When looking at the space that cloud computing occupies in the tech world, it's almost difficult to imagine that cloud computing could actually push a few existing players into the sun. However, as with any new trend, there are winners and losers.
For instance, back in the early 1990s there was a big push for multiplatform application development tools. With the advent of the Web and the multiplatform nature of browser-based applications, these tools quickly faded away. Now I'm seeing much the same pattern with cloud computing.
[ Get the no-nonsense explanations and advice you need to take real advantage of cloud computing in the InfoWorld editors' 21-page Cloud Computing Deep Dive PDF special report, featuring an exclusive excerpt from David Linthicum's new book on cloud architecture. | Stay up on the cloud with InfoWorld's Cloud Computing Report newsletter. ]
So what will cloud computing kill?
Design-time service governance. There are two types of service governance technologies: runtime, or the ability to enforce service policies during execution, and design time, or technology supporting the design and implementation of service policies. Policies are placed around services to control who can access those services and what they can do with them. Obviously, when using services you don't own nor host, such as the case with cloud computing, the need for service governance goes way, way up.
Today SOA is a huge reality as companies ramp up to leverage cloud computing or have an SOA that uses cloud-based services. Thus, the focus on runtime service execution provides much more value. Many of the existing runtime SOA governance players support enough design and implementation capabilities that separate design-time tools are not required. Cloud computing is simply accelerating the focus on the requirement for runtime SOA governance, and sooner or later design time will fall by the wayside.
Older and smaller clouds. Given how recent the cloud hype is, it's difficult to picture cloud computing providers that have been around for five years or more. But in fact, a few of them are out there. Ironically, some of these early cloud providers have not seen the implications of the recent growing interest in the cloud. These providers are typically bit players in the cloud, providing pieces of solutions, but not holistic solutions themselves.
Most of these guys use proprietary software stacks in their own datacenters, while the newer breed of small cloud players use open source stacks that run in somebody else's cloud. Thus, these older providers support operational cost models that are just not in line with their peers. Moreover, well-funded and rapidly growing larger providers find that replicating many of the features and functions of the smaller and older clouds is just a quick internal development project. Thus, we'll see many of the venture capital walking away from these older companies; if they're lucky, a larger provider will scoop them up. We've seen a few of these walkaways and acquisitions just in the last year, most of them flying under the radar of the technology press.
Tier 2 enterprise software. It's no surprise that cloud computing is changing the way enterprises purchase and consume software. While the larger Tier 1 providers such as SAP, Sun, and Oracle have felt the pinch, the Tier 2 enterprise software vendors are going to have their markets taken out from under them if they don't get on the stick.
The reality is that cloud computing is initially focusing on the small-to-medium-size business marketplace, which Tier 1 providers have largely left alone. The rapidly expanding cloud computing market addresses SMBs out of the gate, and many of these smaller enterprises are finding that it is much more cost-effective to move to SaaS and other cloud services than to stay with the Tier 2 on-premise software vendors that traditionally dominated the SMB market.
Of course, the Tier 2 vendors' defense is to offer their own cloud-delivered options. However, this is much more difficult than it sounds when considering the new marketing and sales models that need to be deployed, not to mention the huge amount of work to redeploy traditional on-premise software using multitenant and virtualized architectures that are requirements for the cloud.