The purpose of this article is to provide you with a guide for cloud computing and the top cloud computing companies.
Here you will find could definition and types, IaaS and SaaS basics, and advantages and benefits of using cloud solutions.
The list of the best cloud computing and hosting providers will provide you the information you can use for comparison between them.
- What is cloud computing? Services, types and benefits.
- Companies requirements
- Major cloud computing companies
- Top cloud service providers
What is cloud computing?
Cloud computing provides shared resources and data to computers and other devices on demand.
It means that the cloud is something “outside” your organization and you actually “rent” storage, processing power or software.
Usually, cloud computing companies are third party vendors which have a powerful data center or well-developed software.
The clients of their services are companies which need various services – additional storage, web hosting, new environments, more security, server performance, etc.
Cloud computing offers a wide range of advantages.
Flexibility – you can “rent” small cloud and upgrade it later. It grows when your business grow.
Cost – CAPEX (capital expenditure) becomes OPEX (operational expenditure). It is excellent for investment planning.
Maintenance – Each cloud computing provider offers some level of maintenance. It means you will need fewer system admins or engineers.
Scalability – Most of the cloud computing providers offers automatical scalability options. It means that if you have peak performance, the data center provides with more resources.
Access – In most cases, you can access from everywhere if you have user rights.
Security – Cloud providers usually have an excellent level of security.
There are 3 main types of cloud services – IaaS, SaaS and PaaS.
IaaS – Infrastructure as a Service is the most common type. This article is written mainly for it. IaaS is pure computing power and can be described as “renting hardware”.
It means that you can “rent” virtual machine with CPU, RAM and storage for hosting your data. You can see the example offer.
Of course, this is not all. The cloud computing providers offer firewalls, public and private IPs, load balancers, network devices, and more.
SaaS – Software as a Service allows you to “rent” software system or some of its module. It has many advantages – the software is actually working, it has maintenance, it is usually stable and of course, you can rent minor access or modules. Which means that you can actually test it before starting implementation. The drawback is that not each required change can be implemented or at least implemented on a reasonable price.
The drawback is that not each required change can be implemented or at least implemented on a reasonable price.
In fact, many companies offer both on-premise and SaaS types of pricing modules.
PaaS – Platform as a service offers access to platforms as databases, application servers, development tools, and etc.
There are 3 major types of clouds supported by cloud computing companies:
Private – all physical infrastructure is used by one organization only. Usually, it requires more efforts but from the other hand, you have full control.
Public – these are the classical clouds and they are rendered over a network that is open for public use. Usually, 3-rd party vendors have their own databases which are accessed via the Internet to the user rights.
Hybrid – these clouds have both private and public elements. For example private cloud with some servers in the company’s office with VPN connection to the public cloud resources.
Before you select your cloud computing provider, you need to consider two major items:
- Your business need
- And need-based requirements.
First, define why do you need a cloud – for additional storage, for more power, for an additional environment, for hosting, for security, etc. Obviously, there is no single company on the market which is best in all the above aspects. So defining your business need and goal is a crucial element in comparison and selection.
Second, there is a list of requirements which may arise. Here are some examples:
- Cloud Management software, web-based and mobile access
- Terminal Access and APIs
- Range of resources – CPU, RAM, hard disk space, operating systems
- Transfer In and Out options
- Range of IPs
- Load Balancing services
- Encrypted storage
- VPNs and Firewalls
- Automatic failover to other servers
- Automatic scalability in rush hours
- Dedicated servers and collocation options
- Maintenance 24/7
OK, there are much more. But one good cloud computing provider should have at least 2/3 of the above requirements. Anyway, it is up to you to decide which requirements are most important.
Major Cloud Computing Companies
Here is a list of cloud providers specialized in computing, but most of them have hosting and storage options also.
So let’s start with the big “fishes”:
This is one of the best cloud service providers. For obvious reasons – it provides tons of cloud features.
From virtual machines to pure storage, from SaaS services to big data, gateways, networks, apps, etc.
Microsoft Azure provides 50 cloud services.
And what about cloud computing?
It is excellent – you have high availability, autoscaling, Azure Software Development Kit integrated with Visual Studio, monitoring software, alerts, one of the best CPU, RAM and storage options available.
So you can have all of the cloud services – IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, integrated and stable with tons of MS apps and integration options (APIs, VPN, etc).
Downside – almost none. The storage is not encrypted and pure web-hosting is kind of expensive. But overall, Microsoft Azure is one of the best and most reliable cloud service providers.
More information – on Microsoft Azure website.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon is one of the best cloud computing companies around. In fact, it offers a full range of infrastructure, platform, and software as a service.
And when it comes to cloud computing options Amazon shines. It offers virtual servers, auto-scaling, load balancing, especially good when it comes to big data. You can “rent” very impressive amount of CPU, RAM and storage power plus Oracle database. So if you need big data you can trust it.
Of course, this is not all – Networking options are impressive. You can have a virtual private cloud, DNS, all types of IP, APIs, etc.
Security options are excellent. Amazon Web Services are PCI DSS compliant, has ISO/IEC 27001 and EU Directive 95/46/EC. Firewalls are impressive and there are useful VLAN and VPN options.
Downside – almost none. Only the storage is not encrypted and the hosting is some kind expensive.
More information – on Amazon Web Services website.
Google Cloud Platform
Of course, Google platform is one of the best cloud infrastructures you can get.
It has everything you need – predefined or fully customizable virtual machines, load balancing, auto-scaling, top CPU/RAM/storage options.
Google offers very fast and stable networking with many security features compliant with ISO 27001, SSAE-16, SOC 1, SOC 2, and SOC 3 certifications. And the data is encrypted which is a plus.
Google computing services have also numbers of useful features as persistent disks, batch processing, local SSD, Windows and Linux support.
Hosting prices are reasonable which makes them attractive.
Downside – wee it is difficult to find downsides in Google but the storage seems a little bit expensive. From the other hand, there are nice automatic discounts which can decrease its price significantly.
You can find more information on Google cloud platform.
Top cloud service providers
So, here is a list of the best cloud computing companies different than Google, Amazon and Microsoft.
CloudSigma is one of the excellent cloud service providers outside the big 3 (Microsoft, Amazon, Google).
Of course, CloudSigma provides a full range of IaaS and SaaS services but there are some features which are especially good.
First – CloudSigma provides a full range of cloud solution:
- Standard public cloud
- Dedicated public cloud resources
- Hybrid clouds
- On-premise clouds
- Dedicated servers.
Don’t know about you but I really appreciate the flexibility.
Second – CloudSigma is an excellent solution for big data. You can rent terabytes of storage, the migration is easy and the network connection is very fast and reliable. So if you need to store your big data somewhere and to have 100% access to it, CloudSigma can be really helpful.
Third – Data is encrypted which is cool. Security is very high and CloudSigma has a couple of certificates.
Fourth – there are many pricing options for both – small business and large enterprises. As I said, I respect flexibility.
There are other useful features such as user-friendly cloud management software, APIs, integrations with many software providers, instant provisioning, alerts in case of downtime, etc.
All the above makes CloudSigma one of the best cloud computing companies you can use.
You can find more information on CloudSigma official website.
Well, it is not easy to write 10 sentence description for Rackspace. Because they have tons of useful features and service.
These guys support all types of clouds and cloud services – storage, networking, developers tools. It is all there.
But I think that Rackspace is one of the best cloud computing companies when it comes to networking services. Why? For many reasons such as:
- Complex topology support
- Extremely high availability
- Clustering support
- Automatic scalability
- Support multiple protocol
- Advanced load balancer
- Health checks and full-featured APIs
- Advanced firewalls
- DNS management
- CDN services
So, if you need best cloud networking services Rackspace is a proper option. Which does not mean that other cloud services are not good. Not at all. You can fully rely on them also.
Let me mention one more thing – the support is just great. And this is very important for me.
For more information – visit Rackspace official webpage.
StratoGen is also one of the best cloud computing companies. Why?
Because of its stability. It is one of the most robust providers.
StratoGen cloud services include:
- 100% uptime SLA
- Automatic failover
- Persistent storage
- Dynamic resource allocation and resizing
- Fully redundant infrastructure
- Powerful firewall
All the above features make the StratoGen’s virtual machines very stable and reliable.
So if stability is your major requirement, StratoGen is a good choice.
But pure cloud computing is just one of the features available. You can have additional storage, disaster recovery as service, managed services and hosting, big data options, and more.
In short, StratoGen is an excellent and very reliable provider.
More information – on the StratoGen official website.
Dimension Data is one of the top cloud computing providers which offers a full range of cloud solutions.
The company offers excellent private cloud computing services with dedicated or on-premise infrastructure.
The public clouds solutions are also top rated with on-demand provisioning of storage,CPU, RAM, networking.
The support is very good. The company has high SLAs (service level agreements). The company offers many Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery features.
The security provides useful features as encrypted data, a powerful firewall, VPN options, etc. The company is PCI DSS compliant.
Other than pure cloud computing, Dimension Data offers a wide range of useful SaaS services (Sisco, Microsoft) and consultancy.
More information is available on Dimension Data official website.
e24Cloud.com is one of most flexible and user-friendly cloud computing companies.
Although it is not the biggest cloud provider, e24Cloud offers many useful features for small and medium business as:
- It is very easy to start using their services and to change your configuration later. I mean see the example of configurator – it is simple but flexible, right?
- Second, there are many free or cheap features, especially the ones for transferring your data.
- e24Cloud has very fast connectivity which is also stable with more than 99.99 availability.
- e24Cloud offers APIs for easy integration to Amazon Web Services
- SSD accelerated cloud storage is a very nice feature
- Excellent support
So, e24Cloud is a fast, simple but enough powerful option if you have a small or medium business. The balance between quality and price are excellent thou.
You can have more information on e24Cloud.com.
Storm on Demand
Storm on Demand is another great cloud computing provider which you can rely on.
It is a very flexible provider which allows you to select required server size, OS image, bandwidth, backup options, and more.
And to provision your cloud server instantly.
You can upgrade / downgrade on the fly while having persistent storage.
The load balancer is great, it has a flat fee and include one Virtual IP with unlimited backend nodes, plus SSL termination if needed.
Storm offers a wide range of available server images which include CentOS, Ubuntu, Windows Server, Fedora.
You can have a full range of public, private, dedicated servers. Private servers communication is highly secured.
Storm provides you also with a great firewall with many system admins options.
Of course, that is not all. Storm offers many other useful features – SSD, CDN, DDoS Protection, VPN options, dashboard, pricing flexibility…..
If you want more information- please visit Storm on demand official website.
Elastichost has many data centers on 4 continents and offers great cloud computing services.
You can select your RAM, CPU, storage and to change them during the time.
There are auto-scaling services if you have peak times.
Having multiple static IPs and private networks per server is one very cool option.
Elastichosts offers pre-installed OS as Windows, or BSD and pre-installed OS images as Debian, Ubuntu, Windows, MS SQL, and CentOS.
The cloud services have 100% availability and full 24/7 support.
The company provides different storage solutions – high-performance SSD and low-cost HDD depending on customer needs.
Overal, Elastichosts is a great cloud service providers, very reliable and with reasonable prices.
If you need more information – check Elastichosts official website.
This is the list of the best cloud computing companies. I know that this is not full because there are many other excellent providers. But I used to work with most of them and I really think they do a fantastic job. Anyway if you have suggestions, please post a comment or contact me via the website contact form.