Cloud computing is the talk of the town these days. Because of this, more and more IT vendors are venturing into the Cloud in hopes of cashing in millions of dollars worth of revenue. However, Cloud Computing is so complex. What some cloud vendors offer may not be typical of others. This is true especially when we talk about big multinational Cloud providers such as Google, Amazon and IBM.
Moreover, almost every quarter, several start-up vendors are popping up like mushrooms. Other companies will outgrow some of them and eventually die, but some will live on and either become important players in the space or be gobbled up by bigger and more established companies.
The Cloud Computing Provider Landscape
Who has not heard about cloud computing, and for all its touted benefits, what technology company would not want to offer cloud computing services?
Even the world’s biggest names in technology and the Internet have some sort of cloud computing offer, including:
- Amazon: Amazon has six different cloud services: Simple Storage Service, CloudFront, Simple Queue Service, Elastic Computer Cloud, SimpleDB, and Amazon Web Services. Amazon’s cloud computing customers include the New York Times, Eli Lilly, the Washington Post and literally thousands of small businesses.
- AT&T: The telco offers an application hosting service called Synaptic Hosting that provides access to virtual storage and servers.
- Google: Google Apps is probably what most people are familiar with, but the search giant also has Postini, which is a Web and e-mail security platform, and Google App Engine, which allows developers to create applications and use Google’s infrastructure to host them.
- Microsoft: The software giant has Azure, a platform that offers OS and developer services using Microsoft products and services.
- Rackspace: The company offers Mosso, which allows companies to create Websites, store their files, and access pay-as-you-go servers. Web developers and SaaS providers make up most of the client list.
- RightScale: Their cloud offering helps customers control and manage the various IT processes they have put on the cloud. Notable customers include ShareThis, TagCow and iWidgets.
- NetSuite: NetSuite offers a line of business software on the cloud, including CRM, e-commerce, ERP and accounting tools. Global carmaker Isuzu is a notable client, along with Wrigleyville Sports.
- Enomaly: What started out as a consulting business has established new worth in finding a lucrative business in the cloud. The company currently sells the Elastic Computing Software that makes it easier for IT pros in companies such as NBC, Best Buy and Deutsche Bank to manage all their resources from just one centralized console.
- GoGrid Development: It offers a way to deploy both Linux and Windows-based virtual servers on the cloud through its GoGrid Platform. You can also have cloud storage when you need it. Start-ups, SaaS companies and Web 2.0 companies are favorite clients, with some big names such as Novell and SAP running test projects on the platform.
- Salesforce.com: The company offers a set of customer relationship management tools used by more than 55,000 customers, including banks, financial institutions, energy, retail and healthcare companies.
- VMware, Linode, Verizon, Citrix Systems, and Red Hat are also competitors, among others
However, it is not just the big names that are making an impact in the cloud computing world. Because cloud computing is a dynamic and new field, there is a start-up company that is looking to share a piece of this money-making pie. Admittedly, some – due to the people starting them up or because of their service and business models – are more notable than others, such as:
- CloudBees: Founded by Sacha Labourey, a co-general manager at Red Hat’s middleware unit, CloudBees is a PaaS that allows developers access to tools and services they need to build, test and deploy cloud applications.
- Bromium: It is not clear yet what Bromium wants to do, but it seems that they are going to focus on using virtualization technology to secure desktops, tablets, smartphones and other endpoints. But it does have erstwhile Citrix Systems virtualization CTO and XenSource co-founder Simon Crosby as its technology master.
- Goshido: Goshido tries to help you deal with the daily barrage of e-mails with its cloud platform. Right down to its basic premise, it is a productivity tool and collaboration platform that helps you deal with email clutter and do more of the most important stuff.
- OpDemand: OpDemand helps businesses and IT professionals build their own cloud-based applications and services quickly by letting them use different OpDemand templates. With these templates, you do not have to code your cloud services from scratch.
- Typesafe: Aimed primarily at mobile app developers, Typesafe can help users make sure that they have applications that scale right no matter if it’s run on one or one thousand computers. For example, if you are an app developer whose app is an unexpected hit and its being used by thousands of people every day, it might cause problems with performance due to the high usage. Typesafe uses Scala, the same programming language used by Twitter, to deal with the Fail Whale.
- Cloudability: Cloudability is a godsend to every company using cloud services in that it helps them keep tabs on their cloud spending. GigaOM reports that the beta users who first tried out Cloudability were able to save around $2,000 per month on average using the service.
- Kaggle: Kaggle aims to solve big data challenges by letting data scientists compete for your data crunching needs. You can sponsor competitions and offer cash prizes to those who work out your problems. Kaggle uses Microsoft Windows Azure to provide enough computing power for these competitions and to host the data sets.
- ScaleXtreme: This start-up allows you to have your own scalable server management software, doing away with the usual high costs of purchasing one.
Some runner-ups in the start-up category include Zillabyte, SolidFire, Cloud Sigma, Nebula, Parse and AppFrog.
With all these service providers giving customers different services it is rather painfully obvious that standardization is needed in order to ensure interoperability. But what is standardization and what does it entail? More importantly, why is standardization more of a topic being discussed than a set of procedures currently implemented? Know more all about these in the second part of this article.