There has been so much debate and discussion as cloud computing is continuously growing from day to day.
There are three main service categories in the cloud: Infrastructure As A Service (IAAS), Platform As A Service (PAAS), and Software As A Service (SAAS). All these services can be accessed anytime and anywhere in the world because they are all available 24/7 through the internet. The hardware requirement on the users’ site become simpler since all the computing power has been moved to the cloud so a smartphone or a tablet PC is enough.
Christina Warren listed the major cloud service providers and consumer cloud services as below:
Major Cloud Providers and Companies
Amazon Web Services: In 2006, Amazon launched its cloud computing platform, Amazon Web Services. AWS is comprised of a number of different products that allows businesses and application developers to build their own cloud-enabled applications. These tools include Amazon S3 storage service and the Amazon EC2 cloud computing platform.
Amazon is a huge player in the cloud platform space, with major web companies like Groupon and Foursquare using various parts of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure to power their products. Because so many businesses — big and small — have come to rely on AWS, system outages can cause problems for those companies.
Salesforce.com: When it comes to the enterprise cloud, Salesforce.com is a huge player. Beyond its flagship Salesforce.com CRM system, Salesforce.com also allows enterprises and businesses to build their own tools on its Force.com platform.
Google: Although Google offers its own infrastructure product by way of its Google App Engine, the search giant’s bigger cloud ambitions are still emerging. Right now, most of Google’s cloud offerings are accessible in the form of consumer- and enterprise-focused services, such as Google Apps and Google Docs.
Still, Google maintains its own cloud infrastructure and has helped define the idea of the modern cloud-based web application.
Perhaps its most ambitious cloud offering is ChromeOS and the new Chromebook line of computers. With ChromeOS, the operating system is in essence, the web browser. Every app and every action is built around the idea of cloud services and applications. It’s a fascinating concept and could prove to be very disruptive for businesses that have their employees primarily interacting through web applications anyway.
Microsoft: Microsoft’s Azure platform lets users build, host and scale their web applications using Microsoft’s data centers.
Last summer, Microsoft launched its platform appliance aimed at allowing large customers like eBay, HP and Dell to offer their own cloud services using Microsoft’s technology, but in their own data centers.
IBM: IBM has been working on various cloud initiatives for the last several years. In April, it launched its more robust set of offerings by way of the IBM SmartCloud and IBM SmartCloud Enterprise brands.
Consumer Cloud Services
Google Apps: Google Apps, which includes Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs, is one of the best known consumer cloud applications. Google Docs is tremendously popular with startups, businesses and individuals.
Box.net: When it comes to collaboration, document management and storage, Box.net is consistently one of most innovative players in the cloud computing space. The company started off as a more consumer-focused cloud storage company, but has pivoted quite successfully into a leading collaboration services offering that’s geared toward small businesses and larger corporations.
What makes Box.net unique is that it has robust APIs and application support not just for other web apps, but for mobile and tablet apps as well.
Dropbox: Dropbox is one of the most popular cloud and file storage solutions because it makes sharing files with other users or across computers dead simple. The service is focused on consumers, but many businesses use it, too. Dropbox has an API and is supported by a multitude of web and mobile applications.
OnLive: The cloud is about more than just documents and file storage — it can also be used to deliver video games. Startup OnLive has really pushed the envelope in terms of what we can expect from cloud gaming in the future.
The idea of being able to play games from the cloud — no disc or download required — is something that is likely to catch on, big time, in the next few years.
iCloud: Later this fall, Apple will formally roll out its iCloud offering, and the general consensus is that this will be what brings the idea of cloud to the mainstream.