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Charles Babcock
Charles Babcock
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9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers

These industry leaders helped propel cloud computing to the forefront of technology innovation.
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Michael Crandell is the co-founder and CEO of Rightscale. He is a thinker and entrepreneur, equally comfortable in a programmer's t-shirt, which he frequently wears while engaging customers at RightScale's user group meetings, or wearing the Silicon Valley's executive uniform of a dark blue suit and no tie. He has defined a new market -- online cloud management -- and is determined to do it better than any single cloud vendor.

Crandell created in 2006 what is now a powerhouse service that sits at the crossroads of cloud computing, with users paying a fee to use the RightScale hub to gain the flexibility and ability to move between dissimilar clouds. The RightScale system knows enough about the machine images needed by each provider that it can move a workload that is first run in Amazon Web Services out to a VMware partner cloud, then to Rackspace and back to Amazon, if the customer chooses. Rightscale simplified migration into the cloud with its Server Template selections, with users needing to bother with few of the details.

Crandell from an early stage has been a frequent speaker at cloud events, showing a strong sense of humor. He's been outspoken on the need for hybrid cloud when others were reluctant to venture forth, and he's been an advocate of maintaining mobility between clouds as a way to avoid lock-in. For the value it's brought to cloud computing, Rightscale was named by the World Economic Forum a 2013 technology pioneer "committed to improving the state of the world."

Crandell maintained a cutting edge team to build the company that includes co-founders CTO Thorsten Von Eicken, a former professor of computer science from Cornell University; and VP of engineering Rafael Saavedra. The RightScale platform, among other things, serves as the management interface for online-gaming company Zynga, which has 75 million users at peaks connecting to their activities through Rightscale.

In February, Rightscale became the first management platform other than Google to support and manage the Google Compute Engine.

Sean O'Toole, the founder of ForeclosureRadar, said Crandell and RightScale helped his company build a scalable Web platform in just a few weeks "despite no prior experience with Amazon's EC2. We could not have done it without them."


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User Rank: Apprentice
3/21/2013 | 3:08:36 PM
re: 9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
The development of the OpenStack software by the various companies who have contributed modules to the project is a testament to a unique bond in cloud computing market. Open source systems have created camaraderie amongst organizations that are otherwise competitive. At the end of the day, interoperability benefits everyone.

Cary Landis is another person worth mentioning on this list. Like Reuven Cohen, Landis worked with NIST where he helped define the reference architecture for cloud computing. In the past, he founded KeyLogic, which services a multitude of business sectors from DoD, DoE and more. He coauthored the GǣCloud Computing Made EasyGǥ which details the benefits of cloud computing for a variety of demographics. Currently, he is the President of Virtual Global, a cloud computing company that provides a handful of PaaS services for the development of custom SaaS applications. He also serves NJVC where he is the practice lead for Cloudcuity.
User Rank: Strategist
3/20/2013 | 5:46:01 PM
re: 9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
Good suggestions from parkercloud, thanks. Pat O'Day was already a candidate for the next list, and this piece didn't get done without a mention of Bluelock. I tend to disagree that only those present at the beginning qualify as cloud pioneers. I was actually looking for more of a mix, those who came along after and made contributions that were needed and hadn't been made yet. Hence, there's references to valuable work done with Google Compute Engine, not announced until June 2012, by Sebastian Stadil and Chandra Krintz. (There's a tip of the hat to Cloud Camp, too but additional credit is probably in order.) Many thanks for those ideas.Charlie Babcock, senior writer, InformationWeek
Leo Regulus
Leo Regulus,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 2:41:28 PM
re: 9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
Information Week only had one important New Year's Resolution this year. '"No Slide Show Articles with out a prominent 'View-as-one-page' link." How's that working out for you so far?
User Rank: Apprentice
3/20/2013 | 1:51:04 AM
re: 9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
Real Cloud pioneers need to have been involved with Cloud beginning 2006 or so, credit should
be given where credit is due.

Greg Olsen, founder of Coghead maybe the very first PaaS, wrote the influential
Cloud article Going Bedouin.
John Qualls and Pat O' Day of Bluelock
Dave Nielsen of Cloud Camp
User Rank: Author
3/19/2013 | 3:50:54 PM
re: 9 More Cloud Computing Pioneers
James Urquhart became one of the first people I followed for cloud commentary and remains an honest voice in the cloud community on Twitter. Charlie, thanks for this look at a diverse group of cloud thinkers. Any feedback on who else you'd include, readers?

Laurianne McLaughlin
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Multicloud Infrastructure & Application Management
Enterprise cloud adoption has evolved to the point where hybrid public/private cloud designs and use of multiple providers is common. Who among us has mastered provisioning resources in different clouds; allocating the right resources to each application; assigning applications to the "best" cloud provider based on performance or reliability requirements.
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