This article was originally published by ARN on 24th September 2015 by Hafizah Osman.

“Infront Systems’ owner and director, Allan King, has launched a technology start-up, Buttonwood and, with it, a solution that aims to simplify Cloud consumption and enable the enterprise to benefit from hybrid Cloud technology named the Buttonwood Cloud Exchange.

As a result of this start-up, King, an ARN Hall of Fame inductee, also becomes founder and director of Buttonwood. He said his focus will be on Buttonwood, letting Infront general manager, Glenn Powell, and service manager, Graham O’Sullivan, head the company.

“Cloud started being disruptive about three years ago so at Infront, we wanted to understand how our customers could benefit from it. We did a lot of research in context to how Infront could evolve to become a Cloud-something and be relevant in the market.

“What we realised very quickly was Cloud was a game space for the big scale boys – it was for the AWS, Azure, and Google world and that we would never be able to provide the ability, where to, price point, and feature function of a hyper scale Cloud provider,” King told ARN.

King claimed what the company wanted to do was determine how it could remain relevant to customers. As such, it started on a journey to define the problem statements of Cloud in the context of the enterprise.

He identified three tenets it was developing for – Cloud choice, offering financial visibility in addition to moving from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, and operational consistency and control wherever possible.

“The first decision we made was Infront couldn’t do it. We knew that in order to provide the trust and transparency, we needed a different vehicle and model. Hence, Buttonwood was born. It is an independent company that is focused on helping enterprise realise the benefit of Cloud services without the complexity and costs associated with it.”

At launch, the Buttonwood Cloud Exchange will enable the secure integration, consumption and management of an organisation’s SaaS and IaaS Cloud offerings within a single, centralised, intelligent platform.

It uses a standards based approach that simplifies Cloud consumption and avoids vendor lock-in. It also provides the enterprise with the flexibility of Cloud choice, allows the agility to manage workloads and delivers operational consistency across on-premise and Cloud resources.

A financial governance model allows for cost centre management, budget delegation and reporting and user access management within the one system.

According to King, Buttonwood Cloud Exchange will be available in two channel models. The first is a provider-based model that the company will introduce early next year.

“There has been a lot of investment in Cloud platforms in Australia. We’re integrating Dimension Data and we’ll have it integrated before Christmas, and we are on Telstra’s beta program to bring it onto the Exchange as well to provide a broader set of choices,” King said.

The other is a broader channel-based model, which Buttonwood will utilise once it grows it early next year.

“SIs that are looking at ways to help their organisations, build a secure hybrid enterprise, and are looking at the right tools to be able to do that, we believe Buttonwood is that tool. That’s where we would like to get to broadly.”

Buttonwood has employed about 25 staff, of whom some were poached by King from Infront Systems. They are split across Canberra and supplemented in Sri Lanka. King will serve in Buttonwood as its datacentre architect, while newly appointed Damien Jolly will be software architect and co-founder.

Buttonwood Cloud Exchange will be available in Australia from October 28.

King also claimed he is looking to start a Buttonwood reseller program early next year, and indicated it’s an opportunity for small Cloud providers to offer services around Buttonwood’s solution

“We can offer the channel community, and all of those small organisations and SIs that have built capabilities to integrate those into our Exchange and broaden their market offering to customers,” he added.”