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Who will be AWS competition when everyone wants to be Amazon's friend?

As Amazon widens its partner ecosystem, David Linthicum explores its competition, as well as PaaS' place in the debate.

Despite being invited to numerous "secret parties" at the cloud conference, neither Dave Linthicum nor his returning guest Lori MacVittie attended AWS re:Invent -- but that doesn't mean they don't have opinions on the news that came out of Las Vegas. MacVittie, senior product manager for emerging technologies with F5 Networks, and Linthicum begin by discussing the commercial release of Cloud Foundry and move to finding uncanny similarities between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft circa 20 years ago.

MacVittie and Linthicum then delve into their thoughts on the cloud computing market this year and moving forward, and on which vendors they believe have the best opportunity to hold a candle to AWS. They end by circling back and discussing Platform as a Service (PaaS) and its place in the market. Topics include:

1. The Pivotal Initiative, which spun out of VMware, made CloudFoundry commercially available last week. What are its chances of catching on in the market? It's Pivotal's aim to spark widespread adoption of PaaS, but will PaaS get an uptake in the enterprise? MacVittie and Linthicum discuss CloudFoundry's issues, particularly performance questions over its abstraction layer. VMware hasn't had a great cloud story or strategy so far, according to Linthicum, so is Pivotal limited in its possibilities with this core technology? While Amazon has IaaS tied up, is the PaaS market still up for grabs?

2. At re:Invent, AWS announced new partners entering its ecosystem, including CloudBees and StackDriver, and experts claim the provider bears a resemblance to Microsoft 20 years ago with its focus on partnerships. We're at the point, says Linthicum, where we are paying homage to AWS, which is building an economy unto itself, and everyone wants to be partners because "there's gold in those hills." And partners are assisting AWS in rounding out its cloud stack. Can anyone stop Amazon at this point? Dissenting opinions say IBM will eventually dominate the market -- could this be possible? Linthicum makes a case that Google and Microsoft, even Rackspace, are bigger competitors than IBM, but does MacVittie disagree? Which vendor most "gets" the enterprise?

3. The global PaaS market is set to rise from around $3 billion today to more than $17 billion in 2017, says IDC. Linthicum loves IDC because they're always so positive, but says we should probably cut that number in half to be realistic. Will PaaS be as pervasive as these projections?


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