The 20 Coolest Cloud Infrastructure Vendors Of The 2016 Cloud 100

Coolest Cloud Infrastructure Vendors For 2016

2015 was a transformative year for cloud providers, one in which the industry matured and the provider landscape settled. More than a few budding cloud companies perished along the way, but those that survived the tumultuous dust-ups of previous years have consolidated their market positions.

Cloud providers now, for the most part, offer rich feature sets and high-uptime SLAs. That's leading organizations large and small to finally perceive cloud as a reliable, economical and practical choice for hosting critical IT workloads. Businesses of all stripes are migrating en masse to join early adopters as all-in cloud consumers.

Here are 20 Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers CRN thinks are worth knowing.

If you missed it, check out the vendors in the other categories of The 100 Coolest Cloud Computing Vendors Of 2016.

Amazon Web Services

Jeff Bezos, CEO

Headquarters: Seattle

Amazon finally broke out financials on its cloud early last year, revealing to the world that AWS is a money-making machine. Revenue and profit margins only climbed in subsequent quarters as AWS unrolled new features at a breakneck pace, solidifying its position atop the IaaS heap.

Armor Defense

Chris Drake, Founder, CEO

Headquarters: Richardson, Texas

The provider previously called FireHost has established a niche in cloud hosting with a laser focus on security. The public and private offerings are hardened with Armor's own security technologies, and the company has plenty of cybersecurity experts on staff to make sure it implements best practices for security and compliance.


Randall Stephenson, CEO

Headquarters: Dallas

The telecom giant is making good on its commitment to deploy state-of-the-art infrastructure across its network and data centers. AT&T is working with Juniper Networks to deploy software-defined networking and is making a serious play for the Internet of Things market, leveraging its substantial connectivity assets.


Glen F. Post, CEO

Headquarters: Monroe, La.

CenturyLink has a proven enterprise-ready cloud and an ambitious vision to keep building out a diverse portfolio of features and capabilities. The hybrid services offered by the telecom, while appealing to traditional IT departments managing production workloads, are also easy for developers to employ.

Cisco Systems

Chuck Robbins, CEO

Headquarters: San Jose, Calif.

Cisco continues driving its cloud-of-clouds strategy and bringing providers into the fold of its InterCloud ecosystem. The networking leader has taken on a more software-centric approach as it promotes its InterCloud Fabric technology for building heterogeneous hybrid clouds.


Robb Allen, Founder, CEO

Headquarters: Jersey City, N.J.

Datapipe offers a complete hosting solution complemented by partnerships with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. And last year the managed cloud company acquired innovative cloud provider GoGrid, giving its in-house offerings advanced big data and analytics chops.

EMC (Virtustream)

Joseph Tucci, Chairman, CEO

Headquarters: Hopkinton, Mass.

Through its acquisition of Virtustream, EMC went from being a major cloud infrastructure vendor to a cloud services provider specializing in hosting mission-critical workloads for enterprise clients. Virtustream, still an independent entity in the larger company, sells a unique cloud management platform as a service, or as stand-alone software.


Sundar Pichai, CEO

Headquarters: Mountain View, Calif.

In fighting the hyper-scale cloud war, Google leverages its deep expertise in cloud-native application development and life-cycle management. While the tech is there, the Internet giant looks to be still figuring out its enterprise strategy and partner development formula. All eyes are on VMware founder Diane Greene, who recently took charge of the cloud business.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Meg Whitman, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

While the newly spun off HPE is shuttering its Helion Public Cloud, the company, which came into life when Hewlett-Packard split several months ago, is still a major player in hosted private and hybrid cloud. HPE's deep involvement in the OpenStack community, and its ownership of AWS-compatible Eucalyptus, give it a leg up in deploying cloud orchestration tech.


Robert Boles, CEO

Headquarters: Chicago

This managed cloud provider from the Windy City revamped its channel program last year with a vision of making it easier for partners to run their business. The company's cloud, offering virtual and dedicated environments built on Microsoft technology, is white-labeled and resold by a number of telecommunications and cable companies.

IBM (SoftLayer)

Virginia Rometty, CEO

Headquarters: Armonk, N.Y.

IBM's SoftLayer public cloud is the anchor in a diverse hybrid portfolio centered around OpenStack technology and unique bare-metal capabilities. Leveraging SoftLayer, IBM offers a number of managed services that focus on interoperability, security and enterprise-grade support.


Mike Ruffolo, President, CEO

Headquarters: Atlanta

Specializing in managed cloud, this midsize hosting provider with deep experience operating an OpenStack environment offers route-optimized bandwidth services that achieve optimal performance for latency-sensitive applications. The company's AgileCloud allows developers to rent native OpenStack functionality by the hour.

Microsoft (Azure)

Satya Nadella, CEO

Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.

Azure has entrenched itself in second place in the cloud market and looks to be the only immediate challenger to AWS. And Microsoft's cloud is growing at a pace that outruns nearly every other provider in the market, attracting customers with compute capacity, features, and native integration with on-premise Microsoft infrastructure.

NaviSite/Time Warner Cable Business Class

Sumeet Sabharwal, Group Vice President and General Manager

Headquarters: Andover, Mass.

NaviSite, a cloud provider owned by cable giant Time Warner Cable, offers a portfolio of managed services that can be bundled with its parent company's networking products. NaviSite's cloud, built on VMware technology, focuses on application management for several business suites, email and collaboration services.

Peak 10

CEO: Dave Jones

Headquarters: Charlotte, N.C.

A midsize cloud provider with all operations in the U.S., Peak 10 owns a portfolio of storage, security and disaster recovery tools that give it the confidence to offer strong recovery-time-objective SLAs. Through its portal, the provider also recommends right-sizing solutions to make sure customers don't overprovision cloud infrastructure.


Achim Weiss, CEO

Headquarters: Cambridge, Mass., and Berlin

ProfitBricks threw down the gauntlet in 2015 when it challenged the industry's giants. The German-American IaaS provider posted a price/performance guarantee on its website, saying it would beat any price for comparable cloud services from AWS, Microsoft Azure or Google Compute Engine. ProfitBricks focuses on delivering flexible packaging and billing plans.


Taylor Rhodes, President, CEO

Headquarters: San Antonio

The cloud provider made a surprising move last year, partnering to provide managed services for Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. But Rackspace still has a formidable managed cloud of its own. That cloud was recently bulked up with managed security, compliance and Linux container products.


Zak Boca, CEO

Headquarters: Chicago

This managed cloud provider has focused on building out infrastructure automation capabilities and creating an environment friendly for DevOps use cases. SingleHop has folded all its security features and best practices into a product called Shield Core, which it sells as a premium service called Shield Plus.

Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Chris Formant, President

Headquarters: Basking Ridge, N.J.

This subsidiary of Verizon Communications operates an enterprise-grade cloud it launched after the acquisition of Terremark. Verizon has integrated a broad array of services across several platforms and is now building out a next-gen platform through a software-defined strategy.


Pat Gelsinger, CEO

Headquarters: Palo Alto, Calif.

It remains to be seen what will happen to the vCloud Air public cloud now that it finds itself under the corporate umbrella of Dell. And while the public cloud has struggled, no one challenges the company's dominance as a thought leader in virtualization technology and its massive base of on-premise customers looking for hybrid solutions.