Concise Reviews of the Top 10 Cloud Service Providers Worldwide

Cloud computing has immensely affected the business climate due to its tremendously dynamic nature. Taking its name from the cloud symbol used in system diagrams, cloud computing services are easy to utilize, secure, hassle-free and generally affordable. Being completely managed at the providers end, users have the liberty to pick and choose the features they want and leave the rest to the service provider. Leveraging the significant innovations in virtualization and distributed computing, and teamed with high-speed internet, this technology has evoked significant public and corporate interest in recent years.

An increasing number of companies are diving into this technology. Analyzing their potential penetration and service feedback, here are brief reviews on the top service providers in no particular order:

Apple – iCloud Review

Apple Inc. jumped in on the small and niche market of cloud computing with iCloud. This is pretty much an upgrade from their MobileMe service currently being rolled out. The unique selling point (USP) for iCloud is its real-time syncing of files. You can access files on the cloud, via internet or otherwise. It also provides an integrated e-mail client, address book and calendar, across all your iCloud compatible devices. Furthermore, iCloud is far more user- friendly and easier to use, compared with other similar services in the market. Scoring more points in customer satisfaction and technical support, iCloud is highlighted with useful online resources and direct troubleshooting assistance. Co-existing seamlessly with the Apple ecosystem, iCloud is a must-have for consumers and small businesses already using Apple products.

Amazon – Cloud Drive Review

The Cloud Drive is a flexible cloud service providing you with pay-as-you-go features. The different plans from Cloud Drive allow you to upload digital files, including documents, videos, photos and music. As there is no limit on file size, you can practically upload anything. It also allows you to preview, upload and save files from any cloud-compatible device.

Cloud Drive is a popular service due to its amazing content support and music capabilities, courtesy Amazon. On the mobile front, it frankly doesn’t impress much. If your smartphone supports Adobe Flash, only then can you access the cloud service. Thus, devices operating on iOS and Windows phones are ruled out. Although it works on Safari, the user interface makes it difficult to navigate on a handheld. Service is also slightly slower and upload/download of files can be time-consuming. One major plus point is that Amazon offers full range of help and support for Cloud Drive users 24/7. If you’re looking for a cost-efficient cloud service (even if it is slightly rough around the edges), then Cloud Drive is your best bet.

Google Apps for Businesses Review

“Google Apps for Business” provides custom solutions for both individual and business users of any data size. It doesn’t store your data in one online space; alternatively it makes use of multiple epos. Comprising an extensive line-up of apps, you can now store virtually any kind of file in the cloud. Gmail, Music Beta, Picasa and Google Video offer you a wide range of file services according to your individual needs. From a security perspective, Google Apps employ password protection and advanced file encryption. For mobile accessibility, Google Apps are internet-based. You can access your files on iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Windows-based smartphones. As a user, your experience of service will be divided as this service has different products for various types of media. 24/7 technical support, learning centers and one-on- one support makes Google Apps a leading choice and great value for money.

Egnyte – Hybrid Cloud Review

Egnyte’s Hybrid Cloud is a relatively new service in the domain of cloud computing, but it has grown tremendously in a very short period. Egnyte is a technology company that designs services for businesses, and provides proprietary cloud solutions that combine with local storage on existing infrastructures. Its unique hybrid approach enables easy accessibility, coordination, and scalability for all types of businesses. File sharing is easy: you can easily share files to remotely-located individuals from a centralized access point. Detailed folder permissions allow you to secure data and customize access for each kind of user. Egnyte spreads across major mobile devices to provide on-the-go accessibility of files, including HP web0S. Usability for less tech-savvy users can be a minor issue as it’s an enterprise-caliber service. However, below the corporate skin, Hybrid Cloud is easy to learn, work with and navigate. For larger files, you can sync the upload via File Transfer Protocol (FTP). Automated real-time support options are available when you perform any task. Training videos are available with a wide range of instructions on how to use Hybrid Cloud’s various features and functions. Although not a viable option for individual consumers, for professionals and businesses, Egnyte’s Hybrid Cloud is a cost- effective, feature-packed and an overall productive solution.

VMWare – Cloud Foundry Review

VMWare is a resounding force to be reckoned with in cloud service providers. With enhanced improvements in its feature list, VMWare is one of our top 10 choices for 2012. Reviewing the product and its related services, Cloud Foundry is based on the Platform as a Service (PaaS) module. Initiated by VMWare, it provides a smooth, zero truncation experience between the user and application. From a developer’s perspective, it provides development agility, where you can easily develop, test and deploy applications. Application backlog and delivery timelines are considerably reduced so you can maintain and increase focus on the application architecture. Users are free to choose between a range of deployment choices across the cloud with public, private and hybrid clouds. Standard industry frameworks and service application from third parties are equally compatible. VMWare, through shared management and PaaS security model, ensures portability of the application with internal data centers and external cloud service partners.

Microsoft – Azure Review

Microsoft has tapped into the cloud market with new media services for customers — under the title Azure. The Windows Azure cloud service enables users to manage large volumes of digital media by leveraging the broader spectrum of cloud service. Based on your consumption of data, Azure allows you to build custom media solutions with scalability and adaptability of application from the end user as the prime objective. It supports the entire ecosystem of connected devices that range from Windows PC, Windows phones, Xbox 360, Smart Ns, Mac OS, iOS and Android. Based on a hybrid model of PaaS with hints of laaS. The service does have a few downpoints. Operations on non-Windows devices aren’t as seamless and frictionless as expected. The reliability factor of Microsoft products and services, compared with competitors Apple and Google has hampered its welcome and outreach as well.

Citrix – Cloud Platform Review

Citrix has also shown and proved its mettle as one of the leading cloud service providers in the global market. CloudPlatform, reflecting key features from its competitor cloud services, is an advanced open platform with a scalable and reliable environment. Its time efficient and user- friendly integration with existing infrastructure eliminates the overhead of tedious and laborious integration activity. CloudPlatform can run multiple hypervisors from a single cloud deployment, where users can choose from a variety of hypervisors like Oracle VM. KVM, vSphere and Citrix XenServer. The web interface is easy to use as it is fully implemented on top of your cloud service API. Scalable infrastructure management and API support allows you to manage servers globally located in different locations, eliminating the implementation of intermediate servers. Industry standard APIs are gelled with unique and innovative features of CloudPlafform API that are documented, maintained and supported, allowing you multiple options to create and curate data.

Salesforce – Service Cloud Review

Service Cloud provides a Social Contact Centre, an empowering service for users with creation, and data tracking from a single dashboard, integrated with various other services. This allows you to work more efficiently with less cost and increased customer loyalty by 24/7 customer posting, commenting and validating. Service Cloud 3 enables an organization to make use of Radian 6 to engage with customers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr and other social communities. Millions of conversations can now be tracked with a single tool spread across the cloud, measuring and managing high volumes of service issues and prioritizing interactions across any given channel. Realtime insights, reports and customizable dashboards provide total visibility on the progress of your business via metrics available in Service Cloud 3.

Joyent – JoyentCloud Review

Powering and partnering with computing service giants based on cloud technology, Joyent has come a long way since its inception. Taking pride in their esteemed clientele of LinkedIn and Dell. JoyentCloud is also the cloud engine behind online social gaming platforms as well. Joyent Machine Images (JMI) is the powerhouse behind Joyent SmartMachines — virtualized computing platforms running on the cloud. Custom configurations of services can be made by end users. SmartOS is preinstalled on virtual applications that are operated via JoyentCloud for computing tasks on SmartMachines. Designed for real-time high performance applications, JoyentCloud provides developers with the ability to store, analyze and distribute applications across a global network of data centers. It helps power thousands of applications in organizations of all shapes and sizes. Built on the Apache CouchDB, JoyentCloud ensures that the customers’ applications run flawlessly at any scale. Offering cloud computing services, enabling clients to leverage the performance, scalability, reliability and security, JoyentCloud stands apart from its competitors.

Verizon – Verizon Computing Review

After the acquisition of Terremark for 1.4 US billion dollars, Verizon has rolled out full cloud service operations powered by nearly 50 data centers. Verizon offers Verizon Computing, a mixture of laaS features, along with managed hosting services. It also includes security services to ensure protection against various enterprise- level threats and vulnerabilities. Furthermore, performance governance, risk management and compliance reports are also generated and maintained as per customer feedback/requirements. Verizon Computing has expanded its support and compatibility to manage its hosting services of multiple hypervisors. They deliver a resilient on-demand cloud infrastructure that enables you to deploy and embed computing resources into your IP backbone, as well as providing you access to server resources without the cost of redundant and passive servers in the environment.

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