cloud-question-mark-cloud-computingCompanies often realize the potential of cloud computing but lack the resources and knowledge to proceed with any kind of integration. Enter Appirio, a startup cloud solution provider, that has launched a public tool to bring some clarity to the sometimes daunting cloud.

Today, the company is launching an interactive map that it’s calling the first cloud computing ecosystem map. Leveraging its experience consulting with enterprises as they move onto different cloud services and originally built for internal training, the maps goal is to help enterprises gain a basic understanding of the different categories of cloud computing and services incorporated into each.

Appirio collaborated on the map with cloud expert, Troy Angrignon, who in March posted “Cloud Computing Ecosystem Map v1.0: Standing on the Shoulders of Giants,” that offered a similar, less interactive map of the cloud ecosystem — one might say a template for the current map.

The map is very simple, interactive and easy to understand — three good qualities when dealing with companies that struggle to grab the concept of cloud computing. Appirio explains the concept:

The cloud ecosystem map breaks out 70 different layers of technology across applications, platforms and infrastructure. It distinguishes between offerings that are on-premise versus hosted single tenant, versus multi-tenant and illustrates which elements are available directly versus bundled versus provided by a partner. The offerings of leading vendors are highlighted across the stack, as are point solutions from emerging vendors. Links are provided within the map to learn more about each offering.

Overall, this is a useful tool to help enterprises gain a basic understanding of what’s in the cloud and some of the major players offering services. While this is a good start, there’s no substitute for good old fashion research, conversations and shopping around – especially as the universe of cloud computing offerings continue to grow.

In February, Appirio secured $10 million in a third round of funding to help bring business to the cloud and has raised $16.7 million to date. Backers include Sequoia Capital.

I’ve included a small image of the map below, but you’ll have to click through to see the real thing.