The stratospheric rise of cloud computing valuations

Public, private investors throwing money at cloud services providers

Last week I reported on cloud computing management vendor RightScale's $25 million in third-round funding. Over at GigaOm, Om Malik went me one better and did a classic "trend" piece, noting that several cloud computing start-ups have been pulling down the big investment bucks.

Malik ticked off a number of other cloud start-ups and the amounts they've recently pulled down -- StorSimple ($13 million in recent funding, now valued at $50 million), Eucalyptus ($20 million, valued at more than $100 million), Aster Data ($30 million, valued between $85 million and $120 million).

The well-connected GigaOm founder also wrote that he's heard "a handful of cloud companies are likely to raise a ton of money in the coming weeks."

So we've established that cloud computing companies are extremely attractive to the private investment community. But what about Wall Street? I thought I'd check the recent stock history of several publicly traded cloud companies to see how they've been faring. For reasons I hope are obvious, I focused on companies for whom cloud services were a large (or at least fast-growing) part of their revenue, excluding giants such as Amazon, IBM, Google and Microsoft, all of whom have cloud businesses. Here's what I found:

Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), which exceeded analysts' estimates for Q2 results in August, currently is trading at a 52-week high of 24.70, a gain of 18 percent so far this year. It's also up 37 percent from a year ago.

Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) traded as high as 119.55 today, just off its 52-week high of 123.77. Shares are up 62 percent this year and 108 percent from one year ago.

Terremark Worldwide (NASDAQ: TRMK) hit a high of 10.71 today, or 57 percent so far in 2010. From a year ago, Terremark has gained 72 percent.

VMWare (NYSE: VMW) today was trading as high as 89.03, up 110 percent for 2010 and 124 percent over the past year.

It's good to be a cloud computing investor these days.

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