Cloud provider roulette: Will yours still be around?

2010 will clearly be the year of cloud consolidation, so you need to be careful where and how you place your cloud computing bets

I was not surprised to see that CA has bought cloud infrastructure provider 3Tera -- I believe that 2010 will be the year of cloud consolidation, and we've only just begun.

This is CA's third major acquisition that targets cloud computing, including Cassatt last summer and Oblicore earlier this year. CA has long been a company that purchases its way into a space, and apparently cloud computing will be no different than other emerging areas that CA has entered through acquisition.

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3Tera offers both public and private cloud infrastructures, available in a choice of cloud service or on-premise software. With this purchase, CA now has a true public cloud in its portfolio, and that's a very different model than its core enterprise software business.

The larger issue here is that we're entering into a buying frenzy around cloud computing technology, both public and private. I suspect we'll see this accelerate as stock prices continue to rebound, and thus management feels much better about entering into riskier deals.

Why so many, and why so fast? This is very different from the Internet bubble of the late 1990s, where most companies could exit through a public offering, even companies that had no concept of a business model or revenue. Today, going public is a near impossibility considering the regulations, and it's very expensive even after you go public, considering Sarbanes-Oxley and other laws that require compliance. So you start, you build, and you sell. That's the model for the next Internet bubble, which is being driven by the interest in cloud computing.

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