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Alternate Cloud 20 List

By John | January 5, 2009

In my humble opinion Nick Carr just got lucky. It’s all about timing. He just happened to be working on a book about Google at the same time Amazon was about to part the sea. He lifted an old cliched metaphor of the 19th century electricity company, and shazam, he is now the father of modern cloud computing. His book, the Big Switch, is an excellent book; however, I think Mr. Carr’s recent “Cloud 20” is a good example of why he should stick to metaphors and not try and list top technology cloud companies. Of course, any list that gets put up is going get a fair amount of scrutiny. . . Nick Carr’s Cloud 20 notwithstanding. In my opinion, I feel that a list of the top 20 cloud companies should have the companies that have made the biggest impact on cloud computing to date. Therefore, I offer up my alternative list, admittedly not perfect; however, I believe better than Mr. Carr’s.

  1. 3Tera
  2. Akamai
  3. Amazon
  4. Aptana
  5. Cassatt
  6. Cisco Systems
  7. Citrix Systems
  8. EMC
  9. CohesiveFT
  10. Engine Yard
  11. FlexiScale
  12. Google
  13. Joyent
  14. Microsoft
  15. Netsuite
  16. Rackspace
  17. RightScale
  19. ServePath/GoGrid
  20. Zoho

Topics: cloud computing, other | 14 Comments »

14 Responses to “Alternate Cloud 20 List”

  1. Ryan Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    You owned him LOL! He probably can’t differentiate between cloud services (SaaS companies) and cloud providers.

  2. John Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 9:45 am

    St. Nick might want to stay on and keep off of

    Just having a little fun…

  3. Cloud Droplets #37 I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger | IT Management and Cloud Blog Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 10:08 am

    [...] Alternate Cloud 20 List | [...]

  4. Mark Mastersin Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Agreed (with your premise. I could quibble about placement on your list, but that’s trivial, and it’s still much better than Carr’s)

  5. John Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thanks Mark. The list is just in Alpha order and actually making a list that only includes 20 is kind of silly ( I was forced to do it ). I made it more of a cut off list than anything else. It really should be done by category, IMO…


  6. Paul Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Nice list John. No connection to them, but I would add 10gen. They offer an open source cloud platform (w/focus on dynamic languages) that appears to give traditional hosting companies a path to the cloud. They are also dealing with database issues head on.

  7. John Says:
    January 6th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I think 10Gen is defiitly a player. However, I am not sure who I would take of the list. Put it this way… I think Enomaly, Elastra, and 10gen would definitely be in the top 25.

  8. Nick Carr Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 12:51 am


    Not bad – and, if I count correctly, a 50% overlap with my list. If you look at the full write-up in the book, by the way, you’ll see that my intent was to provide a sense of the breadth of cloud computing, including consumer applications. As to my “just happening” to be working on a related book when the cloud hit, I can only point to my 2005 MIT/Sloan Management Review article, “The End of Corporate Computing,” out of which “The Big Switch” grew:

    and to my 2004 book, Does IT Matter?, where I first wrote about the inevitability of utility computing. I like to think the market showed good timing in getting serious about the cloud at the same time my book came out. :-)

    Anyway, I agree with you: making metaphors is far more important work than making lists.



  9. John Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 10:11 am


    It’s all in good fun… I hope you agree. Actually, I will admit I am a little bitter, because a few years ago someone accused me of swiping your electricity company metaphor from Does IT Matter. I pointed out to my accuser that I actually first used the “E-Met” back in 1999 at an IBM presentation while trying to promote an MSP startup venture.

    Anyway, I am actually a huge fan of your writings. I was wondering is now a good time to ask you if you would be interested in doing a podcast? :)


  10. Mark Mastersin Says:
    January 7th, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    LOL. But I’d listen to that podcast, fer shure.

  11. John Says:
    January 8th, 2009 at 11:45 am

    You and me both….

  12. Marcel Rivera Says:
    January 14th, 2009 at 12:16 pm


    Nice list…

    I’ve heard of the bigger ones as well as RightScale, Akamai, 3Tera & GoGrid. However, I’m a little in the dark about some of the others like Aptana. Any thoughts on tiering them or throwing in your likes on any of them?

  13. Getting Cloudy at the Pentagon? | Paul Miller Says:
    January 15th, 2009 at 5:12 am

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  14. ClickRich Says:
    January 22nd, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Great list of contributors, but which business users do you think have been the biggest early adopters of utility computing? I know that the Telegraph Media Group in the UK are almost entirely using cloud apps…