Discussion on the state of cloud computing and open source software that helps build, manage, and deliver everything-as-a-service.
5 Market Segments for Infrastructure Cloud Providers
I spend a lot of time talking with companies who are thinking about offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in the future. Often they talk about a highly segmented market, with a number of different sub-markets, not unlike the auto market. This is in sharp contrast to the "utility" model that lots of app/management stack vendors talk about.
spend a lot of time talking with companies who are thinking about offering Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) in the future. Often they talk about a highly segmented market, with a number of different sub-markets, not unlike the auto market. This is in sharp contrast to the "utility" model that lots of app/management stack vendors talk about.
I'll try to summarize the segments I've heard described, and I'd be interested in hearing feedback on these business models.
1. Commodity Cloud - The most common and obvious business model, companies thinking of taking this approach are typically operationally mature service providers who have been competing viciously in the managed servers/web hosting space. Right now, if you don't differentiate your virtual machines in some significant way, you're in this group, right along with Amazon. There are huge feature differences in this group, but everyone seems to agree that pricing and scale are going to be the hallmarks of this segment long term.
2. "Enterprise-Grade" Cloud - Lots of companies talk about their solutions as "Enterprise-grade" computing clouds. Often these are built on VMware, and the service providers offer tougher SLAs, better security, better hardware, dedicated systems and more flexibility for the end-user.
3. Virtual Private Cloud - Many of the big service providers seem to be heading this way, think IBM, HP, etc. What this means is a service provider would host a complete private cloud for an Enterprise on dedicated machines inside the service provider's datacenter. Importantly, each Enterprise customer would have the ability to configure their cloud as they felt appropriate in terms of overprovisioning, storage, security and audit. Delegated administration, and a private management server seem to be a component of most offerings in this area.
4. Virtual Datacenter - I've heard this two or three times now, and as best I understand it, it is a twist on the Virtual Private Cloud, in which a service provider offers SMB customers an entire virtual IT department running in the cloud. Exchange, DNS, Web Hosting, Accounting, etc. all preconfigured and managed by the service provider. It is basically outsourcing but with all of the servers running on the cloud.
5. Secure Cloud - I'm not sure if this deserves to be a segment, but I've had a few companies tell me that their IaaS will be highly secure and compliant with regulations like PCI. I think it means IDS, Access Control, Configuration Audit, Web-app Firewall all running on each users virtual network. I wonder if some of the Government and Defense Initiatves, like DISA's RACE program might not end up looking something like this.
What did I miss? Is there room for purpose specific cloud environments? Maybe something for high performance computing or research? Are all of these models viable? What functions will enterprises pay a premium for?