The cloud computing model is the combined result of a series of innovations pioneered by entrepreneurial companies. This resulting concept has evolved through a successful natural selection process in which ideas that provide more responsive services and better value to customers win in the marketplace.
Google Apps for Business is Google's packaged SaaS cloud solution for business communications and other desktop computing. In addition to an ad-free version of Gmail, it bundles mailing lists, calendar, directory, group, document, storage, chat, voice services, video-conferencing, Blackberry and other synchronization, and other common office applications.
Microsoft's Windows Azure is an example of a PaaS and coupled with an IaaS offering to provide customers a capability to quickly build, deploy and manage applications across Microsoft's global network of managed datacenters. Customers can build applications using any language, tool or framework, and can integrate with existing IT environment. Applications include relational SQL databases, NoSQL table stores, unstructured blob stores, Hadoop, and business intelligence services. Microsoft provides a high-availability platform and infrastructure with unlimited servers and unlimited storage under a 99.95% monthly Service Level Agreement (SLA).
Amazon's Cloud Drive is another example of an IaaS offering for hosted storage. Amazon markets this service as a Cloud Drive, i.e., a personal hard drive in the cloud for use by its customers to store their music, videos, photos, and documents on Amazon's secure servers. All customers need is a web browser to upload, download, and access their files from any computer.
Backblaze is also an IaaS provider who provides unlimited cloud storage to its customers for $5 per month. This pricing illustrates both the competitive pressures on cloud service providers and the benefits to customers of these services. In order to achieve its pricing strategy, Backblaze designs and builds its own storage systems, which provides them with a competitive advantage over other storage providers who depend on expensive commercial products.