Welcome to the Cloud by Mark Stone
Previous: Virtualization Meets SaaS
With AWS and EC2, Amazon is a pioneer in the area of cloud computing. As we have seen, though, many of the root ideas behind cloud computing go back more than a decade. Other companies have faced similar problems to Amazon's, and other companies have been working on different aspects of a solution for years.
Any company seriously exploring virtualization as a means to use computing resources more efficiently has a stake in the emerging cloud computing space. Especially those companies offering SaaS have a stake, since the combination of virtualization to deliver SaaS is a natural fit for cloud computing. Indeed, that would probably be my one sentence definition:
Cloud computing is virtualization used to deliver software as a service.
While most consumers don't think of themselves as cloud computing customers, Google is one of the biggest cloud computing players. If you are using Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, Picassa, or Google Calendar, just to name a few, then you are a Google Cloud computing customer. And Google has its own answer to EC2, in the form of Google App Engine.
Google has more of a consumer focus, and Amazon has more of a small business focus. Virtualization pioneer VMWare has more of an enterprise business focus. Coming from the other direction, SaaS pioneer Salesforce.com is also a cloud computing player.
Traditional technology companies have seen the trend to virtualization coming for a long time, and all the big players have moved quickly to compete in the cloud computing space:
What is less clear is whether any has the right long term business model.