Cloud computing technology is one of the most significant, and most disruptive technologies that have sprung up in the past few decades, as it managed to redefine what is possible and how much said possibility costs. It is largely responsible for a lot of companies that didn’t have the budget for entire server farms to have the same capability at a more manageable cost. It also allowed many end-users to extend their systems’ capability in terms of software and hardware via the cloud, and nowadays it has become ubiquitous to the point that everybody is using it to some degree. For instance, if you’re using a webmail from Google or Yahoo, the storage space you are using is cloud-based.
However, Cloud technology is still in the process of evolution, as the technology is being constantly improved and remodeled by various companies. Of these companies, here are the ten most influential, and the reason why:
OpenStack is shaking up the cloud infrastructure landscape, serving as the main open-source alternative to VMware. CEO Chris Kemp co-founded OpenStack while he was at NASA, and along with Rackspace, Nebula is a key driver helping to make OpenStack a viable alternative to closed cloud systems.
The RightScale Platform, software-as-a-service that helps customers manage the IT processes they have outsourced to cloud providers such as Amazon and GoGrid. RightScale helps customers build and clone virtual servers for the cloud, performs load balancing in response to changing needs, automates storage backups, and offers monitoring and error reporting.
Salesforce.com is considered one of the pioneers of the cloud and is one of the movers of mobile cloud, as it showed the world that Software can be offered as a service, and has also managed to offer the world one of the most popular cloud-based services for running home-grown applications, Heroku.
Technically speaking, VMware doesn’t really offer any cloud services, but one of its products, dubbed vCloud, is a software used to build clouds. According to VMWare’s own stats, around a hundred clouds are currently build on vCloud, including Verizon.
6. Red Hat
Out of all the companies on this list, Red Hat is the odd one out because its Openshift actually doesn’t fire up its own data centers. Rather, it used Amazon’s AWS. OpenShift makes it easier for Linux users to deploy their applications into Amazon, making it a competitor to Salesforce.com’s Heroku. The best part about Red Hat’s OpenShift is like its parent company, the service is provided for FREE.
Citrix is a prime competitor of VMware, as it also builds software for the cloud. It has recently acquired the startup Cloud.com for a $200+ million, giving it instant access to an open source cloud software designed to build clouds. However, in a surprising move, Citrix gave the open source software to the Apache Foundation. This means companies now have a choice between VMware’s commercial vCloud or the free Cloudstack.
Rackspace is one of the leading cloud providers right now, riding on the power of an open source method for building clouds called OpenStack. The OpenStack standard happened because RackSpace didn’t want to pay companies like VMWare for code that it has no control over, so they partnered with NASA in order to create an open source alternative, and the fine folks at NASA came out with a really great cloud software. With the help of 160 other big players (including big names like IBM), OpenStack became a very powerful competitor to the paid vCloud and the other open source alternative, CloudStack.
Microsoft is included on this list simply because they have their own big enterprise cloud named Azure, and their sway over the industry is due to the fact that millions of developers who already write for Microsoft’s platform tend to favor their cloud offering. This is one case where Microsoft was able to benefit from its foothold in the market. And of course, they have deep enough pockets to compete with Amazon on the price aspect.
Google actually owes its existence to the cloud, as it was the place where the whole empire was built upon. But as for their contribution to the technology, they have a powerful alternative to Heroku called the Google App Engine, and their Google Apps has given Microsoft Office a run for its money. Even Amazon’s S3 wasn’t safe from their Google Cloud Storage. They also have ChromeOS coming up, which will allow a computer to run every single app from the web instead of installing it on the computer.
Amazon is currently king of the hill when it comes to the cloud, primarily because their services are the most powerful at the moment, and is the most affordable outside of the free alternatives. What makes Amazon even more well loved in the industry is they continue to innovate, and still act like startups despite being a titan in the industry. It’s mighty impressive considering that they were originally started just for the sake of selling books online.
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