IT Awards: Service Provider of the Year

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Opscode, Seattle
Employees in Washington: 50

This three-year-old startup understands that clouds don’t have fixed boundaries.

As more companies move to build their own cloud-based systems, managing growth and needs can be difficult and costly. Opscode’s Chef framework automates many of the processes to manage cloud computing, making it easier to deploy and scale applications reliably across a company’s entire IT infrastructure.

The ability to adapt can be critical for many businesses, such as when game development studio EA2D (part of Electronic Arts) expected many thousands of people to sign up for its new online game, Dragon Age Legends. Using Opscode’s remote service, Hosted Chef, EA2D could deploy 200 servers quickly using only two staff members.

Responding to customer feedback, Opscode also released Private Chef, an automation appliance that can be deployed onsite behind a corporate firewall. Through its services, Opscode has been able to save its 4,500 customers time and money, spanning a variety of industries such as consumer internet, financial services, life sciences, education and gaming.

[Second Place]
FiberCloud, Seattle
Employees in WA: 35

No one is small in the cloud, or so suggests FiberCloud with its Cloud City hosting service. While the company has provided colocation and cloud services to firms of all sizes for the past decade, its latest initiative for small business allows even the tiniest to use secure, enterprise-level services through an internet connection. FiberCloud takes on the role of an IT department but without the capital investment or long-term contract, allowing even a new two-person marketing consultancy to deploy business-class email, mobility and secure online backup.

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When Bill Gates visited the Seattle World’s Fair as a 6-year-old in 1962, he claims to have visited every pavilion. At the General Electric Living pavilion, he would have seen a vision of a digitized residence, with home computers, electronic libraries and television programming projected on the interior walls.