Sure, plenty of other vendors Google, Rackspace, Amazon and Salesforce.com, to name only a few have a head start in this space. But what Microsoft lacks in early mover cachet it more than makes up for with ubiquity.
No matter how the big platforms shake out, though, problems remain. Security, management and licensing could all hinder broader cloud adoption. These 10 startups have novel solutions that will help drive adoption in 2010 and beyond:
What they do: The rapid adoption of virtualization technologies signals a major transition in the datacenter. Enterprises are achieving major benefits, including operational cost savings, consolidation of physical servers, and greatly streamlined deployment. However, understanding and locking down the security posture of virtualized datacenter infrastructures represents a significant challenge.
Altor tackles this challenge through a virtual firewall/IPS system that mitigates risks to virtualized and cloud-based applications and data.
Customers: Altor has 25+ customers, including Syracuse University, the U.S. Army, International Medical Corps, Ericsson and Nielsen Mobile.
Funding: $7.5 million in Series A and seed funding from Accel Partners and Foundation Capital.
CEO Amir Ben-Efraim was formerly head of business development at Check Point Software.
Headquarters: Redwood Shores, CA.
What they do:
What they do:Appirio bills itself as a provider of both products and professional services that help enterprises accelerate their adoption of the cloud. The companys strategy is to focus on existing platforms, such as Google Apps, Amazon Web Services and Salesforce CRM, and provide tools and services that help customers leverage those platforms. These engagements, the company believes, will serve as a springboard to broader adoption of its cloud offerings.
Customers: Appirio claims over 2,500 customers, including Japan Post, Avago, Starbucks, Author Solutions and Qualcomm.
Funding: $16.7 million in total funding. The last round (Series C) closed in February 2009. Key investors include GGV Capital and Sequoia Capital. Before taking over at Appirio, CEO Chris Barbin served as CIO and SVP of business operations at Borland Software.
Headquarters: San Mateo, CA.
What they do: One of the big obstacles to enterprise-class clouds is that data is locked into many applications that dont always play well together. Delivered as a service, Boomis AtomSphere can integrate any combination of SaaS, cloud and on-premise applications from its integration cloud without the need to install and maintain conventional integration products.
Customers: Customers include Ingres, Marketo, Global Forex and EA Sports.
Funding: $4 million in Series A funding from FirstMark Capital and undisclosed investors.
Before joining Boomi, Bob Moul, President and CEO, was group president at MAXIMUS. Earlier, he spent several years at EDS where he held various roles, including director of EDS operations in Hong Kong and China, and executive director of its federal government business in Australia.
Headquarters: Berwyn, PA (suburban Philadelphia).
What they do: Canonical (along with Eucalyptus) developed and continues to support Ubuntu, one of the main OSes used for cloud deployments. The two companies continued to work together to further develop the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud.
Canonical is following the Red Hat model, deriving revenue from their support of an open-source project. They also deliver images of their server product for use on the Amazon EC2 cloud.
Customers: Canonical claims hundreds or thousands of users of Ubuntu on Amazon EC2. Meanwhile, they have pilots of UEC in place at two major banks and a number of universities.
Funding: The company is backed by an undisclosed amount of private funding.
Founder and CEO Mark Shuttleworth will continue to run the show until March 1, when current COO Jane Silber will take over.
Weird fact: In April 2002 Mark Shuttleworth flew in space as a member of the Soyuz mission TM34 to the International Space Station.
Headquarters: Isle of Man with offices in London, Boston and Taiwan.
What they do: Cloudkick provides tools to manage cloud servers within a number of environments, including Amazon EC2, GoGrid, Rackspace Cloud and Slicehost. With Cloudkick IT pros can monitor a number of critical server metrics, including load, CPU, bandwidth, memory, and disk space, through a browser-based agent.
Customers: This is an early stage startup that has not announced any customers.
Funding: $750K in seed funding from Avalon Ventures, with participation from Nueva Ventures. Alex Polvi, CEO
Headquarters: San Francisco, CA
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.