Why they could be on top in years to come: Rackspace is already considered one of the main rivals to Amazon, and its Cloud Tools quickly grew into a top cloud ecosystem. Moreover, Rackspace has been aggressively rolling out new features, such as Database-as-a-Service (DaaS) tools; and it has been doing the hard work to support popular third-party platforms, such as Oracle.
Key Executive: Emil Sayegh, GM of the Rackspace Cloud, was formerly Director of Services Marketing at Dell.
Customers: Radio Flyer, Razorfish, TV Guide Magazine, Carlsberg, Wendys, Boston Celtics.
The company is backed by $5.5 million in Series A VC funding from Benchmark Capital and BV Capital.
Why they could be on top in years to come: Cloud adoption will move slowly if too much emphasis is placed on public clouds. Many large organizations simply have too much invested in their in-house applications and infrastructures to abandon those investments. Eucalyptuss positioning as a private- and hybrid-cloud software provider should serve the company well.
Moreover, any new proprietary computing technology eventually attracts open source competitors. Eucalyptus is an early advocate and provider of open-source cloud tools. When NASA built its Nebula Cloud Computing Platform, arguably one of the most advanced cloud platforms, the space agency relied on various open-source technologies, including Eucalyptus, Django, Xen, and the Lustre file system.
Eucalyptus is also pushing for cloud standards, presumably hoping, of course, that its own technology will be one of those standards.
Key Executive: In March, Eucalyptus appointed former MySQL CEO Marten Mickos as the companys new CEO. Former CEO and co-founder Woody Rollins now serves as CFO.
Customers: NASA and Eli Lilly.
According to its February 2010 earnings report, Terremarks total revenue for Q3 fiscal year 2010 totaled $74.3 million, up 13 percent over the prior year. Not bad coming out of a deep recession.
Before you think this is a reflection of how bad the recession actually was, Terremark reported that it had a record bookings quarter with $37.6 million of new annual contract value booked in the quarter ended December 31, 2009.
In terms of the cloud, the company increased the annualized cloud computing run rate to $17.2 million during the third quarter, a 30 percent increase from the previous quarter.
Terremarks Enterprise Cloud is a managed cloud platform for deploying mission-critical applications. Enterprise Clouds Infinicenter web portal allows users to configure and provision virtual servers and server groups. It also has features for organizing servers according to role and dynamically extending them according to utilization.
Why they could be on top in years to come: Already considered a leading provider of collocation and VMware-based infrastructure services, Terremark has carved out a sizable cloud niche by landing a number of government customers.
Terremark is investing heavily in its Network Access Point (NAP) of the Capital Region, a data center complex located outside of Washington, D.C. in Culpepper, VA. Obviously, NAP of the Capital region is intended to serve the federal government. Getting an early foothold with the Fed should pay off both near- and long-term.
Key Executive: Randy Rowland joined the company in 2007 and served as VP of Product Development and GM of Managed Hosting before attaining his current position as SVP of Product Development.
Customers: Agora Games, USA.gov, Library of Congress, SUBWAY Restaurants.
GoGrid is directly positioned against Amazon EC2. It differentiates itself through broader support of various Windows and Linux operating systems, lower pricing and a 100% uptime SLA.
Im not sure how much of a competitive advantage that extra .01% of uptime is, but as you can probably guess, GoGrid cites its customer service quality and reliability as key differentiators.
Why they could be on top in years to come: Like other hosting companies on this list, GoGrid offers a range of other services collocation, managed hosting, CDN services to keep the lights on as its cloud computing services ramp up. The company is pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy, which makes perfect sense in the early days of cloud adoption.
Even more promising, GoGrid has focused on interoperability as a competitive differentiator. With others trying to throw walls around their platforms and sneak vendor-lock in through the cloud, GoGrids efforts to integrate with a range of operating systems and its acceptance of tools from vendors that, at first glance, could be considered competitors (RightScale, Tap in Systems) means that when GoGrid mentions interoperability, its not an empty promise.
Key Executive: John Keagy, CEO and co-founder, previously founded and sold several ISPs.
Customers: GoGrid claims nearly 10,000 customers, including Novell, Macys and SAP.
RightScale promises to deliver control and portability back to IT as cloud sprawl threatens to become just as bad as data-center sprawl. The RightScale Cloud Management platform allows organizations to deploy and manage applications across multiple clouds. A SaaS product, the platform sets up server clones, load balances them, monitors for and reports errors, performs automated backups, etc.
The company is backed by $17.5 million in VC funding from Index Ventures and Benchmark Capital.
Why they could be on top in years to come: Theres no guarantee they will be. As with other startups on this list, they have their work cut out for them to maintain success. That said, RightScale is focused on a specific IT pain point and is early to the cloud-management game. The company has already scored a couple of major customer wins with ESPN, Eli Lilly and Sony Music.
Key Executive: Thorsten von Eicken, CTO and founder, previously founded and served as Chief Architect of Expertcity (which was acquired by Citrix Online), where he directed the architecture of GoToMeeting.
Customers: ESPN, PBS, Eli Lilly, Sony Music, Harvard University, Zynga, Sling Media, CrowdStar, StarCut, Animoto.
One of the ways around the issues of security and control that make some businesses wary of cloud computing is to build a private cloud -- one that remains within the corporate firewall and is wholly controlled internally. Private clouds also increase the agility of IT an organization's IT infrastructure and make it easier to roll out new technology projects. Download this eBook to get the facts behind the private cloud and learn how your organization can get started.