King of the Cloud

Which cloud service will be king of the cloud? Cloud computing has taken off in functionality and practicality over the last few years, so that now we have three fully defined service models of cloud computing:

  1.        Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)
  2.        Platform as a service (PaaS)
  3.        Software as a service (SaaS)

And one more service model that has been added recently, but not yet fully defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST):

  1.      Network as a service (NaaS)

As for who I think will end up being king of the hill, I am going to have to place my virtual coins on Software as a Service and here is why: I believe Infrastructure as a Service is going to have its place but will not be nearly as prevalent as Platform and Software as a Service.

I think the real question is, will more companies continue to write their own proprietary software and applications, or will companies reach out to license 3rd party software and services via the cloud? Outsourcing the software, I believe, will be the biggest trend. There will be companies that have to write their own applications based on their needs, but I believe we have moved away from major in-house deployments of 3rd party servers to create a service when everything is built and ready with the application monitored and maintained by the company that created it. In my experience, I have not seen a company which, given the choice, would be willing to recreate the wheel to solve a problem.

I do believe that there will be a struggle, competition, or reluctance for some to move away from a company’s private cloud or virtual infrastructure; they would currently prefer to deploy the application in-house. I am thinking, though, that in a few years, when security and compliance really matures for Software as a Service, there will be less resistance to migrating to the providers’ cloud services. Isn’t this an extension of what we promised with virtualization from the beginning, to decrease the overall datacenter footprint? As services get migrated to the offsite cloud the number of physical servers necessary will continue to decrease.

In closing, this is how I see things today and fully realize that things can change as quickly as I submit this post.  The number of service models could and most likely will increase, and perhaps next we can have Security as a Service.  The sky is the limit when you are reaching for the clouds.

Steve Beaver (142 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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