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Rackspace picks up cloud performance monitoring startup Cloudkick

Cloudkick, a developer of web applications that help manage cloud computing environments, announced today that it has agreed to be bought out by cloud computing provider Rackspace for an undisclosed sum.

Rackspace is one of several companies that run public cloud servers. That means application developers and companies can offload programs that require a lot of heavy-duty computing firepower onto remote servers like the ones Rackspace provides. It’s an increasingly popular trend as it lets smaller businesses and developers have access to some pretty powerful hardware without having to buy servers and databases and set them up.

Cloudkick basically gives developers and companies using applications on cloud computing servers a dashboard that shows how they are performing. The core product is free, but Cloudkick recently started charging for premium tools. The idea is to help manage cloud computing applications and squeeze out a little more efficiency in order to cut down cost. It’s important because a lot of public cloud providers charge per gigabyte of storage or for a certain amount of time spent using the servers — so, literally, every second counts.

If the success of services like Rackspace and Amazon’s EC2 weren’t enough to show how popular cloud computing has become, how about this: Cloudkick is only two years old. The company was originally incubated in Y Combinator and pretty quickly raised about $3 million in venture capital funding. It has a number of the largest companies in the world on the Fortune 500 list as its clients.

Cloud computing might not be the sexiest field in the world, but it does something a lot of technology fails to do — it just works. It works well enough that Rackspace is willing to take a chance on a company that’s just two years old, and it works well enough that a company like Salesforce will pick up a three-year-old company that will help cloud computing development for more than $200 million.

Only time will tell whether Marc Andreessen’s vision of everything but love notes existing in the cloud will ever come to fruition. But, for the time being, the cloud is proving to be pretty powerful.

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