Another Cloud Player…Let the Showdown Begin

Verizon has become the latest combatant in the cloud computing wars, as the company announced Computing as a Service offering today. Among the different aspects accompanying the announcement, I liked Verizon’s approach to tackling some of the issues arising around hosted clouds versus virtual environments, by building provisioning engines that give the customer control of their own subscription.

But I think cloud computing is offering a new opportunity at the same time, an opportunity that promises to do a better job of fulfilling the concept of telecom service providers doubling as infrastructure/app providers. With cloud computing, it’s a natural business for some of the larger providers simply because one of the big aspects of the cloud is not just computing but also bandwidth.

More importantly, with cloud computing the ability to offer a set of tools to integrate and expand the core offering is critical if telecoms are to tackle their regionalized positions…in other words, having the ability to geographically scale and customize their offerings will be made a lot easier via cloud computing than with older SaaS models.

But with this increased flexibility comes another player to a rapidly crowding market. Not only are telecom providers making the move to becoming infrastructure players, but also traditional enterprise infrastructure companies, such as Cisco, are in a perfect position to become cloud providers themselves. Then you have the application providers, such as us, as well.

It will be interesting to see how the showdown between service providers, infrastructure makers, and application providers plays out in the coming years, but for what it’s worth, I see the future being brightest for those companies that offer the most flexibility between private and public clouds.