AWS vs. all? What the cloud world will look like in four years

Amazon has a stranglehold on the cloud market; but as services become more specialized, can other providers get a piece of the pie?

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The dominance of Amazon Web Services in the emerging cloud computing marketplace has many pondering what the cloud world will look like in the future. While many think Amazon Web Services will mimic the dominance of companies like Microsoft and IBM in the past, I'm not sure that AWS will follow that course.

So, what will the cloud world look like? I have some ideas, based upon current patterns of adoption.

Chart: Specialized cloud services

While the common belief is that Amazon will dominate most of these specialized spaces, other cloud providers will find a lucrative niche in these areas. Thus, the cloud computing marketplace will become more fragmented. New and existing cloud providers will focus on specific and specialized areas -- and that's not a bad thing.

New and existing cloud providers will focus on specific and specialized areas -- and that's not a bad thing.

This does not take away from the fact that the larger Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers, including AWS, Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace and others, won't continue to shape the marketplace. Indeed, you can count on AWS to easily be worth $100 billion or more in three to four years. However, with the entire market growing 100 times that size in four years, there is a lot of cloud computing value to go around. So, it won't be as much AWS versus the world, as AWS dominates a particular area of the market, with other solid contenders in that area as well.

In four years, the other aspect of the cloud market will focus so much on specific cloud areas that even the buzz word cloud computing may eventually lose its buzz word powers. Instead, cloud will be infrastructure services or platform services, and perhaps we'll have much less ambiguity as to what cloud computing really is. Right now, the cloud washing and confusion in this space is still ramped up.

Future-looking blogs are always a bit risky. I figure I'll see this one quoted back at me again in 2018. However, I'm pretty sure we'll see these kinds of market patterns emerge. Overall, I think it's good news for the cloud world.

About the author:
David "Dave" S. Linthicum is senior vice president of Cloud Technology Partners, and an internationally recognized cloud industry expert and thought leader. He is the author or co-author of 13 books on computing, including the best-selling Enterprise Application Integration. Linthicum keynotes at many leading technology conferences on cloud computing, SOA, enterprise application integration and enterprise architecture.

His latest book is Cloud Computing and SOA Convergence in Your Enterprise: A Step-by-Step Guide. His industry experience includes tenures as chief technology officer and CEO of several successful software companies, and upper-level management positions in Fortune 100 companies. In addition, he was an associate professor of computer science for eight years and continues to lecture at major technical colleges and universities, including the University of Virginia, Arizona State University and the University of Wisconsin.

This was first published in February 2014

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