New Trends Are Arriving in the Cloud, But Amazon Still Sets the Pace

by Ostatic Staff - Nov. 30, 2011

This week, VentureBeat has its CloudBeat 2011 conference going on in Redwood City, Calif. Allan Leinwand, CTO at Zynga, Google VP Amit Singh, and John Dillon, CEO of Engine Yard are just some of the speakers who will be there. To kick things off, Sequoia Capital's Luis Robles has an interesting post up on four trends that are shaping cloud computing. He hits on some important trends that we've discussed on OStatic, including the growing number of challenges to VMware's cloud and virtualization offerings, and the fact that cloud productivity apps are finally good enough to compete, and could bring big changes in enterprises. Perhaps his best point, though, is that Amazon is still setting the pace in the public cloud.

"Cloud-based productivity applications like Google Docs have been around for a few years, but in 2011 they went mainstream and became credible replacements to Microsoft Office for most people," writes Robles. Indeed, I see people all around me who eschew Microsoft Word for Google Docs, when they wouldn't have done so two years ago. People are still underestimating the impact that viable, free productivity applications can have. The problem is the free competitors have not been viable until now.

Robles also notes that private clouds are proliferating, and although VMware has focused on this market with its Vsphere offerings and other products, open source alternatives are to be taken seriously. Robles writes:

"Smaller players and new open source 'cloud operating system' offerings are finding open doors amongst enterprises considering alternatives to VMware’s premium features and expanding the overall market. For instance, OpenStack (the NASA and Rackspace-backed open source cloud platform), gained significant traction, celebrating its first birthday in July and now claiming more than 130 participants and contributors."

As just one example of how much momentum this trend has, Rackspace is out with an OpenStack-based cloud platform featuring managed services and--most important of all--operational support. Its focused on private clouds, and is an example of how open source offerings are challenging proprietary players like VMware in the cloud. 

The first and truest point that Robles makes, though, is that with all the competition going on in the cloud, Amazon is still ruling the roost among public cloud service providers. He notes:

"AWS is leading the pack. Driven by a steady stream of feature enhancements, AWS continued its explosive growth in 2011, recently announcing that its S3 service was processing over 370K requests per second and had doubled in 9 months to store a staggering 566 billion objects! Most of the entrepreneurs we met in 2011 were using AWS somehow, and even Amazon is finding interesting ways to leverage its own infrastructure (such as the new AWS-powered Silk browser)."

Some people laughed when Amazon entered the cloud services business, but it is indisputable that Amazon is not just number one in the public space, but is leading innovation there. If cloud computing grows at the pace it's predicted to, Amazon will definitely benefit. 

It's worth considering Robles' other cloud thoughts, found here, and you can find our complete collection of cloud computing resources--including interviews with a number of leaders in the cloud--here