Google to launch Amazon, Microsoft cloud rival at Google I/O


Google is very likely to launch a cloud services platform at its annual developer conference, Google I/O next week in San Francisco. It was one of the topics of discussion in the hallways of our Structure 2012 conference. We have since confirmed with multiple sources who are familiar with Google’s plans which include a more comprehensive offering that its current app engine and storage offerings. The Mountain View, Calif-based Internet giant declined to comment.

In early May, my colleague Derrick Harris broke the news that both Google and Microsoft were launching their competitors to Amazon later this year.

Google is hard at work on a cloud computing offering that will compete directly with the popular Amazon EC2 cloud, according to a source familiar with Google’s plans. Not to be outdone, other sources have confirmed Microsoft is also building an Infrastructure as a Service platform, and that the Redmond cloud will be ready — or at least announced — before Google’s. According to my sources, Google should roll out its service for renting virtual server instances by the end of the year, while Microsoft is slating its big announcement for a June 7 event in San Francisco.

Although Google declined to comment on whether the offering is indeed on the way, an IaaS cloud would make a lot of sense for the company. It already has a popular platform-as-a-service offering in App Engine that is essentially a cloud-based application runtime, but renting virtual servers in an IaaS model is still where the money is in cloud-based computing. Google also has an API-accessible storage offering — the aptly named Google Cloud Storage — that would make for a nice complement to an IaaS cloud, like Amazon’s ridiculously popular S3 storage service is for EC2.

While Amazon seems to be a target for all cloud service providers, my sources say that the real target for Google seems to be Microsoft and its developer community. While Amazon has achieved amazing traction with startups and new cloud companies, experts believe that there is a wider opportunity to tap into the corporate markets. Amazon too is trying to move into the enterprise market. The enterprise developer community is also one of Microsoft’s biggest strengths, and Google wants to go after them.

In order to lure these enterprise developers, the company has focused heavily on making it easier to write, deploy and manage applications on its platform. It is doing so by partnering with third parties. Two companies I have heard who are in cahoots with Google are Rightscale and Opscode.

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