Summary:

It may not be pleasant for the competitors, but cloud competition is nothing but good for cloud consumers — whether they’re startups or Fortune 100 companies.

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photo: Official U.S. Navy Imagery

Here’s something we often forget: Competition is good.

The Microsoft that produced the Windows-Office monopoly let its products get fat, dumb and happy. The Microsoft that must contend with the Oracle database juggernaut puts out a pretty good database. That’s why the sudden influx of new public cloud riches exemplified by this week’s official launch of the Google Compute Engine, coming a few weeks after Microsoft launched its Windows Azure IaaS options, may be tough on the competitors but could be very good for smart IT consumers.

Look for price cuts to continue, along with a flow of new services, and better APIs to access those services.

While I haven’t parsed the instance-by-instance price comparison between GCE and AWS, Google’s decision to sell compute instances in sub-hour increments could lead to cost savings vs. Amazon, which prices by the full hour. Don’t be surprised if Amazon responds, however.

We’ve already seen several price skirmishes in cloud including five or six price cuts in cloud storage in the span of a few weeks late last year between Google, AWS and Microsoft. Heck, even Rackspace, which touts its fanatical support rather than low prices, got into the act a little bit later.

Look for this sort of one-upsmanship (one-downsmanship?) to continue as these extremely well-funded and highly motivated competitors angle to get your workloads on their respective clouds. For the discerning IT buyer, whether she’s at a startup or a Fortune 100 company, that is only good news.

Photo courtesy of  Flickr user Official U.S. Navy Imagery

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