20 Coolest Cloud Infrastructure Vendors4:00 PM EST Fri. Jan. 29, 2010
Cloud infrastructure may not sound sexy on the surface, but peel the onion a little bit and realize the ease and the cost savings of deploying, using and monitoring and managing apps in the cloud and it gets a bit more attractive. Everyone does it a little differently, but at the core, the companies that made our list of 20 cool cloud infrastructure vendors all have one thing in common: They rock the party, and by that we mean they have the tools and offerings necessary to embrace and leverage the cloud to its fullest potential. Some of these are well known, others were just established within the last 12 months. Either way, if cloud computing is on your radar screen, you'd better get to know these 20 cloud infrastructure players and soon.
AllenPort's "hybrid SaaS" technology is making waves. It replicates a traditional Microsoft Windows network and makes it possible to download data or applications such as Microsoft Word to wherever the user is working. This is all done securely using AllenPort's Virtual File Cabinet offering. Overall, AllenPort's technology handles file management chores like backup, file sharing, disaster recovery, remote access and managing user requirements.
AppZero may be a newbie but it wants to break down the walls of the traditional approach to virtualization and make it easier to move applications to the cloud. With that in mind, AppZero offers OS-free Virtual Application Appliances that are self-contained, portable units, meaning enterprises can experiment with moving applications to the cloud while avoiding cloud lock-in. Meanwhile, for cloud providers, AppZero offers services that offer fast and easy application provisioning.
If we're learning anything about the cloud it's that it's all about self-service. And Boomi, with its AtomSphere offering, takes self-service a step into the future. Founded in 2000, Boomi and its AtomSphere connect any combination of cloud and on-premise applications without software or appliances. But rest assured that with AtomSphere, system integrators, ISVs and businesses handle any combination of SaaS, cloud and on-premise app integration without the burden of installing or maintaining software or appliances.
CA's acquisitions of NetQoS in September, 2009, and Cassatt earlier last year have put CA to the forefront of cloud computing in 2010. The two acquisitions helped CA bulk up its cloud-based network and systems management tools. By adding NetQoS's monitoring prowess and Cassatt's data center automation and policy-based optimization expertise, CA can boost the functionality of its Spectrum Automation Manger to let it manage network and systems traffic in both public and private cloud computing environments.
Calling itself a SaaS integration company, Cast Iron offers an option for integrating SaaS applications with the enterprise. That method, which involves configuration, not coding, can in some cases slash integration costs up to 80 percent. The approach also gives SaaS providers the ability to offer their customers a rapid data migration and integration service.
Citrix Cloud Center (C3) ties together virtualization and networking products, arming cloud providers with a virtual infrastructure platform for hosted cloud services. The service, which is available on a monthly, usage-based pricing model and support mode, is an architecture comprising five key components: a platform powered by Citrix XenServer; applications and desktop services via Citrix XenApp; delivery powered by Citrix NetScaler; a bridge using Citrix Repeater; and orchestration through Citrix Workflow Studio.
Elastra makes software that enables enterprises to automate modeling, deployment and policy enforcement of the application infrastructure. Its products tie in with provisioning and virtualization tools. Elastra's Enterprise Cloud Server software handles the management and provisioning of complex systems. Users can quickly model and provision application infrastructure; automate changes to the system deployment process; efficiently utilize internal, external and virtualized resources on demand and enforce IT policy rules. Elastra Cloud Server can also run on Amazon Web Services.
With its Atmos and Atmos onLine offerings, EMC is evangelizing its approach to the cloud to deliver scalability, elasticity and cost savings by building, virtualizing and deploying services and applications. Atmos onLine is a cloud storage service built on Atmos, EMC's policy-based information management platform. EMC Atmos onLine provides Cloud Optimized Storage, or COS, capabilities for moving and managing large amounts of data with reliable service levels and in a secure fashion.
When it comes to the cloud, IBM isn't messing around. The proof is in the pudding with its Smart Business Cloud services and solutions. With its combination of services and systems, which comprises public and private clouds and cloud-based versions of some of IBM's most popular applications, IBM is looking to the cloud for everything from analytics and software and services delivery to services such as storage management and cloud-based e-mail, scheduling and contact information.
Informatica basically pioneered cloud computing for data integration, offering a host of offerings for customers of various shapes and sizes. It offers fast and easy pay-as-you-go and pay-for-use options that let users move data into or out of the cloud or manage data within the cloud of from one app to another.
Call it IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) or call it an enterprise cloud infrastructure. Data ONTAP 8, NetApp's latest cloud computing infrastructure, ties together its two previously separate platforms: Data ONTAP 7G and Data ONTAP GX. It delivers improved data management functions and tighter integration with data center management systems. Ultimately, NetApp Data ONTAP 8 enables storage, server, network and applications layers to talk to each other.
New Relic is running full throttle with its RPM offering, an on-demand performance management tool for Web applications. It takes only minutes to implement and offers visibility and code-level diagnostics for Web apps deployed in both private and public clouds, along with traditional and dedicated infrastructures, and any combination thereof. With RPM, New Relic delivers real-time metrics, unlocking the ability to monitor, troubleshoot and fine tune app performance in the cloud.
Novell is looking to the cloud to tie together all things IT. It is combining products like Moblin, a cloud-centric desktop OS developed by Novell and Intel; the SUSE Appliance Program, a program for ISVs to build software appliances and receive go-to-market support; Novell Cloud Security Service; and PlateSpin Workload Management Solutions for IT managers.
This open-source toolkit fits snuggly into existing data center environments to build any type of cloud deployment. OpenNebula can be used to manage virtual infrastructure in the data center or to manage a private cloud. It also supports hybrid clouds to combine local infrastructure with public cloud infrastructure for hosting environments. Additionally, it supports public clouds by offering cloud interfaces to expose its functionality for virtual machine, storage and network management.
OpSource is all about "cloud operations," offering everything from an enterprise-grade cloud infrastructure to fully managed hosting and apps management. Essentially, OpSource Cloud is a virtual private cloud within the public cloud, giving users control over their degree of Internet connectivity. Meanwhile, OpSource On-Demand combines technical operations, application operations and business operations into a Web operations offering that includes application management, compliance and business services. Lastly, OpSource Billing CLM is a self-service offering for SaaS and Web customer on-boarding, subscription management and payment processing.
This IT search and management service startup recently launched its Log Management application to let IT managers capture and store their logs as well as search and analyze them in the cloud. Paglo compares it to a Google-like search for logs, collecting data from all network devices. Paglo has also recently launched a new application to monitor Amazon EC2 application instances, such as disk reads and writes, CPU utilization and network traffic. Users can access the cloud-based information from any Web browser.
RightScale's Cloud Management Platform eases deploying and managing apps in the cloud and enables automation, control and portability. The platform helps users get into the cloud quickly with cloud-ready ServerTemplates and best-practice deployment architectures. And users retain complete visibility into all levels of deployment by managing, monitoring and troubleshooting applications. Lastly, RightScale's Cloud Management Platform helps users avoid lock-in by letting them choose their deployment language, environment, stack, data store and cloud for portability.
Stoneware's mission is simple: To enable organizations to move from a client-centric to a Web-based, private cloud computing environment. With products aimed specifically at core verticals -- education, healthcare, manufacturing, legal, financial and enterprise -- Stoneware offers private cloud technology that is being used to create solutions that enable organizations to access applications, content, data and services from anywhere in a secure fashion.
Last August, VMware acquired SpringSource which provides Web application development and management services. SpringSource speeds the delivery of applications in the cloud using a process that has become known as "lean software." VMWare also acquired Hyperic, an open-source monitoring and troubleshooting vendor. The VMWare-SpringSource-Hyperic trifecta creates an amalgamation that ties together VMWare's virtualization vision, SpringSource's strong development tools and application servers as well as Hyperic's monitoring.
Zeus gives users the ability to create, manage and deliver online services in cloud, physical or virtual environments, letting companies visualize and manipulate the flow of traffic to Web-enabled apps. And early this year, they will release the Zeus Cloud Traffic Manager so customers can monitor and control cloud usage, offering a single control point for distributed applications, reporting on datacenter usage and allowing for goals like cost, SLA, security and compliance to be applied.