Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Top 10 Cloud Computing Service Providers of 2009

We are just 3 weeks short of for the beginning of a new year [2010] 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:

Top Cloud Computing Service Providers

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!

#10. 3Tera

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.

#9. NetSuite

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.

#8. IBM

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.

#7. Joyent

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.

#6. Microsoft

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 InstallerVisual 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.

#5. Salesforce.com

Leader in SaaS. Offers Salesforce CRM (Sales Cloud 2, Service Cloud 2) & Force.com Platform (Custom Cloud 2, Development Platform).

#4. Rackspace

The company specializes in IaaS. It offers Rackspace Cloud, cloud services are: Cloud Sites, Cloud Servers, Cloud Files.

#3. VMware

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.

#2. Google

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…

#1. Amazon

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


  1. Really fantastic!:) Very clear and simple to understand though the topic is very techno..Thanks for sharing.

  2. SaaS has really grown in the last few years. I work with Microsoft and have partnered with many companies to create SaaS solutions. It's really a quick, low cost, low risk way of getting an enterprise solution up and running.

  3. @Laila, Gabe: Thanks for visiting.

  4. VM Ware and Saas has really gone up these days.. thanks for the list..

  5. Good summary of the top players.

    Amazon is starting to show more interest in the layers over IaaS, which are PaaS and SaaS, so as to make it more easier for developers to start using its services. The recent MySQL as a service goes towards that direction.

    I am eagerly waiting for inter-operable platforms, so that customers have a choice to have their customized cloud applications deployed in the platform of their choice.

    For example, if iFreeTools CRM, which is actually built over Google App Engine, is required to be deployed over Amazon for one of my customers, it should be possible.

    That will typically require an additional layer - to abstract away the platform specific APIs - but gives choice for customers.

  6. Thanks for the info! BTW post re-tweeted. :)

  7. Chillyz cloud servers offer all the benefits of dedicated servers, but at a fraction of the cost. With a cloud server product, you can get flexibility, convenience, and the enhanced performance offered by cloud computing

  8. Looks like Google still has to work hard.

  9. Hi - I realize this list was for 2009, but I highly encourage you to check out ReliaCloud for your list next year. ReliaCloud is quickly raising up in the ranks as an Iaas!

  10. build or fill business technology gaps based on your specific vertical, platform, target capability development and product direction. Cloud Computing was started from a non-traditional IT player. Amazon.com, the famous web based bookseller, has changed the traditional computer hosting model by offering hosted computersmanagement consulting

  11. cloud computing is really sumthing which needs to be look at in future.

  12. Devices like tablets offer you a form factor that not only supports cloud computing, but lets you access these services on-the-go

  13. Logicworks Industrial-strength Cloud Computing is a better way to efficiently manage, allocate and deploy your IT assets.
    Designed strictly for complex infrastructures and now available in Logicworks infiniCloud Computing service platform. www.logicworks.net
    Questions? Ask us www.facebook.com/Logicworks

  14. Would like to mention that ERP behemoth SAP has its own cloud offering of ERP services with an open platform for business to write in their own apps by providing them the SDK

  15. Nice post. I found this articles which compares Caspio, Amazon, Database.com, and Microsoft SQL cloud database services

  16. Thanks for sharing the useful info but it is 3 years old and in the mean time an Indian company named i2k2 Networks has gained a big reputation in the field of corporate hosting services. Their are full range of hosting plans available on the site best suited to all big and small business firms.