Cloud vendors: Who's cloud washing?

Cloud vendors: Who's cloud washing?

Summary: Amazon Web Services and its EC2 will remain dominant. Salesforce also leads as the rest of the field plays catch up to some degree.


ORLANDO---Amazon will remain the de facto cloud infrastructure standard at least through 2014, VMware's strategy is ambitious and other software giants such as Oracle and SAP are trying to buy their way into the market.

Those are some high-level takeaways from a Gartner Symposium presentation on Thursday. Gartner analyst David Mitchell Smith handicapped the cloud field.

The overall aim was distinguish between the cloud washers and the vendors committed to the cause. Here's an overview:

Amazon's EC2 will remain the de facto standard cloud infrastructure provider through 2014. Amazon has the partner ecosystem, is creeping into application infrastructure and the customer base to remain dominant.

Salesforce is an early leader in platform as a service and has a dominant CRM position. However, Smith noted:'s own strategy is not without challenges. Its programming and runtime environments are proprietary, most of its users are small businesses, and it is struggling to break out of the market niche of a CRM vendor. An early leader, may be an attractive acquisition target for a better diversified major software industry player. Whatever the endgame, is likely to help lead the industry out of the enterprise closet and into the open and agile era of cloud computing.

Google's App Engine is promising, but the company’s cloud offerings aren't layered together. Google Apps occupy the bulk of the search giant's cloud products and many applications don't use App Engine, said Smith.

VMware's vision is ambitious. "The company has acquired SpringSource, RabbitMQ, GemStone Systems, Zimbra and other innovative application and application infrastructure vendors, absorbing not only some important technology, but also some advanced middleware engineering talent," said Smith.


Microsoft's cloud strategy is defensive, visionary and pragmatic all at the same time. Smith noted:

Microsoft's approach to cloud computing via Azure is visionary and pragmatic affecting all Microsoft products over the next decade. However, it is also a defensive move as Microsoft faces increasing competition from "as a service" alternatives to its traditional software model.

Oracle and SAP will be cloud influencers. Oracle's initial vision equates to managed server virtualization, said Smith. SAP has bought its way into the market, has partnerships with Amazon Web Services and could move into application platforms resembling

IBM has the cloud covered on multiple fronts either through internal development or acquisition. Smith noted:

IBM's cloud computing is on four paths: (1) deliver a portfolio of IBM cloud computing services; (2) offer professional services to help independent software vendors (ISVs) design, build and deliver cloud application services; (3) offer professional services to help end-user firms integrate cloud services; and (4) deliver varied cloud-enabling technologies to providers or firms to create private cloud environments.

HP's cloud plans are ambitious, but the company will struggle with market perception as well as multiple approaches. HP will have data centers for enterprise cloud services in Germany, Singapore, France and Brazil. Public cloud delivered via U.S. data centers.

Topics: Cloud, Amazon, Data Centers, IBM,

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  • Reading your chart... looks like Microsoft has the most blue bubbles filled in. Followed by a 3 way tie for 2nd with IBM, HP and Salesforce, then Google 3rd, with amazon 4th as far as the evaluation of their emphasis.
  • Everybody who read Dilbert on October 21.

    "Who's cloud washing?"

    Everybody who read Dilbert on October 21.

    It explains the process nicely.
    • Definitely read this one

      Came across that Dilbert by chance this past Sunday, but found it oddly relevant to current events and ambiance.

      I, personally, see the writing on the wall for Salesforce with it's artificially bloated value and ever-receding adoption rates. This might be a strange blow to both the CRM and cloud industries, as the nay-sayers will probably soap box the death of the "chosen ones", but in the meantime there are a lot of smaller systems that do a better job than these big players. Things like JobNimbus ( are fantastic tools that, until they get bigger user bases, will never get the attention these hogs enjoy.
  • gray clouds

    Is this the same Amazon EC2 that had outages on June 29th and Oct 15th of this year? Even the biggest and best will give users problems because of the very nature of the cloud. It is simply a bad idea that is being foisted upon users to make more money and lock them into a single vendor.

    Have a nice day,

  • Cloud Native or Cloud Washed

    I disagree that VMWare buying traditional, on-premise middleware technologies places them in a position to lead in the Cloud PaaS market. The employee brain drain since acquiring SpringSource has been immense.

    In this presentation, my colleague David Mitchell Smith doesn't specify the difference between Cloud-Native and Cloud-washed. I have written a blog outlining the difference between Cloud Native middleware purpose-built for Cloud versus Cloud washed middleware fork-lifted into the Cloud