From ARM Holdings to Facebook to VMware, and whether via acquisitions, innovation or challenging the status quo, many vendors were able to effect paradigmatic shifts in computing or otherwise leave indelible marks on enterprise IT by what they did in 2010.


Before Salesforce.com shook up the cloud computing world in late November, and before Red Hat solidified its presence as a legitimate cloud provider, there was nearly a whole year of corporate activity. And, whereas the aforementioned deals won’t bear fruit until 2011, many vendors were able to effect paradigmatic shifts in computing or otherwise leave indelible marks on enterprise IT. When market leaders act, or when emerging vendors step up to challenge the status quo, it’s bound to spur reactions, be they mimicry, public outcry, or just plain awe.

Because many companies made their marks through M&A, it’s also worth noting some of the acquisition trends that made 2010 memorable and that could shape up in 2011. As Gary Orenstein pointed out in a post late last week, there was a storage gold rush that led to scale-out storage vendors, in particular, finding new homes within larger companies. Similarly, Big Data proper was big business, with data warehousing spurring hundreds of millions in spending (sub req’d). If Gary is correct in his predictions for the next wave of M&A activity — some of which align with my overall predictions for the infrastructure market in 2011 — we should see many of this year’s movers and shakers getting active on the buy side, or perhaps driving new trends to the point where they find themselves getting bought.

Without further ado, here are my nine most-influential infrastructure companies for 2010, with a few links apiece to provide context. For the full analysis on what they did and why it was so notable, read the full post here:

1. Amazon Web Services

2. ARM Holdings

3. CA Technologies

4. Cloudera

5. Dell

6. Facebook

7. Microsoft

8. Oracle

9. VMware

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  1. If you wanna know why Cloud Coumputing is such a bad idea both for culture and individuals, check this great piece on Google’s monopoly, Android’s fiasco, the advance of indiscriminate advertising, and lastly but no least, Chris Anderson’s last book “Free”?


    Check this great piece of independent reporting on the subject

  2. Are you kidding? Top companies who DROVE cloud computing and you don’t include Salesforce or Google??? The writer is clearly missing what cloud computing is really all about.

    1. You’ll notice that I largely omitted SaaS vendors, thus the absence of Google, Salesforce, Zoho, etc. If we’re talking about cloud computing as it relates to infrastructure, Google’s only option is really just App Engine (as well as its internal operations) and it didn’t do much with it this year. Salesforce.com got into infrastructure very late with Heroku and Database.com. It’s arguable that VMware was the key player in both VMforce and App Engine for Business. Salesforce.com should become much more important in 2011 as it ramps up its infrastructure offerings.

  3. Agreed. Really missed the boat by leaving Salesforce out. Doesn’t look like any legimate research went into this article.

  4. As with any platform, the success is based on the availability of appications. While these players primarily focus on cloud infrastructure, Zoho’s services best address the need for business, collaboration and productivity cloud apps.

  5. I heard Rackspace is pretty good in cloud with a good customer support, what do you guys thinks?


  6. You missed Workday!

    Way better than Oracle. Oracle’s ancient software was only adapted as a hosted service and not true software as a service.

  7. Ashton Kutcher Monday, January 3, 2011

    When did a Red Hat become a cloud provider?

  8. 8 Cloud Companies to Watch in 2011: Cloud Computing News « Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    [...] one fundamental truth in this market, it’s that it doesn’t sit still for long. The same goes for the companies involved in it — they’re constantly making making moves (some small, some big) that ultimately could [...]

  9. What about BMC Software? They have huge collaborations with VMware, Cisco and many others in the cloud arena.

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