Top 25 European Cloud Computing Rising Stars: iCloud

Update: Acquired by Apple

Xcerion Develops Internet OS Which Provides More Than SaaS

Xcerion AB is not a newly established company, really, it was founded in 2001 by Daniel Arthursson but attracted public attention in 2008 and 2009 when it started its Internet OS as a Web 2.0 service over the Internet. Back in 2001, cloud computing was a relatively new technology, not to speak of viable business model, so the company had to wait until 2007 to launch its online desktop that is available in the Cloud from any device or computer anywhere. The booming cloud computing market gave boost to company’s operations and now we can confirm Xcerion and its iCloud platform and service can be depicted as one of the cloud computing rising stars based in Europe and operating worldwide.

Features

One of the features that distinguishes iCloud from other similar services is the fact that it is free to use. No subscription fees are applied and no premium paid membership is offered while customers are able to purchase additional 100 GB of storage space.

Main features of iCloud include functionality to create a personal online desktop allowing users to chat with MSN users and other iCloud users. The system offers possibility to store and share files on iCloud as well as to manage schedules through multiple iCloud utilizing various iCloud calendars. Applications for iPhone and Android are also available. Sweden-based Xcerion AB boasts two dozens of patents on which its operating system is built with a new AJAX XML OS enabling Visual Orchestration™ that allows visual creation of software without programming.

A growing number of customers interested in cloud-based solutions, and not willing to pay license fees for their operating systems, will find that iCloud offers extended features like productivity tools and applications needed for everyday computing, visual development tools and the ability to scale millions of users. The service provides essential applications like IMAP Email, Calendar, Presentation, Contacts, Todo, Instant Messaging, Visual Application Designer (IDE), Document Explorer, Word Processing, Money Manager, Photo Organizer, Music Player, Radio, RSS Reader, XML Editor and Widgets.

Open Source

Moreover, the company bets on Open Source technologies and all applications are delivered under Open XML Source license. Such an approach allows developers to customize solutions provided by Xcerion and combines two fast developing IT segments – cloud computing and open source technologies. Skeptics might argue that such a combination of cloud computing and open source could pose security risks and they would have been right a couple of years ago. However, open source applications already proved their stability in practice while the Cloud transforms into a really secure environment very fast.

Actually, iCloud applications are executed locally, not in the cloud, and Xcerion utilizes its data centers mainly for storing the users files. Therefore, Xcerion offers a Hybrid Cloud Computing solution that uses the company’s XML Virtual Machine (XVM) to support richer applications and fewer server round-trips.

The XIOS/3 operating systems runs within an Internet browser and is able to operate offline too. The company explains that its Internet OS boots itself and runs in the primary memory of the computer with the OS disappearing from the computer once the browser is shut down. The OS is self-updating and describes applications at a higher abstraction level in pure XML which is advantageous for developers. On the other hand, such a model allows developers to easily and faster create new applications for the Internet OS and XIOS/3 boasts hundreds of applications in different categories.

Another advantage offered by XIOS/3 is its ability to run word processing, mail and calendar applications within the browser eliminating the need to install standalone software while allowing users to store their documents in Xcerion’s data center. The system features functionality to share documents and calendars with other users by creating groups of trusted peers and friends, providing built-in support for collaboration, a vital part of each and every cloud computing solution. In addition, the company’s data centers are able to deal with over 40 million users of its Internet OS.

The company’s service is not widespread in the United States, independent analysis showed, with some 13 percent of all iCloud users coming from the U.S. However, iCloud is very popular in Scandinavia and is attracting a growing number of users across Europe and Asia since its launch in September 2007.  In September 2008, the company secured USD 12 million in series A funding which helped the company to open its U.S. office in Seattle and continue developing XIOS/3. Xcerion faces fierce competition from at least two other providers of cloud-based OS and file storage solutions but it looks like a company which is well prepared to deliver advanced technology to end-users. Rumors are that Xcerion is looking for funding from major market players but no official reports on such investment were issued in the past couple of years. On the other hand, the growing demand for cloud-based solutions and related outsourcing and cost saving activities of enterprises worldwide might give a major boost to company’s activities. The growing confidence in cloud computing environment and the lessening of security concerns related to the Cloud could be a major driving force behind iCloud’s future expansion.

Visit: iCloud

By Kiril Kirilov

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