10 Cloud Computing Pioneers

An interesting story by Information Week

Cloud computing has rewritten decades of technology rules. Take a closer look at 10 innovators who helped make it possible. 

Werner Vogels

Werner Vogels, CTO and VP of Amazon Web Services, joined Amazon in 2004 as director of systems research, coming from a computer science research post at Cornell University.  ….

Chris Pinkham

Before Werner Vogels got a cloud infrastructure to evangelize at Amazon, there was Chris Pinkham, designer of Amazon Enterprise Compute Cloud (EC2). Actually, designing the Amazon infrastructure was one of those collaborative ventures, like Sergey Brin and Larry Page at Google, where two heads are better than one. Pinkham was the project's managing director; Amazon software architect Christopher Brown was lead developer. Together they produced Amazon's first public cloud infrastructure….

Randy Bias

Randy Bias, cofounder and CTO of CloudScaling, has been a specialist in IT infrastructure since 1990, which positioned him to think through and lead some of the leading cloud computing innovations. He was a pioneer implementer of infrastructure-as-a-service as VP of technology strategy at GoGrid, a division of hosting provider ServePath. GoGrid launched a public beta of its Grid infrastructure in March 2008….

Jonathan Bryce

Jonathan Bryce liked working with computers as a youth and had an older brother who was one of Rackspace's first 12 employees. He urged Jonathan to work at Rackspace, and Bryce became familiar with many phases of the operation, from racking servers to customer service and technical support. He partnered with website designer and friend Todd Morey to host sites on their own rented servers in Rackspace. They left Rackspace in 2005 to branch out into their own website building and hosting business, Mosso Cloud, named for an Italian musical notation phrase that means "to play faster and with more passion."…

Lew Tucker

Lew Tucker already had 20 years of software development and engineering under his belt when the cloud era rolled around. He was quick to recognize that his previous projects were pointing in the cloud's direction.He had been CTO and VP of engineering at Radar networks, producer of the Twine social network and VP of the AppExchange at Salesforce.com. His big-company experience brought a different voice to the debate over cloud, one of experienced and toughened engineering that said cloud not only could be, but also should be the next wave of computing….

Rich Wolski

Rich Wolski is the co-founder and CTO of Eucalyptus Systems who decided that Amazon's public cloud APIs were so important that they should have open source code counterparts — even if Amazon Web Services was against it….

Chris Kemp

In the early days of cloud computing, NASA CTO Chris Kemp took several leading concepts of how to assemble a low cost, horizontally scalable data center and put them to work at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif. …

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, stands out as the pioneer and guerrilla marketer of software-as-a-service. He drew attention to the concept at a time when it was widely disregarded as an aberration of limited use by brazenly advancing the concept of cloud services as the "death of software." He meant that on-premises software, the systems that have been making enterprise data centers run since 1964, were going away, replaced by software running in a remote data center accessible over the Internet…

Urs Holzle

The phrase, "the data center as the computer," comes so close to capturing what a cloud data center is about that a tip of the hat has to go to Urs Holzle. The senior VP for technical infrastructure at Google led the design and build-out of the search engine's supporting infrastructure and supplied a pattern for Amazon, Microsoft, GoGrid and others to follow….

Frank Frankovsky

Frank Frankovsky worked as Dell's director of Data Center Solutions during the crucial period of 2006-2009, building up the hardware maker's ability to sell rack-mount servers to search engine and Web service companies seeking to build new, more efficient data centers…