9 Companies That Drove Cloud Computing in ’10

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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