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."

Please vote in the TOP TEN Companies Harnessing "The Wisdom of the Clouds" POLL at the end of this blog and let us know which company you think is doing the best job in cloud computing.

1- Google

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.

2- Yahoo

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."

3- IBM

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 industries.

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.

4- Microsoft

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.


5- Amazon

Amazon was one of the first to sell cloud computing as a service. Smaller than competitors, but its expertise in this area could give the retailer a leg up in the next-generation of Web services from retail to media.

Amazon Web Services, a half-dozen services including the Elastic Compute Cloud, for computing capacity, and the Simple Storage Service, for on-demand storage capacity.

Amazon is one of the true innovators in Web-based computing, offering pay-as-you-go access to virtual servers and data storage space. In addition to these core offerings, Amazon offers the SimpleDB (a database Web service); the CloudFront (a Web service for content delivery); and the Simple Queue Service (a hosted service for storing messages as they travel between computers). By launching the Elastic Compute Cloud in 2006, well before most of its competitors, Amazon has become almost synonymous with "cloud computing."



6- Enomaly 

Elastic Computing Platform (ECP) is software that integrates enterprise data centers with commercial cloud computing offerings, letting IT pros manage and govern both internal and external resources from a single console, while making it easy to move virtual machines from one data center to another.

Unlike the other nine other companies on this list, Enomaly doesn't offer services of its own over the Web. But its software could prove crucial as enterprises grapple with the problem of managing a wide array of computing resources that live both inside and outside the firewall. Intel has recognized Enomaly's promise,helping to finance the company's product development, which focuses heavily on managing the various hypervisors used both within enterprises and by cloud providers.

7- GoGrid

The GoGrid platform offers Web-based storage and the ability to quickly deploy Windows- and Linux-based virtual servers onto the cloud, with preinstalled software including Apache, PHP, Microsoft SQL and MySQL.

GoGrid, one of Amazon's chief competitors in the cloud storage and compute markets, distinguishes itself from Amazon in a couple ways. GoGrid offers Windows Server 2008 instances (Amazon offers only Windows Server 2003) and 100% up-time service-level agreements (Amazon offers 99.95% for compute and 99.9% for storage).

8- Netsuite

Netsuite is a business software suite including e-commerce, CRM, accounting and ERP tools.

One of the industry's most successful online business software providers, NetSuite has a tendency to make competitive moves that are both entertaining and potentially profitable for customers. NetSuite recently promised 50% discounts to Sage Software customers who switch to NetSuite, and made a similar offer to and SAP customers last year. It will even integrate with rivals' technology, for example by connecting its ERP suite to Salesforce's CRM tools (see Salesforce #10 on this list ), a move designed to lure Salesforce customers by enabling new business processes.

9- Rackspace

The Rackspace Cloud, also known as "Mosso," consists of three major services: Cloud sites, a platform for building Web sites; Cloud Files, a storage service; and Cloud Servers, an Amazon EC2-like service that provides access to virtualized server instances.

Rackspace has a long history of offering hosted data center services and is a trusted name in the enterprise. With Mosso, Rackspace is taking aim at the platform-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service markets, the two key areas for customers looking to build Web-hosted applications.

10- Salesforce is a set of CRM tools including salesforce automation, analytics, marketing and social networking tools. A second major offering is, a platform for building Web applications and hosting them on the Salesforce infrastructure. helped pioneer the software-as-a-service market, which has now been lumped into the umbrella term "cloud computing." With, Salesforce is moving beyond SaaS into the platform-as-a-service market, which could revolutionize the way businesses build and deliver applications to end users and customers.

For those that are still having a hard time getting your head into the clouds and around cloud computing in general, this video provides the basics of cloud computing.

So there you have our Top Ten list. Please do take our TOP TEN Companies Harnessing "The Wisdom of the Clouds" POLL and let us know which company or companies are doing the best job in the clouds. Or if you know of one that we missed, please leave a comment with the URL link.

Dec 18, 2009
by Anonymous

I mean bigger names NOT

I mean bigger names NOT name. Sorry for the typo.