Debating the 10 best cloud providers of 2011

In this week's episode of Cloud Cover TV, Jo and Carl discuss the new top 10 cloud computing service providers list. Find out who made the cut and who got dropped from last year's rankings.

And check out the Cloud Cover TV home page for the rest of the episodes.


Read the full transcript from this video below:  

Debating the 10 best cloud providers of 2011

Jo Matiland: Hello, and welcome to Cloud Cover, our weekly show on all the
juiciest news in the Cloud computing marketing. I am Jo Matiland, in
San Francisco.

Carl Brooks: And I am Carl Brooks, here in Boston.

Jo Matiland: This week we are taking a little bit of a break from the usual format
of the show, which is to focus on news, and we are actually going to shake
up our top 10 list of the leading Cloud computing service providers.
The list right now is about a year old, the first time we published it
was February 2010, so it is definitely due for a dusting. Before we
get into the action on whom we have chopped off, who has moved up the
list, and all of that stuff, I should briefly explain the criteria for
how we judge the companies that get on this list. It is three things.
Innovation, in other words, you are not the 3rd third or the 13th
company in the market to do whatever you do. Customer traction is a
key criteria, so paying customers, and there are lots of them. We are
also looking at the management teams of these companies, so proven
track record goes a long way. Clearly that is tricky these days with
Cloud computing as it is so new, but there are definitely people out
there now who know what they are doing that have built Cloud
infrastructure, so that definitely counts for a lot on this list.

We are also going to start at the bottom of the list to keep you guys
on your toes and keep you watching, so we are going to start from 10,
and rise up to the new number 1 spot. Without further adieu, Carl, why
don't you take it away.

Carl Brooks: Number 10: Joyant. Joyant was on our list last year, and it has
actually slid down to number 10. We kicked a couple of the other
standard Cloud providers that are out there off the list right now,
mostly because even if they are doing a great business, it is pretty
much the same as it was last year; I did not see a whole lot of
change. Joyant, on the other hand, actually released its own Cloud
platform, its own tools and operating system that you can build a
Cloud, which is, they have also partnered with Dell, so that you can
buy Dell hardware, it comes with Joyant built onto it and you can have
your own Cloud-in-a box if you will, which is an interesting way to
move the model along. If you like the service, buy if from Joyant. If
you like the service, like the idea, but you do not like the public
option, build your own. It is a clever way to keep things interesting.
Number nine?

Jo Matiland: Number nine, also sliding down the list: Microsoft. These guys have
made a huge song and dance about Windows Azure, their Cloud computing
service, claiming 31,000 companies are now using Azure, although, the
absolute bulk of those is tech companies, mobile companies, social
networking companies, gaming companies, et cetera. Very, very few
enterprise developers yet using Windows Azure, so we have yet to see a
stand-out company there in the mainstream marketplace picking up
Azure. Also, Microsoft, at least the Cloud business, is a little bit
of a rudderless ship right now. Steve Ballmer, the CEO, fired Bob
Muglia and a bunch of other top brass at Microsoft, so it is up in the
air as to what is going on with those guys. Number, where are we,
number eight, Carl?

Carl Brooks: Number eight. Yes, Microsoft Azure is very cool, but Microsoft is a
mess for sure. Number eight, a new entrant: Blue Lock, still a very
small provider by any of these standards, but very interesting. They
were actually an early VCE, that is vCloud Express partnered with
VMware, and actually helped build a tool that let their own ESX
customers jump out and use vCloud Express in the same data center,
which was a problem that VMware was not able to solve, at that point,
so they get points for innovation. They were also growing by leaps and
bounds; they were actually going to be a fairly major local employer
in their home city of Indianapolis pretty soon. They are adding data
centers basically, as fast as they can get it. So, yes, very
interesting play. Good job guys.

Jo Matiland: At number seven: it is Google, also sliding down our Top 10 List.
Although a major player, we have not seen anything from Google App
Engine that is particularly exciting in the past year, in the platform
as a service market. I did meet with the GAE team this week, and they
promised that by mid-2011, by mid-this year, there will be a bunch of
new features that appeal to enterprise developers, like a SQL hosting
service and various other things that they believe appeal to the
enterprise. Again, like Azure, they are attracting tech companies,
mobile, gaming, web companies, but still no breakout use case in the
enterprise space, so Google also sliding the list here.

Carl Brooks: Number six: Rackspace, which was our number two last year. Still
probably the second biggest Cloud extent, in terms of revenue, also,
maybe in terms of customers, but service pretty much looks the same
now as it did this time last year; they have not done a whole lot of
exciting stuff. There is complaints that have gone unanswered, and
while growth is steady, it is just what we are used to. They had a
boost, they had the soft launch of OpenStack this year, which was good
for PR, but did not really need much, I think there is one OpenStack
customer in the wild at this point, so we will see, a year could go
by. They just bought Cloudkick, so maybe they are going to make some
of those internal changes and start adding awesome onto their products
again.

Jo Matiland: Another new entrant on the list, number five is CSC, Computer
Sciences Corporation. These guys, old guard IT systems integrator
service provider, actually doing some really interesting things with
the VCE system, which is the Cloud-in-a box product from VMware,
Cisco, and EMC. What these guys do is wheel this giant system into
your corporation, your IT department and they actually, within ten weeks, turn it on and
integrate all your legacy messed up IT systems together into this big
new box and create infrastructure as a service within your
corporation, and they claim they can do all of that in ten weeks. If
you need additional capacity, you hook up to a CSC data center in
North America or in Europe, and you purchase Compute On Demand, as you
would from AWS or anyone else. It is kind of interesting; we were not
expecting these guys to make a move in the market, and they have hired
some interesting talent at the company too, to get this going, so it
is worth watching.

Carl Brooks: Yes, interesting, provider and purveyor, as it were. Number four:
SalesForce.com. I would have preferred to kick them off the list. I am
kind of down on SAS overall, just because it is pretty old, but
SalesForce.com bought Heroku last year, and single-handedly basically,
forced their way, in a serious way, into the platform market, which is
big and going to get bigger. It also gives them some legs to get
customers who are not interested in the patented SalesForce.com
Maximum Lock-In feature that you get on Force.com and their CRM
platform. They are at number four. One of the biggest Cloud providers
in the world and likely to have a bigger market, as well.

Jo Matiland: Interesting. At number three, our final, or not quite final, new
entrant, maybe a final entrant, into the list is IBM Big Blue, with
its test and dev Cloud service. IBM might be lugging around, at this
point, 100 years of IT baggage, but the company has finally managed to
get out of its own way and launch an infrastructure-as-a-service,
albeit just for test and dev applications right now. However, this is
IBM. Can they attract enterprise developers? That is their meat and
potatoes business. It is impossible to ignore IBM in this marketplace
without any marketing or particular effort around the test dev Cloud;
they are already doing about $30 million in revenue annually on that
service. These guys cannot be ignored, and hence, why we have decided
to push them up the list here.

Carl Brooks: Yes. Number two: Verizon. What is funny is Verizon had a Cloud; they
went out and built one themselves. It was a boutique, and it was
priced in commensurate with its rarity and its very nice hardware; it
is Four Seasons of Cloud, if you will. It was a small menu, expensive
bill, and snooty service to boot; however, they decided that it worked
well, and they decided they did not want to reinvent the wheel, so
they went out and they just, the same way I would buy a cup of coffee,
they went out and bought one of the premiere tier-one hosters in the
world, Teramark. Teramark also, probably the leader in enterprise
Cloud service, with its VMware-powered Cloud services, also vCloud
Express, and what they call the Enterprise Cloud. Verizon, who more or
less picked itself up a Cloud player, a Cloud market, and the reason
they are number two is because if you put Oracle, Microsoft and
Amazon, including the retail business together, you would have one
company that was still smaller than Verizon. They are bigger than HP,
bigger than IBM. They have all the pipes in the world, literally, and
they could really be the King Kong gorilla of Cloud if they want to
be.

Jo Matiland: Yes. This is definitely . . .

Carl Brooks: Right now, it looks like they do.

Jo Matiland: Right. This is definitely a wakeup call to the company that is still
our number one Cloud computing service provider: it is Amazon Web
Services. Without doubt, this company maintains its position at the
top of the list. They are the most innovative company in the Cloud
computing market, and by far and away, still the leader here. We heard,
and we actually published some stories on the Eli Lilly use case; they
were poster-child for AWS. They actually took some of their business
elsewhere last year due to some issues around service level
agreements. We think Blue Lock, the vCloud services at Blue Lock,
picked up some of that business with Eli Lilly. That is not yet
confirmed, but we have it on good authority that that is where Eli
Lilly went. However, this seemed potentially to be a bit of a wakeup
call for AWS. Those guys have since announced premium support
services, albeit at a fee, but you are now routed through to an
engineering specialist; this is something that they call a White Glove
Service.

You cannot see this unfortunately, Carl, but for everybody out there,
I would like you all to just picture Werner Vogels, the CTO of Amazon;
he's a huge Dutch guy. I would just like to have you all imagine
Werner wearing nice white gloves and looking after his customers.

Our previous honorable mention was News Servers, and we picked a new
company this week. It is NephosScale, which is a company based out in
the Valley here in California. They are trying to go head-to-head with
AWS in the infrastructure-as-a-service space. In previous shows we
actually discussed them in more detail, but we will see how they do.

Carl Brooks: Yes. It takes a pretty big set of ambitions to try and compete in
that regard these days, so good lucks guys.

Jo Matiland: Yes, thanks, Carl.

Carl Brooks: Thanks, Jo.

Jo Matiland: This has been Cloud Cover. Thank you for watching, and tune in next
week for all the news in the Cloud computing market.

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