While that hope may be sincere, big obstacles loom before a tech firm can call itself entrenched. Nowhere is this more true than in the crowded field of cloud computing vendors. These young companies face a cruel rule of the cloud business: the future of cloud computing wont be ruled by small players.
Its the big boys who will be victorious in the emerging cloud computing market. Success in offering remote computing leans heavily toward bigger-is-better: more servers, bigger networks, more complex managed services.
In 2009, however, being a small fry is great. Now is the time when anyone with an idea and a few bucks can jump in. But the window is short. By, say, 2012 or so, itll be clear the winners are the likes of Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce. When a CTO tells the CEO which cloud provider she picked, it better not be Barneys Server Hut.
The good news for small cloud vendors: Todays hulking titans will grow into still bigger hulking titans by devouring talented upstarts. (In fact, the tech titans will likely devour everything. No word yet on when Google will buy the state of California.)
As the giants look around for tasty targets, the following seven cloud companies are desirable choices. Each is a bright up and comer with something to offer. Each is basking in the glow of positive buzz.
And, of course, one never knows maybe one of these young cloud firms will itself start snapping up its colleagues. Any one of these outfits could someday be a household name. In the rapidly churning cloud market, the future is impossible to predict.
Forget Amazon or Rackspace GoGrid wants to host your enterprise data on its Xen-based servers. The companys chutzpah is impressive: it actually places a comparison chart between itself and Amazon EC2 on its homepage, which based on brand awareness is sort of like David comparing himself to Goliath.
By the looks of its pricing chart, GoGrid has very deliberately aimed at undercutting Amazons prices, down to the penny. According to GoGrids reckoning, its cloud infrastructure services offering saves you about $600 a month over Amazons.
GoGrids menu of services is extensive, ranging from standards like load balancing to a nice touch like managed compliance audits. It touts its straightforward user interface, which helps small business owners manage their remote infrastructure without in-house IT staff.
GoGrid is a division of San Francisco-based ServePath, founded in 2001. ServePath also owns Upstream Networks, a content delivery network, and ColoServe, which provides collocation services.
You have to give Enomaly credit: it launched way back in 2004, when cloud was hardly a popular buzzword. The core idea, too, shows real savvy: Enomalyss Elastic Computing Platform (ECP) allows companies to create their own private cloud. On the other hand, ECP also provides companies with a bridge to external cloud hosting. A Web hosting company, for instance, could use ECP to tap into the growing demand for cloud services, offering its clients a virtualized public cloud.
Founder Reuven Cohen blogs at ElasticVapor, a good read to help follow the industry more than a marketing tool. Cohen, something of a cloud theorist, has founded or help found a number of cloud-related organizations.
Heres a trophy for the company: The open source edition of ECP was SourceForges Project of the Month in August 2008, a considerable honor given the volume of development at SourceForge. (The community version of ECP is a free download.)
The problem, of course, is that ECP isnt the only such solution. For instance, take a look at Elastra (see below) or Virtual Iron (which itself was recently bought by giant Oracle) as a small company offering a cost effective similar solution. Only time will tell how these many competitors will shake out.