The online retailer came out of nowhere in 2006 to offer up idle compute cycles as a service. Microsoft may be a little late to the party, but never underestimate the companya€™s ability to get it right eventually. Every Web hosting company has jumped on the cloud bandwagon, but no hosting company has taken a leadership role like Rackspace.
But here are 10 companies that have distinguished themselves as the leaders in cloud computing, either by being first to market, by offering the broadest and deepest set of cloud services or by taking a leadership role in the cloud revolution. Since then, it seems like therea€™s no market Amazon is unwilling to enter and no competitor ita€™s unwilling to take on. The pieces certainly arena€™t all there today, but experts say Microsoft has probably the most ambitious approach to cloud computing. Since then, more than 100 organizations have joined the OpenStack movement, which Rackspace recently spun out into a standalone non-profit.

Terremark was an inviting target for Verizon, both for its data centers around the world and for its managed hosting expertise. Cisco is also attacking cloud from another angle with its strategic partnership with EMC, VMware and Intel in a joint venture called the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) Company.
Like Verizon, AT&T is also trying to leverage its huge installed base of cell phone customers. Of course, Citrix already had a stake in the cloud world with its Xen hypervisor, which Amazon used to build its cloud platform. In addition to core IaaS and hosting, Verizon offers security services as well as identity- and access-management services. If youa€™re a third-party provider of cloud services, thata€™s the platform you need to be compatible with.
In addition, VMware is forging alliances with key players such as Google, Salesforce and Cisco.

Rackspace believes that basic IaaS services are becoming a commodity and that customers are willing to pay for additional services like app deployment, system monitoring and hybrid cloud management. Over the summer, Citrix launched Project Olympus, which combines OpenStack with the XenServer virtualization platform.
Over time, Amazon has added multiple cloud storage offerings and is moving into the PaaS market.
And it teamed up with IBM to offer a cloud storage service that incorporates IBM's backup infrastructure and management capabilities to help monitor and protect stored data.
CloudStack 3 supports all of the major hypervisors, but also adds an optimized version of XenServer 6.

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