Cloud computing was one of the biggest things to come out of 2011. Besides making life easier for mobile business, it opened a whole new avenue for IT startups. Dozens of cloud computing services were born in the past 12 months, egged on by venture capitalists eager to cash in on the trend. The hype should slow down this year not because cloud technology–a system allowing you to create, store, and share files online–is less popular, but because there are more than enough companies to fill the demand. And chances are high that one of them will dominate the market in 2012. Here are some of the best contenders.
AppFog: One of the few companies based on Cloud Foundry, an open-source code, AppFog is highly user-focused, with features designed by users themselves to fit their own specs. The switch, which required it to change names (it was formerly called PHP Fog), has allowed the company to support a larger number of programming languages, including little-known and emerging ones. In 2012, it’s expected to improve as Cloud Foundry continues its development pattern, making it a good bet for companies looking for a stable service.
CloudSigma: This service plans to compete with big names like Rackspace and Amazon Web Services by offering increased control and powerful features–a combination that’s strangely hard to come by in the business. It boasts solid-state drives, a 10GbE capacity, and granular control, which currently happens only in co-location.
Bromium: We don’t know much about this start-up yet, but the idea seems to be securing different locations, such as desktops and smartphones, using virtualization technology. This basically means creating a virtual version of a drive, storage device, or operating system so that systems can monitor themselves. Most of today’s cloud security services focus on securing the server, so this can fill an important gap especially as more mobile users are expected to latch on to the cloud.
Cloudability: Addressing a problem common to fellow start-ups, Cloudability allows you to keep track of your own spending on cloud computing services. It’s not so much about resource allocation as it is about monitoring; for example, a manager can see where employees are accessing files from, and using the same concept, whether network traffic is showing suspicious patterns. This may not be a vital tool for most small businesses, but as usage grows, services like these are likely to be in high demand.