Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cloud Computing Taxonomy at Interop Las Vegas, May 2009

If you have read my blog in the past, you will know that my schtick in covering the Cloud Computing and SaaS space is taxonomies. I have created a number of them, and have been an invited speaker to talk about them. Here are a couple of examples from the past:

Peter at Enterprise Cloud Summit

Yesterday, I spoke on the topic of taxonomies at Enterprise Cloud Summit, a conference within a conference at Interop Las Vegas. I was impressed by the turnout despite the economy – Alistair Croll did a great job putting together a great speaker list which in turn drove a lot of traffic into the sessions. My session went early on the first day, so it was my job to setup the landscape of the Cloud Computing industry. The taxonomy was perfect for that task.
Cloud Summit

May 2009 Cloud Computing Taxonomy

In support of my speaking at Interop, I have updated my Cloud Computing taxonomy. I have restructured the buckets a bit since the last time, and of course I have added some new vendors that have come on the scene. I have also removed a couple of solutions that have since exited (or have appeared to exit) the market – Coghead, Skemma, and Mule OnDemand. Cassatt, while not done yet, is marked with an asterisk to indicate its current status.
A few additional notes about the construction of this map:
  • There is a size limit, so not every vendor in every bucket can be covered. I include what I think are the major players, and include others as space allows
  • Some vendors could fit in multiple buckets, but generally I place the vendor in their main area expertise only
  • There are several categoris – hardware, virtualization, system integrators – that I don’t include at all. I find that they are spaces that deserve entire maps on their own.
  • News rolls in every day – AT&T just announced a Cloud storage solution. Please add a comment if you see a vendor that is missing that you feel should be included.
  • Some of these “vendors” are not actually vendors – some are open source solutions.
And a final word before presenting the map – I always recommend a different source for those who want to see a more exhaustive list of vendors in this space. Jeff Kaplan of THINKStrategies has created a SaaS Showplace which is an exhaustive catalog of vendors.
Cloud Taxonomy April 2009_final
(Click on the image for a larger version)

Descriptions of the Buckets:

To provide some insight into what each bucket means, listed below are descriptions.


  • Public Clouds – the poster children of Cloud Computing. These vendors offer computers as a service. If you need 50 computers in 15 minutes, these guys will take care of that. Differentiators include the provisioning model (virtualized instances vs. actual machines) and the host OS versions that are supported.
  • Private Clouds – these solutions help enterprises build private clouds within the firewall. If privacy and control is a big concern, or you want to increase utilization in an existing data center, a private cloud may be what you want.
  • Compute and Data Grids – while these solutions are also useful outside of a cloud, they can play an important role for applications that are deployed within a cloud. The key difference with Cloud applications from traditional on-premise applications is in how they must scale. With an on-premise application, you can scale vertically when the load gets too high – by buying a bigger machine. In the cloud, applications must scale horizontally – by adding more machines in a cluster. Compute and Data Grid products can help achieve horizontal scalability.
  • Virtualization and Appliances – when deploying OS stacks to public and private clouds, you will find it helpful to have a library of virtualized OS images. The vendors in these buckets will help in this area. Also, depending on the cloud being used, any number of Virtualization technologies will be used.


  • Business User Platforms – these platforms are cloud based application development environments. The focus of these platforms are on non-programmers as the application developers. To make this happen, these platforms offer rich visual tools to enable the developers to define data models and application logic. The differentiators for these platforms are their features – which is important to investigate during software selection as there is no coding allowed, so developers cannot code around feature outages.
  • Developer Platforms – these platforms are cloud based application development environments that support custom coding. Developers can build highly customized applications with these platforms, without having to worry about scalability, OS configuration, load balancing, operations, etc as they would with a public cloud offering. The differentiators for these platforms include the supported programming languages (Java, python, custom, etc), and data storage capabilities (RDMBS, key-value stores, etc).


  • Storage – these vendors offer hosted storage that are API accessible. Meaning, any application can get/set objects into these Cloud storage solutions. The solutions vary in the supported data access models – key-value stores, file stores, etc.
  • Integration – solutions that provide integration facilities between multiple Cloud applications, or Cloud applications with on-premise applications. Major features offered are: messaging queues, business process modeling (BPM), and application adapters (like NetSuite adapter, SAP adapter).
  • Metering and Billing – building your own billing and invoicing system is highly discouraged. This is a great operation to outsource to a specialist. These vendors offer expertise in how to structure billing plans, plus all of the back office capabilities behind invoicing and collection. By outsourcing to one of these PCI compliant vendors, you will reduce the level of compliance your Cloud application will need to attain.
  • Security – The Cloud infrastructure and platform vendors must provide security, and so a base level can be assumed. But for value-add features, like application authorization features, encryption, and Single Sign On capabilities across multiple applications – look to these vendors.
  • Fabric Management – this is a space that evolves quickly, so you will need to keep up to date on new developments with these vendors. Generally, these vendors help you manage and deploy your application in the Cloud. This varies from features that allow you to design a virtual data center in a cloud, to auto-scaling an application when load increases, to monitoring Cloud servers to restart them if they fail.


  • SaaS – these vendors represent the ultimate end-game to all of this – Cloud based applications. There are thousands of them, and are traditionally known as Software as a Service (SaaS) applications. SaaS applications are available over the internet, are quick to provision a new account, are offered in a pay-as-you-go model, and allow some level of customization. NetSuite, Salesforce.com, Taleo, Concur, Workday and many others have established the space as a viable way to deliver software.

Vendor Links

Below are links to each of the vendors and solution depicted above.

Please Comment

I have found some of the vendors above via comments placed on earlier versions of the map. If you know of a solution that you feel should be included, please post a comment on the blog. I can’t promise I will add it (the map is size limited), but I would like to see other solutions. Thank you!

I’m Back, and OnDemand

September 15th, 2008. That was the date of my last blog post. What happened?

Where was Peter?

In short, I was off pursuing a different career path. When Oracle acquired BEA in May of 2008, I stopped work on the BEA SaaS platform. I returned to my roots in enterprise portals, and became architect of that product group at Oracle. I fought the good fight through the summer, but by September found I couldn’t maintain a presence in OnDemand. Instead, I focused on the myriad of topics related to Java application frameworks. My big authoring accomplishment of this period was my 152 page JSF whitepaper for WebLogic Portal. I would have blogged here about it, honest, but didn’t think you all would be interested. :)

Cloud Computing + Smart Grids, Peter’s New World

Last week, all of that changed. I left Oracle to join a startup that combines two of the hottest trends in technology – Cloud Computing and Smart Energy Grids. It is a bootstrapped startup (4+ years), is well funded and well connected,  and some guys I worked with for years are already over there. All in all, it was an obvious move for me to make.

My new title is Platform Architect of Tendril Networks. Tendril already has a Smart Grid SaaS platform up and running, and I will be helping expand the offering into a Smart Grid PaaS. Will explain more about that in later posts.

But what this means to you, my readers, is that I expect that my return to an engineering role with an OnDemand product will lead to more OnDemand blog posts. No promises (we all have seen the, “I haven’t blogged in a long time, getting back at it…” followed by many months of nothing), but that is my plan anyway.

What’s Next…

I am at the Enterprise Cloud Summit at Interop this week. I spoke yesterday, and will blog next about my presentation.