A Tale of Two Cloud Strategies and observed the two opposing cloud strategies of VMware vs. AWS. VMware, with its strength in the enterprise, building presence in the public cloud -- and AWS with de facto dominance in the public cloud, working inroads into the enterprise.
In my closing paragraph I noted
These will be extraordinary strategies to observe over time. We all know that even the most dominating companies/technologies eventually meet their match (or their disruption). Both VMware and AWS have appeared at times to be unstoppable. As they converge, it will surely be a battle of gladiators. Unless (or until) of course, third, fourth and dark-horse players disrupt the party. As they always do.And, sure enough, here comes the Number Three - and predictable - gladiator.
Enter: Microsoft Azure - and Windows Server
Azure has been gaining ground (and functionality) steadily. Earlier in the year Azure GM Steven Martin hyped that 50% of the F500 companies were now using the service. And just the other day, Microsoft reported 103% growth quarter (includes Office 365). But that's not the real story IMO.
The company has also released (with a new name) the Windows Azure Pack. When used with Windows Server and System Center, it allows enterprises and service providers to generate Azure services -- using Azure APIs. Furthermore, it simplifies creating hybrid services between the data center and Azure, including capacity expansion, fail-over and DR.
Trojan horse? No - simply a clever strategy. They are lowering (and nearly eliminating) the barriers to adoption of the public cloud by introducing it as a service extension of Windows you already own. And this way, any enterprise or service provider can go public/private/hybrid on their own timetable.
It's Now a Three-Horse Race. Do I hear Four?
VMware, AWS and Microsoft are off to the races for dominance of the hybrid cloud. Will there be a fourth? And, will the market segment into 3 preferences? Or, will users demand greater interoperability and fight lock-in.
Stay tuned until our next episode...