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5 Cloud Services To Watch In 2012

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2011 was no doubt an year of cloud innovations and developments. Several cloud services including, IaaS, PaaS and SaaS came in, many failed, many succeeded and many are on their way to be next Amazon.

With the start of 2012, it is evident that 2012 will be an year of Cloud Technology. We will see yet more companies offering cloud services but there are few, which experts and cloud maniacs are watching closely. These companies include, Amazon (which has to maintain its cloud dominance), RackSpace (which has to keep challenging Amazon), Microsoft (which has to prove a lot), Google and Salesforce (both have to fight for PaaS leadership).

Lets discuss them individually and how they improved the productivity and flexibility of their customers.

# 1 Amazon
Amazon's AWS or Amazon Web Services offers two main cloud platforms namely Amazon EC2 and Amazon s3. If Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute functions with the prime view to offer users facility to create re-sizable compute capacity in the cloud. Apart from it, the cloud architecture was designed to make the web-scale computing an easier task. To add more to its features is the scope to develop failure resilient applications. To understand Amazon's web services in a better manner let us consider an example from the industry that benefited largely by using AWS.

Company Example: NextPoint

NextPoint is an Information Technology firm working to promote Software-as-a-Service based applications. Its core areas of providing and offering services are in the field of trial preparation and evidence management. Now, the company wanted to deploy a SaaS application that could overcome their problem of unexpected spikes that occur frequently at the time of managing and monitoring massive amounts of data by IT corporations and litigation firms. In such a scenario when critical problems like these occur, dire need of a scalable, flexible, reliable and secure mode of infrastructure is always felt by the company. Thus, the company planned to choose Amazon Web Services (AWS) to boost applications within the in-house IT infrastructure of Nextpoint.

Results for NextPoint

The company's daily tasks and work operations scaled up easily with an adjoining fact that it reduced its hardware and software costs to a great extent. Not only this, using Amazon EC2 cloud service, the company hosted three additional applications including NextPoint Trial Cloud, Discovery Cloud and Cloud Preservation. Thus, by mere implying Amazon EC2 and Amazon S3, NextPoint raised its It infrastructure to the benchmark levels to deliver leveraging services to nearly 100 corporations and 100 law firms.

# 2 Microsoft "Azure"
Microsoft's Windows Azure Platform is structured in such a manner in order to host and scale up web applications of business enterprises. In competition with other cloud providers, Microsoft too has excelled in the field. A brief description on its windows azure cloud can be well understood by an industry example.

Company Example: SAPO

The Portugal brand and subsidiary of Portugal Telecom, SAPO wish to establish a strong customer base in both web and mobile telecommunications. For this, the company opted for Windows Azure and Microsoft SQL Azure and signed a deal with TM forum, which is an organization that works towards promoting best practices in IT. Soon after deploying its Service Delivery Broker (SDB) on Microsoft's two cloud architectures the productivity levels increased.

End-Results

One of the major advantages that the company experienced while using Windows Azure cloud platform is the fact that SAPO developers and other IT professionals associated with the project were able to create more worth in the cloud.

# 3 SalesForce
SalesForce is one of the reputed CRM (Customer Relationship Management) organizations that work towards promoting competitive relationship solutions to its clients in the most efficient way possible. Force.com, cloud architecture by SalesForce is one of the cloud platforms that have helped several organizations to manage their CRM applications via this medium cost-effectively. Most of the applications are built for catering requirements in the billing, ERP and human resources and recruiting segments. Let us take an industry example to have a brief overview of the cloud architecture. Moreover, SalesForce cloud architecture is based on SaaS and PaaS platforms.

Company Example: Gree Inc.

GREE Inc. one of the largest Japanese social network platform has deployed SalesForce.com's cloud architecture in its infrastructure. The cloud facility has provided employees an easier platform where they can coordinate amongst each other efficiently and can have an access to the real-time feeds on applications and development schedules. Its in-house infrastructure was deployed on cloud with a view to create a manageable environment in the company's global game development process.

Moreover, to add more to it, GREE's Marketing Global DR Management Office Global Developer Relations Yosuke Nakamura said "Leveraging Force.com as the platform for our global development initiative, we will enable our partners to collaborate and develop a variety of great gaming and entertainment applications all over the world."

In relation to speed, low cost and flexibility factors Nakamura also emphasized on the fact that "Force.com incorporates the latest social and mobile technology."

# 4 Google Docs & App Engine
Google came in to win the race and to ease the cloud. The cloud architectures are built on three fundamental principles - Easy to Build, Easy to Manage, and Easy to Scale, thus, let us find out which all organizations have been benefited with Google Docs and Apps Engine cloud applications.

Company Example: Bright Green Projects

A project management company named White Stratus in collaboration with Bright Green Projects chose Google Apps Engine cloud architecture for reducing its costs and drive revenue growth. Why it required a complete revised version of costs because the company was facing software license volumes that were clustering rapidly in the fast moving SaaS industry. Thus, to introduce effective and efficient cost reduction remedies had become dire need of the company.

Solution to their problem:

Google Apps Engine was incorporated in the in-house infrastructure of the company. This was done to build a strong market place in the industry and to establish a strong customer place across the globe. End results came to appear quite fascinating for White Stratus. Not only their software sales increased by 300%, which was 17 % more than the previous sales chart, but it also gave a hike to the free registration trials for software license by 250%. All this and more was just happened within a period of 60 days.

# 5 Rackspace
Yet another cloud provider, Rackspace is one of the leading organizations offering competitive and cost-effective cloud solutions to the users globally. An example from the industry would help us understand the services offered by this cloud provider.

Company Example: Dubset

Dubset is an internet based company that deals with Internet radios created by some of the world class DJs. The project of developing and creating Internet radios was started with the view that music lovers could follow their favorite music artists and get live recordings from popular clubs and any kind of exclusive music events. Their service also promoted a feature for the users where they can create and develop their own customized channels.

Now, this resulted in bulk music files that involved or captured enormous space in their in-house IT infrastructure. It was during this time that the management decided to go for rackspace cloud services where they could concentrate on other business strategies and less on the storage space issues.

End-Results

According to one of the Charlie Robbins, Technology Director at Dubset, "We use a lot of Cloud Files, because we're streaming to CDN." By stating this he meant that because Dubset's prime business was into music, network storage issues was prime concern. However, after deploying all their services on to rackspace cloud, the hassle of managing and investing in expensive hardware and software storage applications reduced to a great extent.

According to him "Cloud Files works great. It's really simple, and it's cheap. We're streaming 1.5-2TB a month--a huge amount of data. With Cloud Files, we don't have to worry about it, it just works."

Bottom line

With so much discussed on cloud and its related live examples from the industry, year 2012 is for sure to see more of cloud and managed cloud computing techniques. As for now, if still are in dilemma about whether to avail cloud services or not, you probably have to buck up as leaders don't wait for others to set examples in the competitive cloud market, instead they foremost set examples for themselves.

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Cloud Computing Management

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