Monday, November 26, 2007

Five Clouds? I think not...

In One Cloud, Two Clouds, Four Clouds, More?, Bob Warfield chimes in on the topic of horizontal and vertical markets for utility compute clouds.

He references an article from Om Malik in which Om makes the case for a small number of horizontally aligned compute clouds. He also references an article from Nick Carr. Nick postulates that there is still significant value to be found in vertically aligned clouds.

Each of these articles are an interesting read, well worth the time.

I agree with Bob's assessment of the near-term future for cloud computing, namely that vertical markets are still relevant as we see utility computing become an intriguing option for many situations.

There is still significant value in the ability for companies to provide compute clouds tuned to specific industries. Different regulatory landscapes, risk profiles, and preferred architectures are enough to provide differentiation across providers. Current horizontally aligned utility compute environments are not sufficiently evolved to provide simple options for the wide variety of requirements. In addition, the vertically aligned environments are predisposed to understanding the requirements and issues particular to specific industries.

Perhaps we'll see a shift once the horizontal players start to see patterns in the solutions implemented by their vertical customers, and start offering these patterns as value-added services to their vertical customers.


Bert Armijo said...

A succesfull vertical cloud requires conquering scaling issues. Rather than reinvent the wheel, the logical basis for doing this today would be to start with a commercially available utility computing solution. The beginnings of this trend are Ruby offerings based on EC2 and 3tera's AppLogic. Moving forward, it's logical that we'll see more specialized offerings - banking, healthcare, investing, social networking. This is part of the reason we at 3tera have taken to partnering with multiple providers and allowing each to specialize their offerings for their customer base.

Aloof Schipperke said...

That's a good point for startups.

Growing existing infrastructure is still a viable option for businesses wanting to leverage existing vertical market expertise, particularly given the challenges of selling external platforms solutions into environments with entranced interests. Having said this, external utility computing platforms are rapidly becoming a viable alternative even for these cases.