Amazon and IBM are the 'cloud champions,' report says

Closely followed by Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Red Hat and VMWare

Amazon and IBM are the "cloud champions" according to a new report, but Microsoft, Google, Cisco, Red Hat and VMware are also among the list of heavyweights in the emerging cloud computing field.

Amazon cloud uses FedEx instead of the Internet to ship data

All tech vendors are embracing the cloud. Even those that don't provide public cloud services are fighting to become the top builders of infrastructures to support emerging cloud networks.

A new quarterly report from BTC Logic, an IT consulting firm, attempts to rank the top cloud players, and puts them into seven broad categories: cloud foundations, infrastructure, network services, platforms, applications, security and management.

BTC Logic claims Amazon and IBM are the "cloud champions" because they rank in the top five in four of the seven categories. The companies Microsoft, Google, Red Hat, Salesforce, Symantec, VMware, Citrix, EMC, Oracle, Level 3 and Cisco are deemed "cloud heavyweights," one level below Amazon and IBM, because they rank highly in fewer categories.A third group of companies is listed merely as "cloud contenders," and this group includes AT&T, Aylus Networks, Rackspace and SAP's Business Objects division.

Neither Microsoft nor Google rank first in any of the seven cloud categories, but Google is second behind Salesforce.com in cloud applications and Microsoft is second behind VMware in cloud foundations. Cloud foundations refer to tools and software that make it possible to build cloud infrastructure.

BTC Logic says it is trying to help customers sort out the confusing mass of cloud vendors.

"The Cloud Computing marketplace still has a confusing array of vendors each promoting its own solution, and a steady increase in the number of new Cloud product and services," the firm says. BTC Logic says its research shows that "enterprises will not significantly move applications and data into the Cloud until issues related to security, privacy, and data location (trust services) are fully resolved … [and] that enterprises want to retain more control over governance and have the ability to oversee applications and data running in a broad hybrid Cloud."

Amazon, according to BTC Logic, is the No.1 provider of cloud infrastructure with its Elastic Compute Cloud offering, and also tops the list of cloud platforms for development and deployment of applications.

Amazon ranks second in cloud network services, defined as "the communication components that combine with Cloud foundation and infrastructure to form Cloud architecture." Perhaps surprisingly, Cisco is third on this list, which is topped by Level 3 Computing Services.

Amazon also ranked third on the list of cloud management companies because of its S3 Simple Storage Service offering.IBM joined Amazon as a "cloud champion" by placing first in management with the IBM WebSphere CloudBurst Appliance, third in security (behind EMC/RSA and Symantec), second in platforms, and second in infrastructure.

VMware comes out of the BTC Logic report looking pretty good, placing first in cloud foundation with vSphere, its virtualization and management platform, and vCloud, its partner program that allows some interoperability between internal data centers and cloud services.

Red Hat has made the case that only itself and Microsoft have all the tools necessary to build clouds, including operating systems and middleware, while VMware argues that its superior virtualization technology makes it the real leader. Microsoft is second in this category with Hyper-V, just ahead of Red Hat and Citrix, according to BTC Logic.

"VMware remains the clear leader in this category," BTC Logic says.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

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