back to article 'Other' may yet become the biggest and most useful cloud

In recent weeks I didn't write stories about Packet.net splashing down in 15 new nations to start an edge compute service, or the plans that Tata Telecoms shared with me to expand its data centre footprint by targeting partnerships with users of its submarine cables. I skipped them both because the companies concerned are …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Joyent?

    What about Joyent? I believe you've run a couple articles on their cloud services.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Joyent?

      I read that as "Joylent", and so my brain then added "green". I'm not sure I want to know what "Joylent green" might be for, or what it's made of.

  2. samzeman

    Nominative Determinism

    Cloud software gets more and more like actual clouds every day: Not a single person can predict where they'll go or what they'll do. Weather TV reporters and tech futurists should try swapping places and see if it changes much.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Nominative Determinism

      "It never rains but it pours."

  3. sal II

    When it comes to full blown Public Cloud migration/deployment SLA and cost are kings. Even if somehow an "others" player manages to convince punters that their SLAs are as good or better than the major players, they have no chance in hell to compete on cost. All of the big players are prepared dump prices bellow cost to fight off the competition (and have already done it in the past) covering the losses on their Cloud from other sources. Even then compatibility APIs etc. are unreachable for small time players.

    When it comes to hybrid and managed "Private" clouds, small players might have a chance to compete offering greater flexibility, but these will always be a niche players and can't become the "biggest" clouds

    1. Loud Speaker

      SLAs are just weasel words for arse covering. When the plug drops out or your bits are spilt on the floor, they can say "see section 4, clause 81, para 3: we are not responsible for any of our actions, whether intentional or unintentional, tough luck, mate."

  4. Alan Sharkey

    Definitions?

    Personally, I don't see the niche players becoming cloud providers in a big way. They can't compete and could well disappear overnight (I don't see the big four doing that).

    Where I think the niches will grow is in migration and management. Which is what (I think) companies really need.

    Alan (ex HPE DC migration architect - so I have a lttle bit of experience here :) )

    1. Loud Speaker

      Re: Definitions?

      I don't see the niche players becoming cloud providers in a big way. They can't compete and could well disappear overnight (I don't see the big four doing that).

      Big players (Oracle, Cisco, etc) have a well established track record of dropping offerings at very short notice because the CEO gets bored, or sees some new "shiney", or a major defect in their accounting methods is discovered. Otherwise, they last until new tech eats them from the inside.

      Last week, I was explaining the cloud to my 90 year old Mum, who was a Fortran programmer in the days of timeshare. She observed - "The cloud is just a return to the 1960's where you rent a small part of someone else's very big computer, and have no control of anything. When new technology comes along, the old guard will be left behind".

      So what will kill the cloud is "young people discovering that you can actually own your own CPU and hard disk, carry it anywhere with your data in it, and not have hideous access times, or GCHQ and the NSA, or anyone else, poking their noses in it".

      She may be right: big business has no interest at all in speed, reliability, privacy or security (see El Reg for further details). And they will be so committed to the tech they used to build their warehouses, that they wont be able to migrate to the latest killer tech.

      I did point out that the fastest way from my house to hers is by rail - a 150 year old technology. She said she thought the 250 year old bicycle tech was probably faster door to door, but she had to give up cycling at the age of 70. Cars are not the answer, not even Uber, because of the 3 hour wait to get through the Blackwall Tunnel (it was definitely quicker by horse in Brunel's day).

  5. Bryan Hall

    Licenses drive cloud

    Generic cloud providers are great for mostly open source or home-spun software. But there is a very valid place for PaaS / SaaS offerings from commercial vendors due to more favorable licensing, maintenance, and support. Now these offerings may very well actually run under one (or more) of the big vendor's cloud umbrellas, but in some cases like Oracle they don't, and that should not be a problem.

    The point is - a single cloud strategy is difficult if not darn well useless when you have lots of commercial software products involved. A multi-cloud strategy just makes sense by letting each vendor tailor their offering on whatever clouds work best for them. Then the cloud-to-cloud connection becomes the important factor.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Optimistic view of niche clouds

    My opinion is that the current "cloud" market will consolidate (not a big surprise given the costs involved) and will follow hardware spending (i.e. look at who buys Intel CPU's at "cloud scale") as the companies with less to spend will not be able to keep pace at some point.

    Given the move by Salesforce to AWS, I would expect any cloud service spending less than US$2B/annum on infrastructure to either consolidate or fall into the regional niche market place unless you have some other business model other than pure cloud (i.e. Facebook/Googles/Baidu's ads for content model or Alibaba's tat warehouse).

    Does this leave a 40% market share for cloud niche players? I would be surprised if it was bigger than 25% within 5 years and 10% within 10 years - AWS/Azure/Google and SaaS providers riding on top of them will cover all of the regions that are well connected or have sufficient business to justify the investment in making them well connected.

  7. Neal McQ

    I always come back to this excellent post on 'How Many Data Centers Needed World-Wide':

    "It may be the case that there will be many regional cloud providers rather than a small group of international providers. I can see arguments and factors supporting both outcomes but, whatever the outcome, the number of world-wide cloud data centers will far exceed O(10^5) and these will be medium to large data centers. When a competitor argues that fast computers or databases will save them from this outcome, don’t believe it."

    http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2017/04/how-many-data-centers-needed-world-wide/

    Most importantly, this was written by one James Hamilton, 'VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services'..........

  8. Neal McQ

    This reminds me of this good post on 'How Many Data Centers Needed World-Wide':

    "It may be the case that there will be many regional cloud providers rather than a small group of international providers. I can see arguments and factors supporting both outcomes but, whatever the outcome, the number of world-wide cloud data centers will far exceed O(10^5) and these will be medium to large data centers. When a competitor argues that fast computers or databases will save them from this outcome, don’t believe it."

    http://perspectives.mvdirona.com/2017/04/how-many-data-centers-needed-world-wide/

    Most importantly, this was written by one James Hamilton, 'VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services'.....

  9. Mellipop

    BRICking it

    no-one wants a SPOF.

    So, the cloud equivalent of RAID is very likely to prevent any of the big players achieving dominance.

    https://bitcartel.wordpress.com/2012/10/21/rbic-redundant-bunch-of-independent-clouds/

  10. Dan 10

    I recently applied for a cloud-focused role, and agreed with the client that there is more to the cloud than AWS, Azure and Google. When I thought about it, I realised I had more cloud experience than I thought, having also worked with Quivox, Trusteer, Threatmetrix, Websense, Diligent and a few others. None of those have a compelling alternative in the big two providers.

  11. OnlyMee

    I predict a very different kind of cloud evolution

    A lot of software usage moves to cloud either by existing vendors SaaS offering or new comers taking the market. Initially, these saas solutions are built on 1 of the 3-5 big players in the field.

    Some point however many these cloud offers to grow to a size where price scalability and automation benefits from cloud vendors no longer weight as much as possible to have purpose engineered hardware together with purpose build low-level software to get absolute max out of everything. This will result in players who build integrated HW + SW + network stacks servicing single SaaS apps globally from distributed systems. First movers will be capacity heavy players in the consumer markets. Many enterprise SaaS solutions will never reach these loads & and will stay within public cloud vendors.

    Dropbox is a good example of this and Netflix has also moved the majority of their stream to what is essentially purpose build, global, single tenant CDN. https://www.wired.com/2017/04/building-ai-chip-saved-google-building-dozen-new-data-centers/

    I cannot see enterprise HW vendors ever returning as the whole problem with that kit is always been its desire to be something for everyone and including a lot of extra HW + system SW cost in the package. Someone like SuperMicro or even Dell DCS might manage, however.

    Dropbox story : https://www.wired.com/2016/03/epic-story-dropboxs-exodus-amazon-cloud-empire/

    Google purpose build HW: https://www.wired.com/2017/04/building-ai-chip-saved-google-building-dozen-new-data-centers/

    Facebook Open HW : http://www.opencompute.org/

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