|Key people||Scott Hammond (CEO)
Bryan Cantrill (CTO)
|Products||Node.js, SmartOS, Joyent Cloud, Joyent SmartDataCenter|
|Employees||80 (Aug 2013)|
|Divisions||Cloud Software, Cloud Hosting|
In June 2013 Joyent introduced an object storage service under the name Manta and partnered in September 2013 with network appliance vendor Riverbed to offer an inexpensive content-delivery network. In February 2014, Joyent announced a partnership with Canonical to offer virtual Ubuntu machines.
Joyent uses and supports open source projects, including Ruby on Rails, Node.js, Illumos and SmartOS, which is its own distribution of Illumos, featuring its port of the KVM Hypervisor for abstracting the software from the hardware, DTrace for troubleshooting and systems monitoring, and the ZFS file system to connect servers to storage systems. The company open-sourced SmartOS in August 2011.
Joyent has taken the software stack that evolved over time in the running of their hosted business and is now licensing that software under the name Smart Data Center to large hardware companies such as Dell.
Joyent was founded in 2004 under the name TextDrive by the Canadian typographer, art director, designer, writer and programmer Dean Allen, the creator of Textile markup, who was looking to create an ideal hosting environment for the content management system he was developing, Textpattern. TextDrive was incorporated in California in May 2004 with Allen as Chief Executive Officer and Jason Hoffman as President and Chief Operating Officer. TextDrive was positioned as "a hosting company run by and for people who love publishing on the web."
TextDrive provided infrastructure support to projects such as Ruby on Rails, WordPress, and TurboGears. The company hosted the high-profile magazine A List Apart, as well as the blogging service WordPress.com. The company also took an early lead fighting comment spam on weblogs.
In November 2005, TextDrive merged with Joyent, a company incorporated in July 2005 by David Young as Executive Officer and Director. Young's software product was an online collaboration tool named Connector, which was demonstrated at the Web 2.0 Conference in October 2005, launched in March 2006 and discontinued in August 2011. Young became the chief executive of the merged company, while Allen, a resident of France, became president and director of Joyent Europe.
Hoffman, serving as the merged company's chief technical officer, spearheaded the move from TextDrive's initial focus on application hosting to massively distributed systems, leading to a focus on cloud computing software and services to service providers. Allen left the company in 2007.
Young left the company in May 2012, and Hoffman took over as interim chief executive until the appointment of Henry Wasik in November 2012. Hoffman stepped down from his position as the company's chief technical officer in September 2013  and took a new position at Ericsson the next month. Bryan Cantrill was appointed CTO in his place in April 2014, with Mark Cavage assuming Cantrill's former VP Engineering role.
In 2004, TextDrive bootstrapped itself as a hosting company through crowd funding: customers were invited to invest money in exchange for free hosting for the lifetime of the company. TextDrive and, later, Joyent repeated the money-raising procedure a number of times in order to avoid the venture capital market. Joyent raised venture capital for the first time in November 2009 from Intel and Dell. Joyent's early institutional investors include El Dorado Ventures, Epic Ventures, Peter Thiel (Seed Round), Intel Capital (Series A, B Rounds), Greycroft Partners (Series A, B Rounds), Liberty Global (Series B Round). In January, 2012, Joyent secured a new round of funding totalling $85 million from Weather Investment II, Accelero Capital, and Telefónica Digital.
Lifetime hosting crisis and relaunch of TextDrive
On August 16, 2012, individuals who had provided start-up and development funding to Joyent (and its predecessor, TextDrive) in exchange for lifetime shared hosting accounts with Joyent were informed, via email, that their lifetime hosting accounts would be deleted on October 31, 2012. Depending on the nature of their initial investment, they were offered either one or three free years of hosting on a Joyent SmartMachine, the company's cloud hosting solution, after which they would be moved to a regularly billed account. Customer backlash to the announcement turned out to be fierce.
On August 30, 2012, Textdrive co-founder Dean Allen announced that he was relaunching TextDrive as a separate company which would carry on Joyent's shared hosting business and honor the "lifetime" agreements. Allen relaunched TextDrive on November 1, 2012, using Joyent infrastructure. He was confident he would succeed in building a viable business similar to DreamHost.
However, TextDrive was spun out of Joyent in February 2013 and began to flounder, suffering from an absence of leadership and plagued by reliability issues, with users leaving for other hosts. The possibility for new users to sign up for TextDrive 2.0 never did come to pass.
On the morning of March 3, 2014, Allen removed all but a logo and an image from textdrive.com and placed the TextDrive Discussion Forum discuss.textdrive.com in maintenance mode with the following announcement (emphasis added).
As anyone looking for decent support or even useful information over the past few months can attest, the revival of TextDrive has not been a success.
What began in mid-2012 as an exciting challenge fuelled by good intentions and lean resources quickly turned into a cleanup project with almost no resources. It is disappointing to report that after a year and a half of uphill battles and unimagined setbacks, after several costly efforts to regroup and find another way, options to keep TextDrive growing have run out, and we will cease operations on the 14th of March, 2014. For those who wish to know, details of what went wrong will be made available once shutdown operations have completed. Sorry to have let you down.Dean
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