Cloud computing: the players

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Having attended several tech talks in the past several weeks, I summarize what is happening cloud computing. I will present a definition, core services, and integrators.


Cloud computing means to consume services such that consumers, companies that use cloud services, do not care how much resources is available on the back-end servers and network. These consumers can easily configure and customize cloud services easily using control panels. Cloud computing is also viewed by senior industry experts as the next generation of time-shared computing.

Core Services

The presentation by Salesforce last week provides three categories for core services: IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, which I will use in this description.

Infrastructure as a Service

The most fundamental technologies in cloud computing are platforms, i.e., operating systems that run on servers. These servers may be physical hardware or virtual machines, e.g., VMware. The primary company in this space is Amazon. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, is an amazingly bright for having this foresight to resell Amazon’s computing services. Amazon’s AWS is the de facto standard for infrastructure cloud computing.

Windows Azure, which was formally announced this Wednesday, June 7, 2012, also provides infrastructure cloud computing, including Linux OS for the first time. As described to me by a person working with both IaaS in his company, AWS is more powerful but Azure is rapidly being developed. I haven’t reviewed Azure yet (it was only yesterday that I attended the showcase).

Platform as a Service

Above the layer of infrastructure services are platform services. Platform services are enabling technologies to build certain types of applications on the cloud. For example, Salesforce provides a cloud service to handle Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Given that these services are fairly generic, such as login authentication, local caching on smartphones, and databases, they are “platforms” in that they can be used in any type of application. StackMob, which is only 2 years since inception, is actively developing in this space for this reason and SalesForce has DeveloperForce.

Software as a Service

I haven’t met companies who defined SaaS, but I presume that these are the APIs exposed by companies such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Airbnb, and others. These are cloud services that are tied to a particular product.


Integrators are vendors who apply cloud services to specific organizations. They deal with collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data for an organization’s specific needs. They concern themselves to the variety, volume, and rate of data needed to process. They understand the business aspects to cloud services such as the TCO (total cost of ownership) for using different cloud services. They choose between open source and commercial technology, specialized and commodity hardware, vendor lock-in, RDMS (relational database), NoSQL, and data warehousing.

Several companies working in this space are Infosys, Wipro, Deloitte Consulting’s Analytic Institute, Third Eye Consulting and Services, and Impetus. These companies were presenting at the Big Data Computing meetup in Silicon Valley, which I presume is the centre for these integrators.