The public cloud wars are over, and three providers have emerged as the powers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Google, the trio I call AMG. Yes, IBM, Oracle, and HP Enterprise remain in the game, but they're not really players. As a cloud consultant, I don't see them in deals any more, and I suspect that they can't keep up with AMG's massive spending on R&D and marketing.
So now what? The big war for the public cloud may be over, but several cloud markets will be active battlegrounds. For some of these cloud battlegrounds, the stakes are quite high. In fact, I believe their outcomes will deliver us much more value than the public cloud wars did because now the battles are over what matters most to successful enterprise usage.
Cloud battleground 1: Security
It's still anybody's game. Although the public cloud providers offer their own security solutions, including encryption and identity and access management, I believe that most enterprises will seek strong third-party solutions instead. That opens up a battleground among many security-specific providers spanning needs from traditional enterprise systems to private and public clouds.
Cloud battleground 2: API management
The ability to manage APIs is everything in the world of cloud computing, considering that we'll be consuming APIs from internal and external applications and infrastructure, as well as standing up APIs for internal and external consumption. It makes sense that we leverage a third-party player for this role, since APIs will be pervasive in public and private cloud as well as internal and cloud-based applications. Indeed, this will drive the growth of the cloud and be a huge area for growth.
Cloud battleground 3: Monitoring and reporting
Also important is the ability to monitor your clouds for performance, troubles, and shenanigans (security). Monitoring and reporting tools cover a wide variety of tasks, including gathering and analyzing data coming from both cloud and on-premises systems and taking automated corrective action. Such tools are a must-have if you're using clouds or standing up your own cloud service.
There's huge growth potential here, which is why providers are now emerging.