The public cloud could evolve like streaming services

More competition and commoditization in the public cloud’s marketplace may create a model more like Netflix and Apple TV.

The public cloud could evolve like streaming services

Streaming services, the kind we use from Apple TV, Roku, smart TVs, mobile devices, or other systems are beginning to look a lot alike in terms of the content that they offer—no matter if you’re paying for them or not.

Case in point, during the pandemic I wanted to binge-watch a specific show. The cost was $30 for an all-season pass for one service. I paid for it and enjoyed the episodic series over a few weeks.

Of course, this series was offered for free a few months later on a free streaming service owned by one of the major networks. I was out $30 for a show I eventually could have watched for nothing. I did enjoy watching the series a few months prior, but was it worth $30?

I’m seeing similar patterns in the public cloud world, and enterprises should be aware that this could happen sometime in the next few years. If it does, what are the opportunities and threats we’ll likely face?

If you think that many of the public clouds are beginning to offer the same patterns and types of services, and sometimes the same specific services, you’re right. Databases, Kubernetes development platforms, artificial intelligence (AI), serverless systems, and even packaged software are available on most public clouds.

Although sometimes these services are cloud native, meaning they are only offered on a specific cloud brand, others can be found in the partner marketplaces of almost all cloud providers. These include traditional enterprise databases, open source AI systems, and open source and closed source development systems, just to name a very few.

Enterprises are a great deal savvier than even a few years ago and now support multiple clouds. They have choices, much like we can find the same TV shows and movies on dozens of streaming services at the same time, all at different prices and some even free.

As competition heats up for public clouds, it’s likely that the best-selling services that can be found across clouds, such as databases, applications, development tools, etc., will likely be commoditized to a certain point. The cloud providers may provide significant discounts or even free services to gain other advantages, such as sales of more lucrative services, much like free streaming services use advertisements or gather up your data to be sold.

Enterprises should prepare for this by putting cloud brokering services in place to automatically sort through these changes to look for the best value. They should also consider cost governance services to ensure that they’re paying the minimum for the maximum value. Finally, they need to define what it may mean to move from one service on one cloud to the same or a similar service on another. Is there enough economic advantage to outweigh the risk of moving?

I suspect this benefits everyone. Enterprises enjoy reduced costs as cloud providers look to provide incentives to leverage their lower-level and higher-level services ongoing. Cloud providers get access to a more dynamic market, and even those now lagging behind may find that this trend changes adoption patterns across public clouds.

Now that we can mix and match cloud providers and their primitive and non-primitive services, accessing sophisticated enterprise solutions may indeed become more like the way we consume streaming content today. Most of us figured this day would come. So, who’s up for binge-building Kubernetes apps?

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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