Jan 142012

What is cloud computing? Who are the key cloud computing providers

With the advancement in the computing world, we are getting to see more advanced features and applications with each passing day. Amongst others, Cloud Computing has been gaining great popularity rapidly. It is a technology that uses the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and applications. The idea comes from the usability of the internet whereby you network with one another as a “cloud”. The term “Cloud” is used as a metaphor to conceal complex problems that one shouldn’t have to deal with. Traditionally there is a Data Centre, with a number of servers on it. On those servers are the physical resources, and then there is the operating system on which the applications are installed, which can be accessed by the end users.

The concept of Cloud computing came to life because a need was felt to cut down the costs that took place as a result of additional cost that incurred because of the need of accessing and installing myriads of applications that the user might want to use. With an easy internet access, having an efficient, storage memory processing and bandwidth, the experience of Cloud Computing gets much more pleasing and dependable. Thus, Cloud Computing is just like electricity, that comes to you on demand, has broad access, pools together necessary resources and offers a measured access. At the end, all one gets is a bill depending upon how much “resources” she/he uses.


Cloud computing is broken down into three segments: “applications,” “platforms,” and “infrastructure.” Each segment serves a different purpose and offers different products for businesses and individuals around the world.

Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo email, itunes cloud are examples of cloud applications. Cloud Hosting is an example of Cloud infrastructure and is getting popular with large and midsize businesses.

Any business can profit from cloud computing as it helps to eliminate business barriers which in turn leads to increased efficiency in running your business. The other advantage is that you have access to the latest cloud technology such as back up, disaster recovery, data storage and much more. These are just some of the services it’s able to offer to businesses no matter how big or small they are. A paradigm shift to cloud computing will affect many different sub-categories in computer industry such as software companies, internet service providers (ISPs) and hardware manufacturers. Thus because of the resourcefulness there is a little domain that is overlooked because of the increasing need of technology in all sorts of businesses.

There are many major players in the Cloud Computing industry. They have varied strengths competing in a competitive arena. Amongst them are:

  • IBM cloud computing:

    • One of the strongest companies in the realm of Cloud Computing. Offers:
    • Architecture for private and hybrid cloud
    • Cloud Computing as a service for IT 
    • Software as a Service business solutions


  • Akamai:

    • Pertains to almost 10 years of experience in Cloud Computing.
    • Enables the provision and deployment of “scalable clustered applications in minutes from anywhere in the world.”
  • Amazon:

    • Offers “innovative platform technology” around the Mongo database
    • Shares unique insight into global software-as-a-service transactions
  • Cisco:

    • By virtue of its recent acquisitions, most significantly WebEx and PostPath it has developed a larger client owing to its more specialized outlook on a broader spectrum.
    • Smarter IT operations achieved through better automation of the underlying machinery.
  • Rackspace:

    • Large data centers located in several parts of the world
    • Years of experience in the area
  • Google Cloud:

    • Already a provider through Gmail and Google docs plus many other services
    • Aggressively trying to be the biggest cloud computing provider
  • Microsoft Cloud Computing:

    • Hotmail and other services
    • Like Google, aggressively trying to be the biggest cloud computing provider
  • Apple:

    • Itunes cloud

Akamai, Amazon, CISCO and Rackspace are more on the infrastructure side along with several smaller players. IBM, Oracle and others are trying to come up with reliable platforms to support cloud applications while Apple, Google, Microsoft and others are trying to conquer the applications arena. Some straddle multiple arenas like Microsoft that is trying to manage both the applications and the platform sides.

Cloud computing is an evolving area. The more things change, the more they become the same. In the beginning, there was one central computer and connected to it were a large number of dumb terminals. Then distributing computing evolved and the role of the central server was a little diminished. Now with cloud computing, we are again going towards an era of a central cluster of servers connected via the internet to hundreds of thousands of intelligent terminals / clients all over the world.


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