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Summary:

When all is said and done, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com might be battling it out for PaaS (and SaaS) dollars against a whole slew of smaller providers operating within the infrastructural confines of AWS, Rackspace, Terremark and Savvis.

Since the beginning, a big question about cloud computing is how the ecosystem will evolve. Will there be only a handful of superpowers (e.g, Amazon, Google and Microsoft) that possess the knowledge and money to operate at a large scale, or, will there be dozens of providers in the mix, specializing in dozens of different infrastructural areas and vertical markets? Finally, as mainstream providers have begun segregating into the IaaS and PaaS camps, it seems we’re getting close to an answer.

Engine Yard provides a prime example of how the market might play out. The company already hosted its Ruby on Rails PaaS offering, AppCloud, on Amazon Web Services, but last week it partnered with Terremark to roll out its enterprise-grade xCloud offering. The benefits it gets from each provider are passed on to customers, along with prices to match. Of course, Engine Yard isn’t the first specialty cloud provider to rely on the big boys for infrastructure.

As I discuss in my weekly column at GigaOM Pro, this seems to be the direction the market is moving; large IaaS providers — such as Amazon and Terremark — could end up serving as arms dealers for cloud specialists like Engine Yard. As IT consumers begin demanding increased automation of PaaS, and as demand for SaaS applications spreads, providers of these services will need infrastructure to house them, and large providers have plenty to sell.

I’ve been adamant recently that AWS, in particular, needs to offer its own PaaS to compete with growing cloud competition from IT goliaths like Google, Microsoft and, to a lesser degree, Salesforce.com, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. If Amazon can undermine those companies by arming their competitors — not to mention any and every other flavor of cloud service — with infrastructure, maybe that’s profit enough.

When all is said and done, Google, Microsoft and Salesforce.com might be battling it out for PaaS (and SaaS) dollars against a whole slew of smaller providers operating within the infrastructural confines of AWS, Rackspace, Terremark and Savvis. I’m not making a prediction, but this does seem like a possibility.

Read the GigaOM Pro post here. Also, plan to attend Structure 2010 or watch the live stream to hear a lot more about the cloud market from thought leaders at the vendor, provider and user levels.

  1. This is exactly what we do, offer smart API’s the arm the breed of Cloud based B2B and EDI applications Davids – we call them the Cowboy / Pirates – and there are plenty of Women too. Many work at large ecommerce and logistics and ERP software companies, at traditional Value added networks, and we put in their hands the tools to build their own EDI networks, their very own. We even wrote a song for our EDI Pirates and B2Bandit Queens:

    http://ecgridos.com/edi-guy-song/

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  2. [...] new servers and managing databases. In fact, some PaaS offerings, including Makara and Heroku, run atop public IaaS clouds (primarily Amazon [...]

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  3. [...] to PaaS software running atop the infrastructure of a customer’s choosing? With many PaaS clouds residing as software layers atop IaaS clouds, might Java developers not demand access to that software and the ability to run it where they [...]

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  4. [...] to PaaS software running atop the infrastructure of a customer’s choosing? With many PaaS clouds residing as software layers atop IaaS clouds, might Java developers not demand access to that software and the ability to run it where they [...]

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