Last week I did a series of what CIOs need to know and consider for Google Compute Engine (GCE). Our coverage touched on four areas of importance as noted by Wikibon Senior Analyst Stu Miniman: Google Compute Engine’s market position (specifically how it compares to Amazon Web Services), Service Level Agreements (SLAs), the public cloud pricing wars, and pros and cons for CIOs. Who’s gaining market share? Who has a game-changing model to differentiate in this growing market? Storage is becoming more and more complex, and the CIO is facing a lot of important decisions in their pipeline.
Here is a recap of each topic:
The public cloud is becoming a crowded cloud-mess of who’s-who in technology. The two heaviest of the heavyweights are the incumbent Amazon Web Services (Amazon AWS) and the best-of-the-rest challenger Google Compute Engine (GCE). AWS is far and away the leader, with a projected revenue of $3 billion in 2013, but GCE has Google’s hyperscale ability backed by 14 years of building one of the largest networks and most scalable architectures in the world. While GCE is not ready for prime-time, according to Wikibon Co-Founder and CTO David Floyer, it has the best opportunity to challenge AWS’s dominance.
If Google Compute Engine is going to truly cut into Amazon’s pie, it will need to mature and evolve its SLA. An SLA is the governing document between vendor and customer, and good customer service is one heck of a differentiator for a company entering a new market. Senior Wikibon Analyst Stu Miniman recently provided a Vendor Survival Guide for Competing with Amazon AWS; and in that survival guide he explained that the vendor (in our case GCE) has to meet the speed and ease of AWS. Google, known for its self-serve customer service approach, needs to double down on its support with GCE if it hopes to compete with Amazon’s or even Rackspace’s hands-on approach to support. Equally so, 24x7x365 phone support would be a well-positioned service offering to gain new enterprises and/or help lure them away from AWS.
Public cloud providers are competing fiercely for market share, and price is an important aspect of their marketing efforts. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is the back-alley street fight for web giants that would make Blanka and Guile from Street Fighter proud. What is stacking up (pun intended) is a David (Rackspace) vs. Goliath (Amazon Web Services) vs. Goliah (Google Compute Engine) scenario. These three active providers in the public cloud pricing war seem to be in a race to rock-bottom prices. Can Rackspace continue to keep up with the deep pockets of Amazon Web Services and Google Compute Engine?
Wikibon’s senior analyst Stu Miniman recently sized up the public cloud playing field, giving some action items for the CIO, briefly highlighting some of the pros and cons. Public cloud providers are making a strong play for the enterprise, commoditizing hyperscale infrastructure at its finest. The move to an Infrastructure-as-a-Service model is a high-dollar decision though, so do the pros outweigh the cons?
Here are my takeaways for the CIO from last week’s coverage:
- The race is Amazon AWS vs. Google Compute Engine (GCE) vs. everyone else in the public cloud.
- The enterprise cloud is going to best be served as a public and private hybrid.
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs) will continue to change as differentiators, sometimes dramatically, with the growing service providers.
- The maturity of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service industry is far too young to make any all-encompasing bets.
- Storage, Computing, Infrastructure, Services and Networking is moving towards the cloud. Whether 100 percent or 50 percent, on-premise will eventually become minimal.
All-in-all, the commoditization of the cloud, both public and private, is happening all around us. As far as choosing winners and losers, the CIO needs to keep a keen eye on the next eight to fourteen months for the first ball to drop.