Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Business of Cloud Computing is Booming

Getting a feel for the pulse of Cloud Computing can be a difficult endeavor. According to recent Google search trends "Cloud Computing" is at an all time high in terms of raw search queries. This has also been confirmed by analysts reports such as Gartner's Hype Cycle which shows Cloud computing at what they aptly describe as the peak of inflated expectations. For me tools like Google Trends & Google Insights helps shed light on Cloud Computing from a search engine point a view. But sadly does little in translating into actual financial facts and figures - the stuff that actually matters.

Trying to look beyond the hype and see if people are actually making money or getting work done should be the real litmus test in terms of gauging the business opportunity for cloud computing -- and at the end of the day it's probably a better statistic. But then again these sorts of "real world" revenue & sales pipeline stats are not nearly as easy to get. So I thought I'd take a moment, and discuss some of the recent success we've seen in our segment of the cloud world.

Generally, the Fall tends to be the hot sales season in IT where IT folks are coming back from summer vacations with budgets that must be spent before the end of the year. So this time of year does act as a kind of predictor of future sales opportunities. To put it simply, in IT if you can't sell your product or service in the Fall, you're probably not going to sell at all. This is as true in Cloud Computing as it is in any other area of information technology.

When speaking to the opportunity for cloud computing, I can only speak from my vantage point as a Cloud Service Provider enablement platform vendor. At Enomaly we specifically target service providers and hosting firms who are looking to roll out public "EC2" like infrastructure as a service. From our point of view it has become increasingly clear that any hosting firms that don't have cloud service strategies or offerings in place are quickly beginning to see huge revenue erosion. This has caused a significant influx of interest from a wide variety of hosting related companies that run the gamut from smaller VPS style resellers to multi-national telecommunication companies and everything in between.

An analysis by Guy Rosen also sheds some light on the cloud opportunity in which he estimates that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is provisioning 50,000 EC2 server instances per day. A 50K/day run rate would imply a yearly total of over 18 million provisioned instances. Based on these numbers, one could surmise, that a significant portion of these 50k in EC2 instances are directly coming out of the pockets of traditional hosting and data centers. In the hosting space, this kind of cloud leakage has become a major issue. One need not do more then monitor traffic to amazon or other cloud providers to get an idea of potential revenue walking out the door.

As a fast growing self funded company we don't have the luxury of spending large amounts on our marketing and sales efforts. For the most part we rely on word mouth and organic search engine optimization for our inbound sales channel. Because we spend a grand total of $0.00 dollars on our marketing efforts, our organic website traffic / inbound sales inquires also acts as a kind of simple market research tool. Based on the this very unscientific research tool, interest in cloud platforms is booming.

Over the last few months something interesting has happened. We've seen interest in our cloud service provider platform grow from dozens of inquires a month to dozens per day. Again, I can't say if this is a broader trend or limited to our sector, but from our vantage it has never been a better time to be in cloud computing. I'm just curious if others are seeing similar levels of interest for their cloud related products and services. I for one certainly hope so, because the better we do collectively, the better we do individually.

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