Cloud computing companies are sprouting up faster than flowers in springtime. The surest sign of a new industry is a plethora of startups, and that is certainly the case in the cloud computing industry.
But after cloud computing’s first decade, there are two distinctly different truths – regardless of whether you're talking about public, private, or hybrid cloud offerings.
First, the inevitable consolidation has not taken place. Sure, big firms have snapped up small players, but many cloud startups are still in growth mode and not looking to be bought.
Second, the presence of old school tech giants in cloud computing. Established firms are often the last to embrace a technology, or at least very late to it. They are so enamored to their current business model that there is no room for embracing a new one – or they fear the new model because it could disrupt their current business. This has been true for emerging models ranging from SaaS to cloud analytics.
That's not the case here. In our list of the 50 leading cloud computing companies, you will see big names that have been around for decades. They recognized the new trend got on board, even if not in the first wave.
Please note: this list of cloud vendors is not in order of dominance or market share. Oh sure, we admit it: the very top cloud companies listed in the first “top players” category are (roughly) by marketshare. But overall this list should not be viewed as a 1-50 ranking. There are far too many variables involved to truly rank 50 cloud companies that way. In particular, the emerging cloud market's mix of public, private and hybrid cloud computing models adds complexity that resists a simple ranking.
Leading Cloud Companies
What started as an experiment to use idle capacity has grown into the largest, most comprehensive cloud offering in the world. Its offerings range from compute, network, storage, and backup to software like DevOps and database. AWS is clearly and inarguably the 500-pound gorilla in the cloud computing sector – and offers new cloud tools constantly.
Rather than fearing the new paradigm like it did with the Internet in the 1990s, Microsoft has embraced the cloud with a full on-demand service, Azure, and put two of its biggest cash cows – Office and SQL Server – in Azure for anyone to use. Helping Azure grow: the fact that Microsoft has a deep enterprise legacy.
Microsoft Azure, like many cloud companies, offers a pricing calculator to help estimate total costs.
Despite its dominance – and it’s great ambition for the cloud – Google is running third in the race for cloud market share. For a while it billed itself as the place to build cloud apps using App Engine, but that didn't work. So it announced a new strategy to "meet you where you are," as Eric Schmidt put it, and hired VMware founder Diane Greene to head the cloud business. Google is very strong in AI and Machine Learning, two very hot areas for the years ahead.
In addition to its massive services offering to help migrate to a cloud environment, IBM smartly grabbed PaaS provider Softlayer in 2014 and jump-started its on-demand offering, giving people platform and infrastructure as a service. That's just the beginning of Big Blue's massive offerings, which includes managed services, SDN, cloud migration services and on-premises private cloud servers and software.
Its Helion cloud service flamed out but HPE is deeply involved in the OpenStack community, offers an application development platform for cloud development and has an AWS-compatible platform for building private clouds called Eucalyptus, among other features.
The vCloud Air public cloud service offers three services: data center extension, disaster recovery, and data center replacement. VMware’s leadership in datacenter virtualization provides it with a high profile among enterprise customers.
Pivotal, a spin-off of EMC and VMware, offers Cloud Foundry, a PaaS service that offers a new way to build and deploy software rapidly and update it based on customer feedback. Pivotal also offers training to customers to build apps and offered analytics tools as well.
The on-premises software giant has heavily leveraged its offerings into SaaS, PaaS and IaaS offerings, including middleware, database, Java, security and identity-management services that enable integrating legacy systems with cloud systems. Deep pockets and willing to invest in the cloud.
The granddaddy of SaaS, the company has grown well beyond its initial offering of on-demand CRM to offer PaaS through its Force.com offering, an app builder called Site.com and a helpdesk system called Desk.com
The Salesforce website offers a complete menu of options based on pricing tiers.
With networking gear sales slowing, Cisco has pivoted to a cloud-of-clouds strategy with its InterCloud ecosystem. It launched the Intercloud service in 2014 designed to offer enterprise-class cloud IT services with two major components. The Intercloud Fabric enables workload portability, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) software for automatically provisioning of resources.
Data Analytics Companies
Cloudera is one of the early players in the Hadoop Big Data market. In addition to its on-premises software, it offers a hosted, managed, compliant and secure version of its Hadoop distribution, rather than deploying your own. It’s preparing for an IPO, with an expected valuation topping $1 billion.
Founded by ex-IBM people involved in the Watson supercomputer, CognitiveScale develops Big Data transformation and machine learning systems for decision-making and customer engagement. It offers industry-specific cognitive learning to help vertical markets, such as health care.
GoodData's business analytics tools support what it calls data monetization, taking input from up to 50 different data sources to help a customer utilize analytics and monetize all of the data they have gathered.
New Relic's digital intelligence platform enables companies to monitor and receive real-time insights into application and infrastructure performance so they can quickly resolve issues and improve digital customer experiences.
A leader in the business intelligence software market as well as the cloud, Tableau develops software that helps analyze and visualize large volumes of data to derive business intelligence and knowledge. Its data analytics software can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.
Paxata’s platform provides data prep for transformation and analysis, offering data integration, data quality, semantic enrichment, collaboration and governance. It is built on Apache Spark and optimized to run in Hadoop environments, and uses machine learning and a dynamically visual workspace that promotes transparent governance and ad hoc collaboration.
Open Source Stalwarts
Its Cloud Infrastructure offers an open, private IaaS cloud based on OpenStack, while Cloud Suite offers container-based app development. Its OpenShift PaaS gives developers tools to quickly build, host and scale applications in cloud environments.
It's not a company and has no employees, but no list of significant cloud companies would be complete without the Apache Foundation, whose work basically drives the Internet at large, including cloud computing, Hadoop for Big Data and other key applications.
OpenNebula touts itself as an offering in the “open cloud.” That is, it’s enterprise-grade open source cloud management. In essence, it’s a form of data center virtualization, an extensible layer to help you orchestrate your company’s cloud infrastructure.
Key Cloud Companies
Verizon tried to get into the enterprise cloud market after the acquisition of Terremark but is unloading that business now to work on helping customers move legacy services to other clouds, like Amazon and Microsoft. It is also looking to be the connection provider between cloud services and data centers.
With 55 datacenters around the country, CenturyLink provides public and private cloud services, including bare metal servers that are IBM's main selling point, along with managed services and PaaS for writing apps without dealing with the underlying platform.
The consulting giant provides both private and hybrid cloud management solutions. Its flagship product is the CSC Agility Platform, which offers management, governance, and security across multiple public and private clouds.
Salesforce for the little guy – but clearly possessing a high profile among its user base. NetSuite offers cloud-based ERP, CRM and e-commerce applications for small- to mid-sized businesses. It has been acquired by Oracle.
SAP's cloud offering is built around its HANA in-memory technology providing SaaS for line of business apps, PaaS for a cloud platform, and IaaS for an on-demand infrastructure. All services are available from public, hybrid, and private clouds.
One of the pioneers in SaaS, its Creator platform allows for building and publishing online database applications with just a simple drag-and-drop platform. Zoho Creator helps you build custom Web and mobile applications, automate workflows and generates customized analytics reports.
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.
Like Cisco, Juniper had to pivot from networking hardware to a cloud platform as the world shifted to the cloud. Its Contrail Cloud Platform combines the automation capabilities of its Contrail Networking SDN product with Juniper’s OpenStack distribution plus technologies from Ceph and Puppet to provide a turnkey solution for building OpenStack-based clouds.
Specializing in managed cloud services and an OpenStack environment, Internap helps customers build route-optimized bandwidth services for latency-sensitive applications using an OpenStack environment. The company's AgileCloud is an IaaS service that lets developers to rent native OpenStack functionality by the hour or offer full time hosting.
The managed service provider has partnered with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure to offer managed services for both on top of its own managed cloud offering. Rackspace also offers web application hosting or PaaS, cloud storage, virtual private server, load balancers, databases, backup, and monitoring.
Ceph is a free-software storage platform that implements object storage on a single distributed computer cluster, and provides interfaces for object-, block- and file-level storage. It offers Exabyte level scalability and distributed operation without a single point of failure.
Carbonite has grown from offering consumer online backup to a business-oriented cloud-based data protection provider, providing backup, storage, and disaster recovery, the latter of which came with the acquisition of Seagate's Evault business continuity and disaster recovery business.
Puppet specializes in configuration management software with its Puppet Enterprise, which automates cloud management. Puppet Enterprise creates a PaaS-style provisioning service for management of heterogeneous systems to monitor compute, network and storage.
Apigee is all about making APIs available for developers. The API console helps developers learn and work with APIs. It sells its Apigee Enterprise platform to enterprise API providers for functions such as API analytics, developer portal and keys, API rate limiting and traffic shaping, API transformations and performance monitoring.
A highly specialized firm, Appistry helps clinical labs, research institutions, and hospitals practice genomically-enhanced medicine with bioinformatics tools, cloud services, and software that streamline the analysis of next-generation sequencing data and make genomics data easier for researchers and clinicians to act on.
The Barracuda Cloud is an extension of Barracuda's on-premises products to simplify data security, storage and IT management and add a layer of protection and scalability by offering cloud backup in addition to on-site backup.
A combination of WebSense data security and cloud expertise, the threat protection from Raytheon and the network protection of Stonesoft, Forcepoint's solutions support secure deployment of Web, email and cloud security to all users, mobile and desk-bound.
Zendesk offers a cloud service that handles an enterprise's technical and customer support and can more easily be integrated into a company's business than setting up their own help desk. It provides self-serve portals for customer support, live support, and voice support.
HubSpot CRM is the small business version of SalesForce, offering a cloud-based CRM marketing and sales service for free.
Through its Cubby program, LogMeIn allows you to remotely log in to computers from anywhere to access your files, and helps enterprises manage remote computers as well.
Constant Contact is a cloud-based online customer service and marketing tools firm geared to help small businesses build and maintain relationships with customers. The entire service is delivered via a SaaS model.
The Qualys Cloud Platform is a suite of IT security and compliance solutions for constant testing and monitoring of your enterprise. Qualys sensors continuously monitor your enterprise and gather and analyze data to provide warnings or alerts of vulnerabilities or unwanted activity.
There are many consumer-grade online storage services, but Box is an enterprise-grade cloud storage service that offers file-sharing, collaborating, and other tools for working with files that are uploaded to its servers. Users can give others permission to access their files, edit them, or add/delete files.
Box.com competes in the cloud storage market, an exceptionally competitive sector.
ServiceNow offers pretty much the full gamut of cloud-based services for IT professionals. It specializes in IT Service Management, IT Operations Management, and IT Business Management applications and provides forms-based workflow application development.
Workday offers cloud-based human resources and finance software, and analytics for both. It also just struck a deal with Microsoft to integrate Office 365 into its SaaS products for finance and HR.
DocuSign ends the need to print out contracts and documents to sign and then be scanned back into your PC. Its Digital Transaction Management (DTM) and eSignature features allow organizations of any size or industry to add secure digital signatures to documents without ever needing paper.
Long the standard for artistic and creative people, Adobe has shifted many of its products that were installed on PCs to the cloud in the form of SaaS offerings. It offers three services, the Creative Cloud, the Marketing Cloud and the Document Cloud.
Not just for your resume, LinkedIn also offers cloud-based recruiting software called Recruiter that searches LinkedIn's database of 400+ million resumes.
Another file storage service for both consumers and business, Sync offers secure transfers, in-house secure servers, and fully encrypted data during transit. It guarantees one hour email support replies even for free accounts and handles large and small files equally.
AppDynamics offers enterprises real-time insights into their application(s) performance, user performance and business performance. This allows for faster responses regarding customer engagement and improved operational and business performance.
Asana is web based software-as-a-service offering designed to improve team collaboration. It focuses on allowing users to manage projects and tasks online without the use of email.
Each team can create a workspace. Workspaces contain projects, and projects contain tasks. In each task, users can add notes, comments, attachments, and tags. Users can follow projects and tasks and, when the state of a project or task changes, followers get updates about the changes in their inboxes.