12 Nov Microsoft, Amazon, Google, VMware – Cloud Computing Is an Arena for Big Players
SYS-CON Media, By Joannès Vermorel, November 12, 2008
My own personal definition of cloud computing is a hosting provider that delivers automated and near real time arbitrary large allocation of computing resources such as CPU, memory, storage and bandwidth. For companies such as Lokad, I believe that cloud computing will shape many aspects of the software business in the next decade. Obviously, all cloud computing providers have limits on the amount of resources that one can get allocated, but I want to emphasize that, for the end-user, the cloud is expected to be so large that the limitation is rather the cost of resource allocation, as opposed to hitting technical obstacles such as the need to perform a two-weeks upgrade from one hosting solution to another. Considering that the ticket for state-of-the art data center s is now reaching $500M, cloud computing is an arena for big players. I don’t expect small players to stay competitive for long in this game. The current players are: Amazon Web Services, probably the first production-ready cloud offer on the market. Google App Engine, a Python cloudy framework by Google. Windows Azure just unveiled by Microsoft a few weeks ago. VMWare specialist of virtualization who unveiled their Cloud vService last September.
SalesForces and their Platform as a Service offering. Definitively cloud computing, but mostly restricted to B2B apps oriented toward CRM. Then, I expect a couple of companies to enter the cloud computing market within the next three years (just wild guesses, I have no insider’s info on those companies). Sun might go for a Java-oriented cloud computing framework, much like Windows Azure, leveraging their VirtualBox product. Yahoo will probably release something based on Hadoop because they have publicly expressed a lot of interest in this area. There will most probably be a myriad of small players providing tools and utilities built on top of those clouds, but I rather not expect small or medium companies to succeed at gaining momentum with their own grid.In particular, it’s unclear for me if open-source is going to play any significant role – at the infrastructure level – in the future of cloud computing. Although open-source will present at the application level. Indeed, open-source is virtually nonexistent in areas such as web search engines (yes, I am aware of Lucene, but it’s very far from being significant on this market). I am expecting a similar situation for the cloud market.