Ex-NASA chief technology officer Chris Kemp has taken the wraps of his long-awaited cloud computing venture, announcing the launch of a cloud appliance company named Nebula.

Nebula will offer a turnkey OpenStack hardware appliance that is aimed at helping businesses easily and securely deploy large cloud computing infrastructures from thousands of inexpensive computers.

“Until today, this computing power has only been accessible to organizations like NASA and a small number of elite Silicon Valley companies,” Kemp said in a statement. “We intend to bring it to the rest of the world.”

Kemp, who has taken on the role of CEO at Nebula, founded the start-up in April of 2011, along with Steve O’Hara, former founder of OnFiber Communications, and Devin Carlen, one of the original engineers on the OpenStack project at NASA. OpenStack is an open source cloud initiative that was originally launched with Rackspace Hosting in July of 2010, with the mission to create cloud computing services running on standard hardware.

The venture received seed financing from Google’s first investors, Andy Bechtolsheim, David Cheriton and Ram Shriram, and has now secured financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Highland Capital Partners.

Nebula said it plans to begin pilots with a series of companies in biotech, financial services, energy and media sectors in the fourth quarter of this year, with testing running into the first quarter of 2012. It expects to roll out a commercially available product soon after.


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