauth.

Appirio is also planning to team up with cloud platform providers for additional contests and projects so their respective development communities can build add-ons and other tools.

"This is just the beginning," Singh wrote. "There are a lot more contests coming down the pike that will produce even more useful tools for open-source initiatives that further cloud development. This includes a Force.com Geo Location Toolkit (which lets developers manage location and map information through Force.com) and an iPhone app that lets administrator manage their users while on the go."