Monday, September 8, 2008

Visual Map of the Cloud Computing/SaaS/PaaS Markets: September 2008 Update

NOTE, New Version Available:

This version of the map is now outdated. I have released a new version of this map for Enterprise Cloud Summit at Interop Las Vegas. Follow this link for the latest version.

Interop NYC 2008

Four months ago, Kent Dickson and I created a visual map of the Cloud, SaaS and PaaS industry. It proved to be a popular item - we got a lot of comments and continue to see traffic to my blog page. I was long overdue to create a second version - comments needed to be integrated, and the industry has changed enough to warrant a round of updates. This blog entry contains an updated version of the map.
The timing is no accident. I will be speaking at the Interop NYC 2008 conference on September 15-19. I will be presenting on the topic of Cloud Taxonomy. My slide deck was submitted last month, but I want to have a fresh version of this taxonomy to present. Thus, the tyranny of the deadline has forced my hand.

Defining the Markets

In the first version of the map, the players were divided into four major buckets (from the bottom up):
  • Cloud Computing
  • Platform as a Service (PaaS)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Core Cloud Services
In the intervening months, a number of others have attempted to dissect the industry into a taxonomy. Robert Anderson came closest to our original breakdown by identifying three major buckets in his blog:image
I like the labels on the bottom two buckets, especially getting away from the PaaS label in favor of Platform. However, I don't agree on the top, as Software is too generic of a word. I prefer Applications for that bucket. Also, I believe a fourth bucket is necessary, to include a number of standalone components that are built on the platforms but are not applications. We called these Core Cloud Services in the first version, and I have labeled the bucket just Services this time around.
The updated stack that I will use in the taxonomy is as follows (starting at the bottom):
  • Infrastructure:  the core computing resources and network fabric for the cloud deployment
  • Platform: the software infrastructure that allows sys admins and developers to deploy an app to the cloud
  • Services: additional services that can be woven into the cloud app, such as billing, storage, integration
  • Applications: the ultimate cloud product - the actual cloud based application that the user touches. These number in the thousands.
You will note that the map is annotated with these buckets, with "1" denoting Infrastructure, and so on.

The Visual Industry Map

Below is the visual map as promised. You will find a larger version hosted here. An explanation of each category and a full clickable URL list of the solutions is offered below the map.
Please post comments with your feedback - they are very much appreciated. As before, there is no hope for this map to be comprehensive. I have selected a good group of vendors, but of course there are others that could have been placed on the map. My research notes are here, and they may explain why a particular vendor was left off.
What worked well before was for commenters to log the omissions, which I can evaluate and remedy in a later version. Also, Jeff Kaplan at THINKStrategies has created a SaaS Showplace database that is far more comprehensive.
Now, to the point, the map as promised:


Reference Vendor List

The following is the clickable list of each vendor displayed above.

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friarminor said...

Congratulations on this updated iteration, Peter!

Wish you more patience as the list continues to expand and evolve and your diagrams will not just be a visual representation but also a historical map of the cloud industry.

Morph Labs

Guy said...


Nice! I wonder if/where you have a place for transactions. Now I don't mean the classical ACID-all-over-the place, rather the following:

1. short ACID steps to process queued requests with exactly-once guarantees (see here)

2. compensating transactions such as TCC


timf said...

Next to Enomalism, you could add Nimbus, a featureful, open source framework for hosting what you're calling "private clouds". Thanks.

Bob Kohn said...

Thanks for a very useful visual map!

Emerging on the SaaS scene is a layer of vertical market SaaS applications, some based on existing horizontal applications and some not.

For example, RoyaltyShare, at, provides web-based content delivery, digital sales management, and royalty processing to record companies and other entertainment firms, all from an integrated SaaS platform.

Ultimately, the most useful SaaS applications may be those that come embodied with the business rules (and potential business rule alternatives) of the client--in RoyaltyShare's case, the highly complex, content, meta-data, transaction, and royalty split rules of the music, film, and book publishing businesses.

Bob Kohn
Chairman & CEO
RoyaltyShare, Inc.

Unknown said...


Nicely done! At some point it may make sense to add in the tooling to enable and manage the cloud infrastructure(monitoring, dynamic provisioning, service desk automation, workload automation, etc.).


Navindra said...

You should add a category for network infra vendors. Example Cisco, EMC, Brocade, etc

Peter Laird said...

Thanks for the feedback - it is much appreciated.

I am hesitant to dive too deep into the virtualization, grid, network infrastructure vendors as I need to find a way to keep the map manageable. But I will take a look in these areas to see if any new buckets make sense.


Alok K Patel said...

Great job! I recommend adding a category "Cloud Testing" under value-add services.

One of the companies which company to mind is CloudTest (heard about them during AWS startup camp last week).


kmunse said...

Great post and fantastic visual map. So many can't really get their head around the "cloud computing" concept but you have done a fabulous job explaining it in diagram form. thanks you too!

Unknown said...


Funny, I like the term "Applications" better than "Software" too. I decided to let that sleeping dog lie. I actually liked the old terminology better: a hosted application was delivered by an "Application Service Provider".

Robert W. Anderson

Unknown said...

Hi Peter,
Still thinking about how Microsoft's SaaS Applications fit in the Applications category... Any insight?

Kevin L. Jackson said...

Excellent work once again!! When will you start to add "Cloud Integrators"? As a federal system integrator, Dataline specializes in using our information assurance and secure networking expertise to leverage available cloud based infrastructures and offerings. Where do we fit on your map?

Unknown said...

Peter - As CEO of Itensil, you can imagine my disappointment when I saw that you removed us from the updates map. I'm confident that on further examination you'll agree we belong in your update. Itensil is the only process-centric platfrom that I am aware of that integrates the 3 key requirements for dynamic enterprise team applictions: ad hoc collaboration, reusable workflow, and data persistence across multiple processes.

Our customers use 'discovery learning' methods, 100% in the cloud, in real time as they brainstorm to create sophisticated lifecycle applications in marketing, outsourcing, sales management, emergency response and similar wide-ranging business functions.

A recent report from Forrester Research says this about Itensil: "The concept is novel and creative; consider Itensil if you want to experiment with ways to converge ad hoc work with structured processes, or if you are looking for a tool that combines right-brained and left-brained work styles."

I look forward to your reinstatement of Itensil soon. In the meantime, I invite you and your readers to visit our website and judge our merits for yourself.

Peter Laird said...

Thanks everyone for your comments - I am working through all of the feedback both here and on the Google Groups. Hope to post a consolidated reply this week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter,
Good job it is very complet and complex directory. Congratulations
I am working in the same way adding features to each tools. You can see my work in
From my point view there is another important bucket between iaas and paas. You can see what I say you at the diagram .
On the other hand, I think is a paas on "rackspace virtualization" that will be a iaas at the same level than Amazon.

Thank you very much for your work.
Best Regards.

Unknown said...

Hi Peter - great summary. You might want to add Skytap under the private clouds. See InformationWeek top 20 cloud startups to follow for info:

Unknown said...

Very interesting Peter, here's something more for your cloud map.

Check out Wolf Platform as a Service - - These guys are even giving the flexibility of having the data posted in our own database instead of saving it on the cloud. They have enbaled the beta release for IE only :(, but hey -- the application is sitting in a cloud, designer in the cloud, UI is browser generated (AJAX / Javascript) & data in our secured database and have exposed English like business rules to manage all of them together including external web services calls. The entire Platform has a bottom up look and feel & is completely code free configurable way of software dvlpment. It's RIA -XML backend - web apps with ready web services. Works good for now, has some bugs - but takes care of my lock-in worries.

Unknown said...

Hi Peter,

Good directory! But I can not see any pictures in your posts - because you put the pictures on another web site, and that site is in black list of company firewall.


Unknown said...

Peter, excellent of you to create the mind map of the SaaS ecosystem.

May I ask why you left out the application development service providers?

Scio Consulting has made a living for the last 3 years building SaaS apps for small and medium size clients.

Anonymous said...

Thanks ur information

it very useful

Unknown said...

Hi peter, your work is really interesting and meet mine in someways. I am developping a website to enable webusers to map, edit and share their browses. Thus a community of webuser could draw the living of the web. Actually you can swing by the website

Ollie said...

As the first SEAP on the Sun Cloud as announced at this year's JavaOne and with our SEAP on Amazon using IBM AMIs as well as customers running application On OpSource as well as in-house, we would like to be included in your list.

Michael "Ollie" Oliver
CTO Corent Technology

RNB Research said...

I appreciate the labor you have put in developing this blog. Nice and informative.

Jorge Hontoria said...

Thank you very much for your work.
Best Regards.