I’ve had a number of posts on the structure of the cloud computing market, (Can A Cloud Computing Provider Be Too Massive?, Is Google the Mainframe of Cloud Computing?, Partly or Mostly Cloudy?) and I’m getting more and more comfortable talking about three major phases of market evolution. Very simply, I think they look like this:
Phase 1: Monolithic (Early). Early cloud computing services will be based on proprietary/internal architectures – islands of cloud services delivered by megaproviders. This is what Google, Salesforce and Microsoft look like today.
Phase 2: Vertical Supply Chain (2+ Years). Over time, some cloud providers will leverage cloud services from other providers (for example, ISVs moving into SaaS on top of Microsoft’s Azure Services Platform, use of Force.com, use of Google App Engine). Still proprietary islands, but ecosystems starting to build.
Phase 3: Horizontal Federation (4+ Years). Smaller providers will federate horizontally to gain economies of scale (and efficient use of assets) – also, enterprises will leverage horizontal federation for peak capacity (overdraft protection, cloudbursting). There will be more choices at each layer of cloud computing, and standards will gain momentum.
Again, very similar to the development of the overall server market.