Amazon, Microsoft and Google: The Cloud Leading Trio

The Cloud Leading TrioFollowing several discussions with fellow bloggers and industry executives, I found it quite fitting that the natural cloud leaders are the top software and web giants: Google, Microsoft and Amazon. While Amazon’s AWS is The public cloud today Google recently reported that it is doubling its office space near Seattle, just miles from the campuses of Amazon and Microsoft, in order to expand its cloud technology team and engineers. Over two years prior to these Google’s expansion news, Microsoft reported that 90% of its R&D investment was earmarked for cloud technology. Last month they finally announced that Windows Azure Cloud Services now support auto-scaling. For these reasons and more, the following points will strengthen the trivial perception that cloud technologies should and will prosper in the hands of this software giant trio.

1 – Develop Unified Platforms - These companies’ core capability is software development; they have the knowledge, experience and methodologies for speedy software delivery. Years of experience in providing software solutions for the greatest enterprises in the world as well as for the B2B and B2C IT markets alongside specific user experience from UI/UX to APIs and developer tools have generated satisfactory ecosystems and great values for their end users.  This software oriented knowledge and experience tightly align with the efforts of establishing the web software tier that enables the delivery of cloud values such as self and fast provisioning.

2 – Building Data Centers - Last month it was revealed that Microsoft invested ~$700M on “Project Mountain”, a data center in West Des Moines, Iowa, that will support the company’s cloud expansion. These billion dollar companies are able to take the high financial risks associated with building a full line of cloud products and services, building the physical infrastructure and investing in establishing new global data centers. There is no doubt that these leaders see the cloud as a strategic tool for growth and earmark their strategic investments accordingly for creating the cloud hardware layer.

3 – Web Delivery as a Core Capability - From MS Hotmail to Amazon `1-Click` and Google Search, these vendors are the leaders in web development and delivery. These companies aggressively support open web technologies such as HTML5 and smart fast browsing. From what I have learned and experienced over the years, the definitive leading player here is Google, with an amazing collection of end user applications including Google Docs and Google Chrome desk, which is completely web based. We also should not forget Amazon with its great experience building the number one web market together with being the public cloud pioneer already know how to deliver a great web app.

4 – Agility and Speed - I wrote and lectured a lot on the need to quickly deploy, monitor and enhance when it comes to an online service. Weekly cycles of refinement are crucial for the business success of a cloud vendors of any size.. I’ve recently learned that the Azure guys release new features and enhancements on a weekly basis. With regards to Amazon, it is no secret that the AWS users are having a hard time keeping up with the amazing amount of releases (Jeff Bar, AWS Chief Evangelist, once replied to one of my tweets, “complaining” that he writes product announcements practically on a daily basis.) Similarly, Google has its own process and methodologies to generate speed pace of innovation to accomplish its vast amount of product releases and experiments.

5 – Owning the Market - Everyone on earth knows these names and thanks to the cloud revolution, software entrepreneurs, IT leaders and CIOs find themselves experimenting with these cloud platforms as initial options to host solutions for their own new online services. While it is the evident truth that Amazon rules the public cloud domain, hosting most  web giants including Instagram and Quora, to name a couple, it is currently aggressively targeting the enterprise market as well. Microsoft, on the other hand, has already established a presence in almost every enterprise, and Google is making significant progress with medium size businesses adopting its online services such as Gmail and Google Docs. Google also targets developers with its great tools and structured APIs. Together, this trio covers (and will even better cover) businesses of any size with current and future web and cloud applications and services.

Summary

Traditional hosting providers such as HP and Rackspace are still struggling in the race to become software providers that can deliver common, unified and multitenant cloud solutions for millions of users. While the trio offerings are growing and leading Openstack initiative unfortunately doesn’t seem to be keep up following Dell’s announcement that it is leaving its Openstack initiative behind. VMware was late in realizing that software leads the cloud revolution.  Their absence of experience and skill in building a data center put VMware behind in this game.

“Consumerization is a stable neologism that describes the trend for new information technology to emerge first in the consumer market and then spread into business organizations, resulting in the convergence of the IT and consumer electronics industries, and a shift in IT innovation from large businesses to the home.” By Wikipedia

After years of uncertainty in the market, it seems that the cloud market is shaping towards an interesting expansion and transformation of the trio. It is an evident fact that the consumerization of IT forces these giant IT vendors to change. This trio already has a set pace for delivering the web/online user uniform services, therefore implementing this change into their enterprise/B2B units is only natural.

  • Dudu

    Nice overview. 2 Qs:
    1. What about HP – another giant making his steps in that turf, is he that negligible ?
    2. Improvement – even those “cloud leaders” still suffer from various problems reflecting on user experience. sometimes even frustrating users, is there any significant ongoing improvement in the area ?

  • LeonidMirsky

    Great overview.

    From my experience working with Amazon and then switching to Rackspace, I can’t agree more.

    Rackspace and similar OpenStack based clouds have a huge gap to fill, while Amazon moves at a faster pace forward.

    I still didn’t have a chance to try Google and Microsoft’s offerings, but sounds like they are maturing fast too.

    • Arthur Schmunk

      Totally agree with you.

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  • Rob Craft

    Fair point of view. I think there will be generalist soup to nuts public clouds from 3-5 players, and low dozens of regional or specialized (CRM, Supply chain) vendors in the next 5 years. 25% of servers WW are going to 1 of 10 companies today–we are building out the landscape still.