No question about it: cloud computing is changing the world. It’s the invisible part of your smartphone and tablet, the part that holds your apps and files, and lets you work from anywhere.
IBM estimates that 85% of new software today is being built for the cloud and that one-quarter of the world’s apps will be available on the cloud by 2016.
By 2017, enterprises are expected to be spending $235 billion on the cloud, predicts market research firm IHS.
All thanks to many people at tech companies, big and small.
Jyoti Bansal, founder and CEO, AppDynamics
IPO-bound AppDynamics is well-known in an area called 'application intelligence.' It helps people figure out how their apps are performing in the cloud or troubleshoot app problems.
Bansal's company is growing like crazy, sources tell us: 140% year over year. That's impressive because he's already doing a sizeable business. At the start of 2013, AppDynamics had about 500 customers. He's raised about $US86.5 million from venture investors, too, according to CrunchBase.
Ross Mason, founder and VP of product strategy, MuleSoft
Mason came up with a solution to a really hard problem for cloud computing. His company, MuleSoft connects different clouds together so that they can share information.
It's been a venture investment darling and not just from VCs like NEA and Lightspeed but from big-name tech companies. In March, Mason raised another a $US50 million, bringing the total to $US131 million.
There's so much interest in his company that SAP, Salesforce.com and Cisco have invested, too.
Simone Brunozzi, vCloud Hybrid Service vice president and chief technologist, Hybrid Cloud, VMware
VMware gained a feather in its cloud cap when it hired Simone Brunozzi away from Amazon a couple of weeks ago.
Brunozzi's new title is a mouthful: He's VMware vCloud hybrid service vice president and chief technologist, Hybrid Cloud.
That means he's helping VMware lure enterprises to the cloud.
Brunozzi was known as one of the faces of Amazon's cloud, doing a lot public speaking on Amazon's behalf since 2008. He helped teach the enterprise world what cloud computing was all about.
There were apparently no hard feelings in his move. His old boss, Amazon's Werner Vogels, tweeted a congrats note to him.
Krishnan Subramanian, strategy director and cloud evangelist, Red Hat
Krishnan helps lead Red Hat's OpenShift project, a cloud that host apps for developers. OpenShift is an open source project, meaning anyone can take the OpenShift software and use it on their own servers for free.
Red Hat offers an OpenShift cloud and sells OpenShift to enterprises as a 'private' cloud to use in their own data centres.
OpenShift gained some serious street cred when PayPal began using it.
Subramanian is the face of OpenShift and a frequent speaker at cloud conferences.
IBM Ed Suffern, master inventor, IBM
IBM, with its massive R&D facilities, creates a boatload of technology. In cloud computing the company has some 1,500 patents, it tells us. One of the behind-the-scenes people doing that work is Ed Suffern.
Suffern solved the 'noisy neighbour' problem, That's where too many people try to log in to the same website or computer server at the same time. He created a way for websites and apps to automatically move themselves to a new computer server if they get too many customers at once.
That was a significant technology for IBM, allowing its cloud to work quickly and efficiently, no matter how many people or devices are using it.
Bjørn Olstad, corporate vice president, FAST Engineering, Microsoft
Bjørn Olstad came to Microsoft when Microsoft acquired a search-engine company called FAST for $US1.2 billion in 2008. He leads a group of engineers in Oslo, Norway.
FAST is used by enterprises to search documents. It has also become the tech that powers Microsoft's brand-new social search app, Office Graph. This helps people find documents, co-workers, groups, Yammer posts and the like.
Olstad is also leading a project codenamed 'Olso.' Oslo makes Office Graph work automatically, finding your important documents, social posts and messages, and presenting them to you.
Leyla Seka, senior vice president and GM, Desk.com, Salesforce.com
Seka leads a cloud product at Salesforce.com called Desk.com, originally called Assistly when it was acquired by Salesforce.com in 2011, reportedly for $US80 million.
Desk.com helps small businesses manage their help desk/customer service needs and has been used by companies like Yelp, Snapchat, Fitbit, Bonobos and Disqus.
Seka is a rising star at Salesforce and this is a new role for her, as of February. Prior to leading Desk, she was a vice president responsible the Salesforce AppExchange platform, an app store for Salesforce.com customers.
Alex Dayon, president, applications and platform, Salesforce.com
Besides the main Salesforce.com product, the company offers a lot of other cloud applications, and even lets companies write their own apps. Dayon is responsible for those products including the ultra-important new Salesforce1 platform, which hosts apps for mobile devices and the Internet of Things.
He came to Salesforce.com in 2008, when it acquired the company he co-founded, InStranet. It became part of Salesforce's Service Cloud, plus he holds several patents.
Joe Korngiebel, vice president of User Experience, Workday
Workday is a popular human resources app created by the founder of PeopleSoft. It's a big example of the type of software that enterprises are renting as a service, these days, instead of buying and installing on their own computers.
Korngiebel helps craft strategy for Workday and is responsible for the app's design. Plus, he runs Workday Labs, where employees cook up experimental apps.
Reggie Bradford, senior vice president, Product Development, Oracle
One important area of cloud computing at Oracle is called the 'Social Cloud.' It helps companies use social media for marketing, advertising and interacting with customers.
Reggie Bradford leads the Social Cloud, coming to the job when Oracle acquired the company he founded, Vitrue, for about $US300 million in 2012.
Alessandro Perilli, general manager, Open Hybrid Cloud Program Office, Red Hat
Perilli joined Red Hat last month from market research firm Gartner, where he covered what's known as the 'private cloud' market. That's when enterprises use cloud technology in their own data centres. It's a huge trend helping companies make their tech cost less and perform better.
In joining Red Hat, he became the general manager of a new business unit called the Open Hybrid Cloud Program Office. That's a fancy name for a unit that will sell cloud technologies used for both public and private clouds. (In geek speak, that's known as a 'hybrid cloud.')
Fred Luddy, chief product officer, ServiceNow
Fred Luddy describes himself as 'just a programmer' but he's known as the quiet genius behind ServiceNow, a super successful enterprise cloud company that helped cure the IPO market after Facebook's troubled IPO.
ServiceNow is a cloud that lets IT departments manage their help desk and other technology projects. When it went public, investors gobbled it up, showing other cloud companies that the public markets want to be fed with young cloud companies.
Its market cap today is $US7 billion, and Luddy has become a symbol for success in the enterprise cloud world.
Mark Russinovich, technical fellow for Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft
Microsoft has invested $US15 billion in its cloud infrastructure, and Mark Russinovich helps Microsoft make the most of that money.
He's the sole Technical Fellow working on Microsoft's cloud, Azure, the highest technical title used at Microsoft, and he leads the team designing Azure's technology (in geek speak: its architecture).
Russinovich is working on Azure's 'automation,' which is how a cloud can handle so many websites and customers automatically, without humans doing the technical work.
Russinovich's claim to fame is Winternals Software, a company he founded that Microsoft acquired in 2006 for an undisclosed amount. It helpd enterprise customers automate many tasks on Windows servers.
He's a popular conference speaker and writes a lot of technical how-to articles. He also published a fiction thriller called 'Zero Day' about hackers.
Alex Freedland, co-founder, chairman Mirantis
When it comes to the battle of who owns the cloud, a company you've never heard of, Mirantis, is right in the middle.
Mirantis helps big IT vendors build clouds based on OpenStack, a technology developed by a consortium of vendors. Mirantis has worked with Cisco, Dell, GE, Agilent, NASA, HP and AT&T, it says. OpenStack competes with software from VMware as well as Amazon's cloud.
Freedland's company gained some powerful allies when it received a $US10 million investment from Intel Capital, Dell Ventures, and West Summit Capital, a large Chinese investment firm.
Both Freedland and his co-founder, Boris Renski, are on the governing board of OpenStack, too.
Teresa Carlson, vice president, Worldwide Public Center, AWS
When the CIA chose Amazon to help it build a giant cloud-computing data center in a deal valued at $US600 million, it was big news. If the CIA trusts Amazon's security, a lot of other enterprises will, too.
But that was far from Amazon's first big government contract. Amazon provides cloud services for more than 500 government agencies, a company spokesperson told us. This is largely thanks to Teresa Carlson.
Prior to joining Amazon in 2010, she had been running Microsoft's huge Federal Government business.
Mike Ehrenberg, CTO, Microsoft Business Solutions
Ehrenberg leads Microsoft Dynamics, which is enterprise software that competes with Salesforce.com, Oracle and SAP. While Microsoft doesn't break out the revenues generated by Dynamics, it is one of the cloud services that contributed to Microsoft's big growth last quarter.
'Our commercial cloud services revenue grew more than 100% year-over-year, as customers are embracing Office 365, Azure, and Dynamics CRM Online, and making long-term commitments to the Microsoft platform,' COO Kevin Turner, said when Microsoft reported results in January.
Ehrenberg joined Microsoft in 2003.
Terry Hanold, vice president, cloud commerce, Amazon Web Services
Whether you need an Oracle database, a business videoconferencing tool, or the hardware and software to build your own supercomputer, you can rent it on Amazon's cloud through an app store called the AWS Marketplace.
As of January, the AWS Marketplace offered more than 1,100 software apps for Amazon's cloud customers. It's one of the reasons Amazon's cloud is so successful.
As leader of the AWS Marketplace, all of that falls under Hanold's purview.
Monty Taylor, manager of developer automation and infrastructure, HP Cloud
Like all the major enterprise tech vendors, HP offers cloud-computing services that compete with Amazon. It's a major initiative within HP, and Monty Taylor is a key, behind-the-scenes player.
Taylor helps create an important technology for HP's cloud through his work with the OpenStack project. OpenStack is a cloud operating system built by a consortium of big IT players and used by companies like Rackspace and Cisco. It was originally based on a cloud built for NASA.
Taylor is a board member for OpenStack and has worked on the project since its early days.
When not working on cloud computing, Taylor can often be found running the lights for several bands and theatre companies in Seattle and New York.
Mike Dahlin, principal engineer, Google
Google Cloud Platform is built using the same tech that runs Google, so 'being an engineer on this project is a really fun job,' Mike Dahlin told the audience at Google's cloud conference in March.
Thanks to Dahlin's team, Google has a world-class network for its cloud that rivals anything any telecommunications company has built (complete with undersea cables).
In addition to working for Google, he's also a professor at the University of Texas. His research specialty is new technology for global networks.
Terry Wise, director, worldwide partner ecosystem, Amazon
Even though Amazon doesn't report revenues of its cloud-computing business, it invests heavily in it. Think of this: As of November 2013, Amazon Web Services' Partner Network had 8,000 technology and consulting partners all helping to sell its cloud, Amazon said.
Terry Wise is the person leading that effort. What he's doing has become a model for other cloud-computing vendors on how to sign partners.
Mark McLaughlin, senior software engineer, Red Hat
Mark is a Red Hat engineer who led the OpenStack 'Havana' project, which is the codename for the eighth version of OpenStack. OpenStack is an operating system for building clouds jointly created by many people from all over the tech industry. OpenStack is free and open source, meaning anyone can take the software and change it or use it for free.
In addition to his work with OpenStack, McLaughlin works on a bunch of core technologies for his employer, Red Hat, too.
Scott Dorsey, CEO, Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud, Salesforce.com
Scott co-founded email marketing company ExactTarget in 2000, and led the company from startup to a huge $US1 billion IPO.
Salesforce bought ExactTarget in July 2013 for $US2.5 billion, its biggest acquisition ever.
Following that, Dorsey was named the CEO of the unit that ExactTarget joined, Marketing Cloud, which includes his company plus other acquisitions including Radian6 and Buddy Media.
Lew Tucker, CTO of Cloud Computing, Cisco
Cisco says it sold $US4 billion worth of equipment and services related to the cloud in its fiscal year 2013, and it's about to pour $US1 billion into a new plan to build its own new cloud, called InterCloud.
It's not clear yet if Tucker will get the reins of the InterCloud. It's still in the hands of Cisco CEO heir apparent Rob Lloyd.
But Tucker has the chops for it. The InterCloud will use a cloud technology called OpenStack, and Tucker is on the governing board for OpenStack. He's also been leading Cisco's cloud efforts since 2010. And before that, he was leading cloud computing at Sun Microsystems until it was acquired by Oracle. Sun was known as a leader in the cloud.
Chris Leone, senior vice president, Oracle Applications Development
Oracle is pushing into cloud computing in a big way, revamping all of its apps to deliver them via the cloud, and spending billions acquiring new SaaS companies.
Chris Leone is heading up a big chunk of that effort.
He's senior vice president of development for Oracle's human resources cloud, and also responsible for Oracle's Taleo cloud unit. Oracle bought Taleo for $US1.9 billion in 2012.
Leone didn't come from Taleo. He landed at Oracle years before, in 2005, when Oracle bought PeopleSoft.
Shawn Price, president, cloud and line of business, SAP
SAP says that more than 35 million people currently use its cloud software. Shawn Price is ultimately the man responsible for them. As SAP's top cloud guy, he reports directly to the SAP board.
Price was previously president of SuccessFactors and SAP Cloud. Price's star rose in the company at the start of 2014, when two of SAP's top cloud executives resigned, a little more than a year after they joined the company.
Before joining SAP, he spent almost three years as president of hot cloud startup Zuora, a company that's been trying to grab away SAP's financial customers away with its cloud-based financial software.
Lance Crosby, CEO of IBM SoftLayer
IBM has been beefing up its cloud-computing business like crazy, spending $US7 billion on 17 cloud-related acquisitions since 2010, the company tells us.
In June 2013, IBM bought Crosby's company, Dallas-based SoftLayer, for a reported $US2 billion, a true feather in IBM's cap. SoftLayer was said to be the biggest private-website-hosting service at the time. With it, IBM gained a whole bunch of cloud customers, some powerful data centres and SoftLayer's leadership team, including Crosby.
The SoftLayer acquisition is paying off, IBM says: Q4 2013 cloud revenue was $US4.4 billion, up 69 per cent year to date, and Crosby and team have added 3,500 new customers, it says.
'If you would have told me in 2005 when I created this company in my living room, that the oldest, largest American tech company would buy my company, I wouldn't have believed you,' Crosby told Business Insider.
He also told us that he celebrated the acquisition by buying a Rolls-Royce.
Drew Houston, founder and CEO, Dropbox
Dropbox proved that just about every computer user in the world really wants and needs cloud storage. With that discovery, every major tech company has been trying to crush him, launching cloud storage apps of their own. This includes Apple, Google and Microsoft. Even battery company, Duracell, has become a competitor.
When Dropbox obtained a massive round of funding of $US250 million in January, at a $US10 billion valuation, Drew Houston's net worth reportedly hit billionaire status, according to Forbes, which estimates Houston owns about 10% of Dropbox.
Next up: taking Dropbox public.
Jeff Dean, senior research fellow, Google
Jeff Dean joined Google in 1999, one year after it was founded. As such, he's had his hands in just about every major technology that Google invented for the Internet.
This includes early versions of Google's famous Web crawler (the app that scans the Internet and adds Web pages to Google's search engine). It also includes a bunch of tech that underpins Google's cloud (projects known in the geek world as Spanner, BigTable and MapReduce).
Lately he's been working on 'machine learning,' teaching large numbers of computers to learn and think for themselves. That's the next big thing coming after cloud computing.
Evan Goldberg, chairman and CTO, NetSuite
While Marc Benioff and Salesforce.com get much of the credit for inventing the cloud-computing craze, NetSuite was actually conceived first, during the very same meeting where Salesforce.com was born, NetSuite CEO Zach Nelson told Business Insider.
Goldberg and Benioff were working for Oracle at the time. During a meeting with Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Goldberg proposed the idea of building software that ran on the Internet. Ellison liked the thought and funded NetSuite to build financial apps. He also funded Benioff's idea to build Internet sales apps.
NetSuite is still going strong today, with its founder Goldberg still leading its technology direction.
Dave Duffield, co-founder, co-CEO and chief customer advocate, Workday
Billionaire Dave Duffield founded Workday shortly after Larry Ellison bought his company PeopleSoft in one of the nastiest hostile takeovers in tech history.
Good move. Workday has upended the enterprise human resources software market, and Duffield has become known as a major cloud-computing visionary.
He's also known as a big animal rights advocate. His foundation, Maddie's Fund's, funds a variety of animal causes, from no-kill shelters to veterinary research.
Aneel Bhusri, chairman, co-founder and co-CE, Workday
Workday went public in 2012, a bellwether IPO for the cloud. Its stock popped on Day 1, and the company has been going strong ever since with rising revenues (nearly $US500 million in 2013) and a strong stock price (above $US80).
As its co-founder and co-CEO, that has everything to do with Bhusri. He shares the CEO role with Dave Duffield, who is 26 years older. When Duffield retires, Bhusri will become sole CEO.
He is also a VC at Greylock Partners, funding and advising a bunch of other cloud companies. He currently serves on the boards of startups Cloudera, Okta, Tidemark and Pure Storage.
Paul Maritz, CEO, Pivotal
Pivotal is a spin-off company from VMware. Maritz essentially left the CEO job at VMware to run Pivotal. (He did a short stint as chief strategy officer for VMware's main stakeholder, EMC, between VMware and Pivotal.)
Maritz is building Pivotal to be a smarter cloud. Instead of just hosting apps, its emphasis will be 'big data' apps, where the goal is to mine the data for insights and information.
It's a tall order to come up with a fresh idea for cloud computing when the market is so crowded, but Maritz has the chops for it. Prior to running VMware, he launched Pi, bought by EMC, and spent 14 years as a top executive at Microsoft, working on Windows.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise, Microsoft
Microsoft's cloud is making some serious headway against arch competitor Amazon, and Guthrie just became the new top cloud guy. He took over Satya Nadella's job when Nadella became CEO.
Microsoft's cloud is being served up around the world, including mainland China. Over half of Fortune 500 companies use its cloud, named Azure, in some way, Guthrie said at Microsoft's annual developer conference in April. Azure hosts more than 250,000 websites and 1 million databases and stores more 20 trillion pieces of data.
Guthrie came up through the ranks at Microsoft, running teams that built many of Microsoft's software developer tools. He's well liked among the folks who build apps for Microsoft Windows. He's also famous for always wearing a red shirt.
Urs Hölzle, senior vice president, Google
Hölzle is responsible for all the technology that runs Google and for building all of Google's data centres. His team includes thousands of engineers.
Like Amazon's Web Services, Google's cloud is based on the actual tech Google uses to run its own mind-boggling huge cloud, which means that Hölzle is also the person in charge of Google's cloud, called Google Cloud Platform.
Over the past two year, Google has become a major competitor to Amazon's Web Services and is used by popular apps like Snapchat.
Andy Jassy, senior vice president, Amazon Web Services
Jassy is the guy in charge of Amazon's cloud operations including its storage cloud (S3) and its computing cloud (AWS). He's been AWS' leader and champion for years, nurturing it into the acknowledged 800-pound gorilla in the cloud-computing world.
By some measures, AWS is the biggest cloud player. That's changing now that competitors like IBM are charging in. But Jassy is still running the most powerful cloud in this increasingly competitive world.
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