We are just 3 weeks short of for the beginning of a new year  and a new decade [2010 – 2019] of 21st century. Let me share about the technology trend that dominated the year 2009 in particular, and was a general buzz almost throughout the decade. Definitely, it’s just the beginning of this emerging trend as every xyz company, big or small, is ramping-up to somehow attach this coveted cloud tag to its profile, either as a provider or as a consumer. It seems the demand of Cloud images are rising exponentially in the market as every other company is putting up a cloud image on it’s website! Just kidding. But it’s almost true that today it has become a fashion, sort of, to put up a cloud image on the company website!
You can read the basic of Cloud Computing:
Forget the companies, even the slow & steady tortoise Governments around the world are taking a note. As usual the lead is from the White House, and it aims to save billions with its cloud initiative with the help from NASA Ames. Vietnam & South Korea are following closely. Indian government is yet to take any significant initiative but it seems the mother of all project i.e. Unique Identity Project (mapping of 1 billion+ people) will definitely need a private cloud service to succeed!
Optional Info: The R&D for the cloud computing actively started in the beginning of this decade. Interestingly the recession hit consumers are pushing in favor of the Cloud Computing to save billions, In contrast the service providers companies are also pushing their company in favor of the cloud albeit with a little twist, to earn billions!
Rough estimate: 180+ companies providing cloud based services exist and many more are ramping up for the billion $$$ chase. Cloud based services can be broadly divided into following 3 *aaS or 3 layers of Cloud Stack:
- Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)
- Data-as-a-Service(DaaS) is a subset of IaaS.
- Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
Optional Info: IaaS is all about hardware, data storage, networking and bandwidth i.e. Server, Routers, Switches etc. Amazon & Rackspace are good examples.
PaaS is OS + Application Server Stack like .Net framework, VS.Net, SQL Server etc. Best example of PaaS, Microsoft’s Azure & Google’s AppEngine.
SaaS is simply order an application & start consuming in minutes. Saleforce.com is the pioneer in this category.
Now let’s check which are the best companies in the ongoing Battle Royale of Cloud Providers in the year 2009. Following is my list of top Cloud Service Providers of 2009 in reverse order.
Note: There’s nothing official about this ranking. It’s a logical deduction from my understanding of the cloud trend in particular & my following of the IT industry in general! Take it with a pinch of salt!
Offers CloudWare: An architecture to provide an open framework to allow the development of a cloud computing environment that’s open enogh to work on any web/enterprise application. Lack of cloud computing standards have lead to a vendor-lock, where every cloud vendor has proprietary cloud. What if I want to share my application among different vendors/clouds? Currently I can’t. CloudWare is a big step towards bridging the clouds, and creating standards which will lead to open environment for clouds. Hope, soon consumers will be able to move around with their application and data, that will span multiple clouds.
Specializes in SaaS. It offers SuitCloud Platform: a comprehensive offering of on-demand products, development tools and services designed to help customers and software developers take advantage of the significant benefits of cloud computing. Also a leading provider of web-based Business Software Suite for CRM, ERP tools and Accounting.
The Big Blue has announced Blue Cloud computing platform way back in the year 2007. IBM Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud is designed to augment and enhance software development and delivery capabilities, particularly in large enterprises. On 16 Nov 2009, IBM announced the world’s largest private cloud computing environment.The cloud will launch initially with more than a petabyte of data, the equivalent of more than 300 billion ATM transactions.
It’s the only Cloud provider company to deliver all the three layers of the Cloud Stack i.e. Cloud service for all 3 *aaS. It was in the news for partnering with Dell to provide over $3 million worth of hosting services for free to Facebook developers.
Specializes in PaaS. It offers Azure, a Windows-as-a-service platform consisting of the operating system and developer services that can be used to build and enhance Web-hosted applications. Azure is available for VS 2008 via Web Platform Installer. Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 has all the features you need to code, debug, and deploy your cloud service.
Optional Info: I may sound more confident than Steve Ballmer, but today I can safely predict that Microsoft has the potential & is going to derail almost all the top 5 contenders of the list to be right at the top! So, don’t be shocked if my next year’s list of Top Cloud Service Providers of 2010, ranks Microsoft at #1 or #2. Given the history of Microsoft, coming from behind, and storming the scene with its financial might, it’s possible. Moreover, Azure is going to get .Net advantage, a well established enterprise application development platform.
Leader in SaaS. Offers Salesforce CRM (Sales Cloud 2, Service Cloud 2) & Force.com Platform (Custom Cloud 2, Development Platform).
The company specializes in IaaS. It offers Rackspace Cloud, cloud services are: Cloud Sites, Cloud Servers, Cloud Files.
It offers vCloud: Run, secure and manage applications in the private cloud or have them federated on-demand to partner-hosted public clouds. vCloud is giving a tough competition to more established Amazon’s AWS.
It was recently in the news for partnership with Cisco & EMC, to offer equipment called Vblocks and support a new joint venture called Acadia that will help business customers and service providers build out clouds based on the Vblock gear packages.
Specializes in PaaS & SaaS. As SaaS it offers Google Apps: a web-based communication, collaboration & security apps which includes, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Google Docs & Google Sites. 15 Sep 2009, Google announced that it will provide GovCloud, which will host Google Apps in a separate data environment with enhanced encryption for meeting state and government security standards.
As PaaS it offers Google App Engine: a platform for developing and hosting web applications in Google-managed data centers. Currently, the supported programming languages are Python and Java (by extension other JVM languages are also supported).
You build your application using Google’s PaaS and Google handles deploying code to a cluster, monitoring, failover, and launching application instances as necessary. Good news, Google App Engine is free, but only up to a certain level of used resources.
And the Winner is…
Specializes in IaaS. It offers through Amazon Web Services (AWS): Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), Amazon SimpleDB, Amazon CloudFront, Amazon SQS. It claims to have 82 billion objects stored in Amzon S3 (Simple Storage Service)!
You can debate about the ranking from #10 to #2. But when it comes to the number 1 company for Cloud based Service provider, Amzaon is the undisputed winner, without any much competition till now. You may call it an early-bird advantage! Is it?
In 2010, also watch out for the following companies:
Enomaly: Founded in 2004, The kid among the veterans, is in the news cause it provides services to the Cloud Providers.
GoGrid: Specializes in IaaS. It offers wide Variety of Ready-to-go Windows and Linux Cloud Servers. It has the most generous SLA in industry which says: 24/7 Support and 100% Uptime.
AT&T: Needs no introduction. The iconic AT&T Inc. (The largest provider of local, long distance telephone services in the United States) has already started offering its cloud services.
Did I miss any commendable cloud service provider company in my ranking list? Feel free to share your views. Before I conclude, Thanks to Daniel Scocco for inviting me (in a way inspiring me to write this post) to join his Group Writing Project. This article is an entry for the said Project.
Cloud Computing Articles at Techno-Pulse
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- Cloud Computing: A Catalyst for IT adoption in SMEs/SMBs
- Kaavo: Application Centric Management & Security for Cloud Computing
- Develop SaaS on OrangeScape PaaS to Run on any Cloud Infrastructure