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In Pictures: Top 10 Amazon cloud challengers

Here are 10 companies and why they have a shot at challenging Amazon.

  • While industry analysts don’t foresee any public cloud service vendor making a noticeable dent in Amazon’s huge market lead anytime soon, Cloud Technology Partners, Forrester Research and Gartner do consistently name 10 providers that have a shot of picking up significant future revenue as the overall demand for public compute, infrastructure and storage services grows in the next three to five years. Here are the 10 companies and why they have a shot at challenging Amazon.

  • Company: Bluelock Why they have a shot: Bluelock is a small, independent outfit that only has datacenters in the United States. But analysts are keeping their eyes on Bluelock as it is the largest VMware vCloud Datacenter provider targeting both mid- and enterprise markets with public cloud services. Analysts laud Bluelock for its proven track record, multi-tiered levels of service and its portfolio portal that gives customers tools that both monitor cloud services and track cloud spending. Bluelock now offers two types of Recovery as a Service products. High profile customer: WellStar Health System

  • Company: CSC Why they have a shot: CSC is a traditional IT outsourcing firm that offers multi-tenant public IaaS under the name CloudCompute. It offers a standard architecture and pricing across CloudCompute, which is served up from more than 15 data centers worldwide, and BizCloud, its private cloud service. CSC has been lauded for its highly automated cloud model, a road map that includes automated managed services, and generous trial offerings that give enterprises an opportunity to migrate business apps to the cloud as a proof of concept. High profile customer: Coca Cola Enterprises

  • Company: Dimension Data Why they have a shot: Since entering the public Compute as a Service (CaaS) market with its 2011 acquisition of enterprise cloud specialist OpSource, Dimension Data has used its worldwide presence and its $6 billion deep pockets to build its reputation. Its offerings are priced aggressively, it has proven reliability (backed by 100 percent SLAs) and has built a significant cloud ecosystem by fostering hosting partnerships with a long list of ISVs. Dimension Data recently launched WAN optimization services to help speed up application performance and this month rolled out an optional backup and recovery service.

  • Company: Google Why they have a shot: Google’s newly minted pure play public IaaS offering -- Google Compute Engine –is rooted in the other legs of the company’s cloud portfolio: Google App Engine (GAE), a platform as a service (PaaS) which gives users the ability to build custom apps and not have to worry about the compute resources required to run them; Google Cloud Storage; Google Big Query, a SQL-based business analytics service; and CloudSQL, a database as a service offering. This month Google rolled out load balancing features that allow customers to automatically scale up and down virtual machines to accommodate unexpected spikes in demand.

  • Company: IBM Why they have a shot: IBM’s recent $2 billion acquisition of SoftLayer rounds out its already robust cloud portfolio, which includes its SmartCloud Enterprise and SmartCloud Enterprise Plus offerings, both of which serve up public and private IaaS cloud options for customers. However, these services have failed to catch on with developer-centric audiences. SoftLayer, which is known in the industry as being one of the most successful bare-metal clouds, appeals to developers and engineers who may be concerned about performance. High-profile customer: United States Department of the Interior

  • Company: Joyent Why they have a shot: Joyent is a pure-play cloud company known for its engineering prowess. Joyent supports cloud-native applications on its Smart Data Center public IaaS that pulls in both network-based acceleration, ingrained storage and deep performance analytics. The company has also developed its own SmartOS infrastructure stack. In June, Joyent rolled out its newest service called Manta, which allows processing and data analytics to be done without having to transfer data from a storage system into a compute engine, speeding the transaction time. High profile customer: Digital Chocolate

  • Company: Microsoft Why they have a shot: The Redmond giant has thrown its full weight behind its Azure Cloud Services with both rapid-fire service enhancements and pricing schemes aimed squarely at Amazon’s sweet spot. The original Platform as a Service offering for .Net developers has rapidly evolved into a more open PaaS supporting multiple web languages. In June 2012, it added an IaaS offering that supports just about any application. Microsoft recently announced that customers can use Active Directory that is based within the Azure cloud to gate access to resources hosted there. It has also extended the reach of its System Center Management platform to provide insight into the performance of resources hosted within Azure. High-profile customer: Toyota

  • Company: Rackspace Why they have a shot: Rackspace has a long track record in the managed services arena and it has anchored its transition to the cloud on the OpenStack open source IaaS which it co-developed, released into the wild and now hopes to champion as the most widely supported cloud platform in the ISV ecosystem. The company offers public, hybrid and managed cloud services, including highly elastic servers available on-demand, high performance MySQL databases, global monitoring for web infrastructure, file level, encrypted, compressed, automated backups, cloud block storage, and software defined networking for increased security. High-profile customer: Major League Gaming

  • Company: Savvis (a CenturyLink company) Why they have a shot: Coming from the managed services side of the cloud, Savvis has built a broad, multi-tiered IaaS portfolio under its Symphony moniker with a particular emphasis on security features and supporting mission critical cloud applications. Savvis has a broad reach with data centers across the globe. Savvis is also one of the few hosting companies that has opened its managed hosting portal to its cloud-only customers, and, consequently has a very comprehensive set of management and monitoring features for its public cloud customers. High-profile customer: First Church of Christ, Scientist

  • Company: Terremark (a Verizon company) Why they have a shot: In 2011, Verizon bought big into the cloud with its $1.4 billion purchase of Terremark, a leader in VMware-virtualized public IaaS cloud offerings. The brand has grown to include a Private Edition that offers single tenant public cloud; Managed Edition (formerly the Verizon public cloud offering); Express Edition (a pay by the VM public offering); and, Public Sector (a federal community cloud.) Verizon has embraced open standards like Rackspace did with OpenStack, but backs a competing open source cloud scheme, CloudStack. High-profile customer: Quest Information Systems

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