Top Ten Companies Harnessing "The Wisdom Of The Clouds"
Companies and research firms may eventually transition most of their high-level computing tasks to a global network of servers known as "clouds." This top ten list notes the pioneers who are positioned to dominate that field.
According to Stephen Baker at Business Week, "A move towards clouds signals a fundamental shift in how we handle information. At the most basic level, it's the computing equivalent of the evolution in electricity a century ago when farms and businesses shut down their own generators and bought power instead from efficient industrial utilities."
According to Wikipedia, "typical cloud computing providers deliver common business applications online which are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers."
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The only search engine company built from the ground up around hardware is now investing more than $2 billion a year in data centers. Google is far and away the leader in cloud computing.
Google's cloud is a network made of hundreds of thousands, or by some estimates 1 million, cheap servers, each not much more powerful than the PCs that are found in our homes or offices. It stores an exponential amount of data, including numerous copies of the World Wide Web. This makes search faster, helping to surface search engine results to billions of queries in a fraction of a second. Unlike many traditional supercomputers, Google's system never ages. When its individual pieces die, usually after about three years, engineers can easily replace them with new, faster boxes.
No one knows the Internet quite like Google. While the company's main focus is crawling the Web and delivering advertising-supported search results, Google's foray into software-as-a-service applications for businesses is hastening the industry's move from packaged software to Web-hosted services.
Smaller and with less infrastructure, Yahoo has software not perfectly suited to cloud computing, but as the leading patron of Hadoop, it could end up with a lead over latecomers.
At Yahoo's Labs Web site, the company notes the following: "At Yahoo!, we are very supportive of academic research in cloud computing that, to date, has been limited due to significant cost barriers in getting large computing systems operational and the lack of software tools. By making large systems available and by contributing to open source software such as Pig and Hadoop, we hope to enable researchers and students to innovate and create new kinds of systems, applications, and tools, pushing the boundaries in this field."
King of the business computing world, IBM is teaming up with Google to get a foothold in clouds. Launching a pilot system for the government of Vietnam. it is developing new technologies to support demand for digital infrastructure
projects in banking, telecommunications, energy and government
According to Richard Pina at IBM "Our work in cloud computing is truly harnessing the overall capabilities of our company, and well be able to bring those to clients and well be able to deliver immediate value to our clients either in increasing revenue--helping to increase revenue, looking at cost savings or cost avoidance, and that ultimately is the bottom line."
This video give some insight into IBM's high level of involvement in cloud computing globally.
Utilizing its proprietary software Microsoft's big in the fundamentals of cloud science, and its building massive data centers in Siberia.
In a much anticipated move, Microsoft announced the combination of the Windows Azure group with the Windows Server and Solutions group into a new organization, titled the Server and Cloud Division.The new division will "deliver solutions that help our customers realize even greater benefits from Microsoft's investments in on-premises and cloud technologies," according to the Windows Server Division blog.
Because this is Microsoft's first big foray into the cloud. But for all of Microsoft's might, it is still a new player in the business of cloud computing. Some question whether it will be difficult to move existing applications onto the Azure platform, and will Microsoft avoid the tendency toward vendor lock-in – which is bad for users but has been tremendously profitable for Microsoft in the world of packaged software.