The Oracle's acquisition of Sun Microsystems doesn't appear to bode well for their cloudcomputing plans even though some people I spoke to after the announcement of the mergerare confident about Sun's cloudy future.
Even though some of the pundits were not so sure of GoGrid's ability to crack the IaaSmarket, I was pretty excited about them because they made some right moves early on. Theyoffered free load balancing even before some in the AWS team heard about the term. If mymemory is correct, they are the first ones to offer what we now call as Virtual Data Centers.More importantly, thanks to the then CTO Randy Bias, they offered their API specificationsunder creative commons license, thereby, empowering their clients and ecosystem players. Inspite of all these right moves, their market position is still very weak and I am not seeinganything to suggest that it can be turn around quickly. I also feel that Rackspace's entry in thefield has affected their position as an Amazon alternative.
This PaaS provider started off with very high expectations from the punditsand, at that time, it appeared that they are going to revolutionalize the way we develop andintegrate applications on the enterprise side. In fact, they can be called as one of the earlyPaaS pioneers. Ever since the early buzz, I haven't come across any news/information thatreally excited me. Even though I am making a guess here, I think Bungee Connect can betagged as a "loser".These are some of the vendors whom I thought were going to stir up the marketplace but loststeam on the way and, possibly, going towards a big thud. All three of them can still turnaround and make big but their journey is going to be really difficult. Even though the emotionalside of my brain wants them to win, the rational side tells me that they have lost theopportunity.
Neither Winners Nor Losers in 2009
After talking about the winners and losers of 2009, let me briefly talk about some of the cloudcomputing providers who are neither the winners nor the losers in the year 2009. The fortunesof these companies could go either way based on various market conditions, their strategies,execution, etc..
The winner of the previous desktop computing era is struggling hard in this era of cloud computing. Well, they are not struggling hard in terms of their cloud offerings. Aftertrying to resist cloud computing initially and dismissing it as a non starter, they came around tooffer a compelling set of services that has the potential to get the enterprises excited. There isno doubt about the market potential for their Azure based services but I have placed them inthe neutral category for entirely different reasons. This only happens to very few companies inthis world. Their success in the cloud era is directly dependent on the loss of their existing cashcow. The issue is not about whether Microsoft can win the cloud game. If they go all out in themarket, they will definitely emerge as a winner. The issue is about how they can win the cloudgame while killing the products that are currently filling up their coffers. The very success orfailure of Microsoft in the cloud era depends on how they are going to manage this situation.Remember, Microsoft has too much fat in terms of employee number to be agile in the cloudera. Trimming this fat will put a dent on the employee morale and will make Microsoftunattractive for younger talents. This, in turn, will make it difficult for Microsoft to innovate inthe fast moving cloud marketplace. Already, people are talking about whether the old age of Microsoft employees are affecting their ability to innovate. This is a tricky situation and thevery success of Microsoft is dependent on how they overcome this dilemma. On the SaaS OfficeSuite side, Microsoft is clearly going to end up on the losing side as they cannot fight the freeofferings from Google and Zoho (disclaimer: Zoho is an exclusive sponsor of Cloud Ave, a blogwhere I am a contributor).
Joyent has been offering infrastructure for web applications even before many of usheard the term cloud computing. To defend themselves against the onslaught of what we nowcall as cloud economics, from players like Amazon Web Services, Joyent repositionedthemselves by offering highly optimized vertical offerings like MySql Accelerator along withothers like Cloud Control and Joyent Smart Platform. At one point, it appeared that Joyent can