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New player battles for U.S. cloud market share

The U.S. cloud market is highly competitive, with Amazon, Microsoft and Google firmly planted at the top. Can new player Alibaba shift the balance?

Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google continue to dominate the U.S. cloud computing market. However, another player has emerged to fight for cloud market share -- Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba. But can a new player thrive, or even survive, in the highly competitive U.S. cloud market?

David Linthicum discussed Alibaba and other news in his podcast with Casey Benko, president and CTO at BLT Global Ventures. Other highlights include:

  1. Google released a new real-time messaging service, Google Cloud Pub/Sub. But what exactly does it bring to the market? "You can certainly use the integration systems," Linthicum said. "Everyone has a cloud-based system these days, but having one native, embedded in the platform, I think is going to provide them with an advantage."

    Is this a move to get more applications to the cloud or another potential moneymaker for Google? "Well, getting more applications in the cloud is making more money, eventually, for Google," Benko said. "That very well could be their strategy here."

    How does this affect Google's cloud market standing? "Google is in third place and I think they know it … Google is actually closing the gap in terms of rate of growth, so their rate of growth is increasing, where Amazon is decreasing and Microsoft is kind of holding steady," Linthicum said. "Google is trying to fill in all the basic pieces … This is kind of another brick in the building that these guys are building right now." (2:28-7:24)

  2. Can Alibaba succeed in the U.S. cloud market? "When it comes to new entries into this market in the United States, I think they're one of the best positioned because they're big," Benko said. "They don't have a very big presence in the United States, but they're huge around the world."

    Is the U.S. important to Alibaba's overall cloud success? "If they're going to get into the cloud business, they're going to have to offer services in multiple regions," Benko said. "Even if they have a bunch of companies that utilize their services in China, they're still going to need a U.S. presence."

    Do AWS, Microsoft and Google have the U.S. market locked up? "It's very difficult for new entrants -- especially the smaller players -- to enter this market. But when it comes to Alibaba, they're a big dog," Benko said. (7:25-14:20)

  3. Linthicum and Benko discussed the importance of a cloud exit strategy. "It's an ever-evolving field and you don't want to get yourself stuck in one particular cloud provider," Benko said.

    Control is also critical when planning a cloud project. "I think that's what people are looking for -- to gain back control over data," Linthicum said.

    What else should enterprises consider with cloud? "Be careful about choosing any cloud-based system that doesn't appropriate API or access to your data," Benko said. (14:21-22:18)

Next Steps

Choosing the best cloud provider for you

Cloud market requires a new IT budget approach

IBM makes waves in hybrid cloud market

This was last published in March 2015

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Obviously, coming in once other providers have established a large market share poses a problem. As the article mentions, their size is certainly beneficial to sustainability of their effort to crack the market, but I think it really depends on what they can offer that the other providers can’t, what they can do better than the other providers, and what pricing they can offer, etc.
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I think it'll be an uphill climb. US consumers are wary of Chinese offerings (that they know about).
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