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Google, Akamai, and VMware: Cloud Computing's Top Three?

What are the three companies expected to benefit most from the cloud computing boom?

What are the three companies expected to benefit most from the cloud computing boom? One answer would be Google, Akamai, and VMware - according anyway to the Rule Breakers newsletter run by the founder of The Motley Fool, Dave Gardner.

"At Motley Fool Rule Breakers, we believe cloud computing will massively disrupt the desktop computing industry that came before it -- and we think three stocks, in particular, will profit handsomely from the shift," writes Tim Beyers, who adds:

"Cloud computing is to storing and processing data what the electrical grid is to plugging in your television: a scalable way to deliver services while matching supply and demand across the grid."

But SYS-CON's Cloud Computing Journal would most certainly add Amazon to the list of the heaviest heavy-hitters in cloud computing. In fact, right now there are as many as fifty companies highly active in the space. As follows from the list below.

Editorial note: The words used to describe the various services and solutions are in every case taken from the Web sites cited, so as ever we encourage developers, IT operations managers, and new/growing companies in every case to "suck it and see" by downloading or otherwise sampling the offering in question for themselves.

Omissions should be sent to cloud (at) sys-con.com, and we will endeavor to include them in a future revision of this round-up.


3Tera - Offering what it calls "Cloud Computing Without Compromise," 3Tera enables the provision and deployment of "scalable clustered applications in minutes from anywhere in the world." The company currently has partners and is running in datacenters in seven countries (United States, Japan, Singapore, Argentina, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Serbia) on four continents (North America, South America, Asia, and Europe), with additional resources in South America and Australia soon to be available as well.

3Tera's President & CTO, Peter Nickolov, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).



Amazon - When Amazon introduced its virtual computing environment, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2, "to enable you to increase or decrease capacity within minutes, not hours or days," it singlehandedly brought Cloud Computing to the very forefront of public awareness by using Web services to provide what it called resizable compute capacity in the cloud." EC2 runs within Amazon's proven network infrastructure and datacenters and allows customers to pay only for what they use (there is no minimum fee).

Amazon's VP & CTO Dr Werner Vogels is the Keynote Speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Appistry - As a company that positions itself boldly "At the convergence of Grid Computing, Virtualization and SOA" Appistry offers a grid-based application platform that makes it very easy to scale-out CPU- and data-intensive applications across a virtualized grid of commodity servers. Unlike traditional grid products based on legacy scheduler technology, the company's robust "fabric" architecture has no single point of failure and "is well suited for extreme transaction processing (XTP), software-as-a-service (SaaS), cloud computing, and other data- and CPU-intensive applications."

Kevin Haar, Appistry CEO is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Aptana - Aptana has recently beta-released Aptana Cloud, which it says "is architected to complement Cloud infrastructure providers like Amazon, Google, Joyent and others." Targeted at rapid development, in particular web applications that need to scale rapidly (think Facebook applications etc.), Aptana cloud plugs into the Aptana IDE.

AT&T - AT&T broke into the cloud business in August 2008 with the global launch of what it calls AT&T Synaptic Hosting - described as "a next-generation utility computing service with managed networking, security and storage for businesses."


Cassatt - As early as 2004 Cassatt, led by visionary CEO Bill Coleman (the 'B' in BEA Systems), was outlining a roadmap to deliver on the promise of automating IT operations for on-demand computing. Currently its angle, Cloud Computing-wise, is to focus not on public or external clouds but on 'Internal Clouds' since external cloud computing but may be ruled out due to lack of SLA control, security, and compliance, whereas Cassatt contends there is an alternative: an internal Utility Computing architecture yielding the same simplicity and economies-of-scale as an external PaaS cloud. Definitely a company to watch.

Cisco -
By virtue of its recent acquisitions, most significantly WebEx and PostPath, Cisco is firmly on its way to joining the Cloud Crowd. “We are believers in the cloud-based delivery model for certain types of services in particular inter-company collaboration services, and that is why we got WebEx and now PostPath,” Charles Carmel, Cisco's vice president of corporate development, told Red Herring in August 2008.

The goal of Cloudworks is to allow small and mid-market companies to outsource all of their computers, software, and data. Completely web-based, it works like Salesforce or Hotmail - a company's employees can log in through a web browser to access their desktop, server, software, files, email...everything.

Cloudworks CEO Mike Eaton is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).



- As the provider of what it calls 'Elastic Server On-Demand' - aimed at "enabling customers to build and manage applications for virtualized infrastructure and cloud computing," CohesiveFT's Elastic Server Platform allows users to assemble and deploy servers to Cloud Computing Platforms "in minutes." The company likes to think of Elastic Server as a Great Enabler, "allowing you to package your apps for prime time, and do it all by yourself."


Desktoptwo -
This "Cloud desktop" offering from Sun Global Partner Sapotek describes itself as "your home in the cloud" and already claims to have users in 120 countries and a vibrant community.

Elastra - Styling itself as a provider of "Elastic Computing," Elastra offers to "design, deploy & manage database and application infrastructure in the Cloud in minutes - all with the click of a button." Dedicated to providing companies building applications with a way to radically innovate the way they develop their products and deliver them on IT infrastructure, Elastra's aim is to help a company "unlock the value of cloud computing by using virtualized hardware environments with cloud-provisioned database and infrastructure software that are easily configurable and do not require scripting, respond elastically to changing load and are delivered in the cloud with meter-based pricing."

Elastra's Chief Software Architect, Stuart Charlton, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).


EMC - When creating a Cloud Computing division within the company in February 2008, EMC CEO Joe Tucci delared that 85 percent of data will be managed in what he called "big, safe information repositories in the Internet ’sky,’ so to speak. We’re [talking] cloud computing..."

Mike Feinberg, Senior Vice President of EMC's Cloud Infrastructure Group, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Engine Yard - As a company dedicated to "furthering innovation in Ruby, Rails and cloud computing," Engine Yard offers Rails-focused 24/7 operations support on top of great infrastructure to companies in search of a smooth path from 100 users to 100,000 users. In July 2008 the company closed $15 million of Series B financing led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), which included participation from Amazon.com.

Engine Yard's Yehuda Katz will be speaking at AJAXWorld RIA Conference & Expo in October 2008, in San Jose, CA.


ENKI - The company aim is "to allow you to focus on delivering your application to your customers while we handle the operations side: providing computing as a reliable service."

ENKI CEO Dave Durkee is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Enomalism - Founded in November 2005 by Enomaly Inc, Enomalism - a so-called "Elastic Computing" platform - focuses on "solving the cost and complexity for enterprises that run large technical server infrastructures." Enomalism's flavor of cloud computing simplifies IT management as well as increases efficiencies of system resources. "IT administrators no longer need to install software and manually set up all the systems, but may instead use management software do this. Resources are used more efficiently because computers can be consolidated to achieve more tasks. This ensures that underutilized systems do not sit idle."

Reuven Cohen, Founder & Chief Technologist of Enomaly, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Force.com - see SalesForce.com

Founded in 2000, with offices in the US, Europe and Asia, GigaSpaces allows businesses and developers "to predictably scale on-line systems under any peak demand, guarantee real-time performance under any data processing load and seamlessly leverage the economies of scale offered by virtual computing environments such as clouds and grids."

GigaSpaces CTO Nati Shalom is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Google - Without a doubt 'the elephant in the cloud' - According to this well-researched article, Google filed as long ago as February 2006 a provisional patent application with 91 different numbered claims that arguably makes it clear that Google has a multi-year lead in cloud computing.

Heroku - According to the San Francisco-based company's founders, "Heroku means never thinking about hosting or servers again." In May 2008 they raised a $3 million round of funding for their online deployment system for Ruby on Rails apps. Heroku is a Y Combinator start-up.


Founded in 2004, Hyperic provides complete, easy-to-use monitoring and management software for all types of web applications, including hosting it in the cloud via its CloudStatus dashboard currently in beta.

Hyperic CEO Javiet Soltero is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

IBM - IBM approaches cloud computing "from the inside out" as it describes it. This means that Big Blue's focus is on building the most secure, efficient and resilient infrastructure for today’s organizations, and building the cloud experience as part of that infrastructure. With more than a dozen Blue Cloud Computing Centers worldwide, IBM provides cloud services, ready for use, designed to assist organizations in proving a cloud experience for their constituents. In addition, IBM is the premier company to help build an organization’s private cloud, or leverage any of the many IT services that are today provided by IBM through cloud computing, like Capacity on Demand, or the IBM Information Protection Services.


Joyent - The Joyent platform, which "enables teams to effectively communicate and collaborate with email, calendaring, contacts, file sharing, and other shared applications," already serves billions of Web pages every month and helped LinkedIn scale to 1 billion page views per month. Self-described as an "On-Demand Computing" provider, Joyent has developed, built and scaled some of the earliest Ruby on Rails applications – and as a result, developed a world-class infrastructure, a methodology around how to deploy and scale (both up and down) Rails applications.

Joyent's Co-Founder & CEO, David Young, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Keynote Systems - Long a player in the SaaS space, Keynote recently announced the opening of its cloud infrastructure and is offering any Web team concerned with their end users’ experience free access to KITE (Keynote Internet Testing Environment), its product for testing and analyzing the performance of Web applications across the Internet cloud. With a Web application’s performance depending on a variety of clouds’ infrastructures, ad servers and other third party content, potential pitfalls grow exponentially and Keynote contends understandably that "it’s more important than ever for Internet companies to test and measure applications to ensure a superior end user experience." With KITE, companies have free access to Keynote’s cloud infrastructure and a tool to test and monitor their applications from cities all over the world, helping mitigate performance issues.

LongJump - The Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solution that LongJump offers is described by the company as "an on-demand platform for creating and delivering business applications to manage data, streamline collaborative processes and provide actionable analysis." The company claims that the LongJump platform has "extensive features around security access, data analysis and visualization, and process automation – all on the web."

Microsoft -
According to this recent article - "Microsoft's Cloud Vision is Coming Together" - Redmond's Cloud Platform vision is coming together. "Look for more information at PDC2008!" writes Microsoft Developer & Platform Evangelist John C. Stame.



Nirvanix - Provider of an enterprise cloud offering that offers companies with more than 5TBs of data a highly scalable storage and delivery platform, Nirvanix has already raised more than $18 million in funding from world-class investors including Intel Capital. The company's customers include Fortune 50, media and entertainment and innovative Web 2.0 customers.

Nirvanix CEO Patrick Harr is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Parallels -
Founded in 1999, Parallels optimizes computing by providing virtualization and automation software to businesses and service providers across all major hardware, operating systems, and virtualization platforms. Parallels is working closely with a network of ISVs and service providers to enable them to build their cloud computing and software-as-a-service offerings, meeting the needs of end-user organizations of all size. Parallels technology is also used by large enterprises creating their own in-house clouds.

Platform Computing - Founded in 1992, Platform is a pioneer and global leader in HPC (high-performance computing) and takes the view that there is an intersection between grid computing and cloud computing in that both cloud and grid propose an architecture that masks the complexity of managing thousands of commodity servers from their users.

Platform Computing Co-Founder & CEO Songnian Zhou is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).


SalesForce.com - has a toolkit for cloud computing development, Force.com.


RightScale - The company's main offering is an automated cloud computing management system that helps companies create scalable web applications running on Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). Through its platform and consulting services it "enables companies to create scalable web solutions running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) that are reliable, easy to manage, and cost less."

RightScale's CTO, Thorsten von Eicken, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).



rPath -
Founded in 2005, rPath is pioneering an approach for application distribution and management known as "virtual appliances" - which in turn are a key enabler of cloud computing. "Virtual appliances eliminate the hassles of the general purpose operating system and free vendors and customers to focus on application value instead of technology management," says the company. Virtual appliances eliminate the time consuming task of installing, configuring and maintaining complex application environments.

rPath Founder & CEO Billy Marshall is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

ServePath/GoGrid - Launched in 2006 as ServePath’s latest growth opportunity, GoGrid, claims the company, "delivers true 'Control in the Cloud' by combining many of the familiar features of dedicated server or managed hosting with the flexibility and scalability of cloud server hosting." In other words, with GoGrid customers can grow production servers in real time to meet demand without affecting their uptime. Provisioning and de-provisioning of servers is all done via the Internet.

ServePath/GoGrid CEO & Co-Founder John Keagy is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).


SIMtone - Durham, NC based SIMtone has developed and commercialized a 'Universal Cloud Computing Platform' that allows network operators and businesses "to host, manage and quickly provision any cloud-hosted services, and ubiquitously deliver them to zero-touch terminals that can be standalone, low cost hardware appliances, or software terminals usable via browsers or on PCs, thin clients and mobile devices."

- Seattle-based Skytap's goal is "to make serving up virtual machines over the internet as ubiquitous as delivering HTML to a browser." Its initial product offering, Skytap Virtual Lab, is a hosted, on-demand service for virtual lab automation and management.

Skytap CTO John Janakiraman is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

SmugMug - Founded 5 years ago, SmuMug calls itself "the ultimate in photosharing" since it offers unlimited storage and stores backup copies of each photo in multiple datacenters. With more than 315,000 paying customers already, and 288,000,000 photos, SmugMug is a QED of cloud computing.

SmugMug Co-Founder, CEO & Chief Geek, Don MacAskill, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

SOASTA - No one who heard SOASTA speak at AJAXWorld in 2007 about best practices in AJAX testing will be surprised to hear that Web testing is also at the heart of its CloudTest offering, a Cloud-based testing solution "built on the cloud to enable application testing in the cloud."

SOASTA Executive Chairman Kevin Gardner is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008).

Sun - In July 2008, David Douglas was named Senior Vice President of Network.com, Sun's offering based on the Sun Grid project. Douglas is now the head of Sun's overall cloud computing initiative and his group now reports directly to Sun's CEO Jonathan Schwartz. ""We continue to see huge potential in the cloud space," commented Douglas as the news of his appointment was announced.

- Offering 'Enterprise Cloud' services that "let you control a resource pool of processing, storage and networking and allow you to deploy server capacity on demand," Terremark as years of experience managing complex, mission critical infrastructures and applications for leading companies around the world.

VMware - A virtualization leader and pioneer, VMware has effectively delivered the technology that makes today’s clouds possible. With the pervasive presence of VMware in many accounts, enterprises are leveraging their virtualization infrastructure to build internal clouds, and leverage technology like VMotion to flex resources for DR or test and development to external clouds, as needed. Its vCloud initiative, says the company, "offers users of all sizes this robust and reliable platform, support for any application on or off site, and choice from over 100 service providers worldwide who deliver the cloud on VMware."

VMware's VP of Emerging Business, Dan Chu, is a speaker at SYS-CON's upcoming Cloud Computing Expo in San Jose, CA (19-21 November, 2008). He will be giving a session entitled "The Enterprise Cloud: Applications On and Off Premise."


More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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