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!


Unknown said...

Any chance you including JINSPIRED within your list of fabric mgmt/mon solutions or within the billing under a metering sub-category. Billing != Metering.

The following link is a good starting point to what our solution offers to cloud computing based applications and services. There are links at the end of this page with further information some more technical than most would be accustomed to.



Peter Laird said...

Thanks William. I knew of JInspired, but thought it was a monitoring/troubleshooting/performance tool of the likes of Wily. Looking at the product details, it looks interesting. Thanks for calling it out.

Unknown said...

Seems JumpBox is an obvious choice for inclusion under Virtual Appliances. If you want a collection of pre-built components for virtualization and cloud deployment. http://www.jumpbox.com

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Anonymous said...

Nothing about ATMOS from EMC? They can be affilliated with the public, private, hosted, and data grid. Chad Sakac may have something to say concerning the VMWare implementation into a data grid or compute cloud.

Luttinger said...

You might want to have a look at www.magicsoftware.com concerning both Cloud Enabled Application Platforms (uniPaaS) and SaaS Integration (iBOLT)

Chandra Tewary said...

Thanks Peter. Good piece of work. You may like this one: http://www.scribd.com/doc/12441617/Above-the-Cloudsa-Berkeley-View-of-Cloud-Computing

Unknown said...

Wondering why 'WOLF Frameworks' is not listed under Business Users Platform-as-a-Service list??? I am running one commercial application using their framework for 12 internal users and must say it is impressive!

Unknown said...

I don't see WOLF Frameworks listed under the business users PaaS segment. Very impressive platform, I am running a single commercial application for 10 plus users - developed using their PaaS.

Shannon Hiller said...

Would you be interested, or would know of a local speaker for a Las Vegas tech group, to speak about cloud computing? I need someone for Aug 19 at noon. shiller@pbtk.com Thanks!

Guven Kip said...

Hi Peter,

Thank you for such a blog, it is very informative.

You may want to add Interneer under the Dev. Platform.

Interneer is a manufacturer of BPM Software, which is offered as SaaS. You may check them out at www.interneer.com


David said...

Glad to read this post. After read the title i thought what is cloud computing !!! and i got excitement to read the hole topic seriously.


SM Rana said...

There are some solutions that could span more than one category. For example, the HyperOffice online collaboration software , acts as a collaboration application like Google Apps, but some of its features can be used as a database application development tool like Caspio.

Unknown said...

Hi Peter, thanks for including the IP Applications product in your taxonomy. I'm still amazed how many of our customers and prospects have seen us in the taxonomy. The growth of our SaaS and cloud billing business led us to launch a new brand. IP Applications is now Monexa.

Ashish said...

Great Map Peter ! Just one minor thing. Terracotta is a better fit DataGrid section, with its Ehcache offering. Though Terracotta can fit in compute grid as well, but Distributed caching is one of it best known features.


Paucus3d said...

You should include Jumpbox and Bitnami, two providers of pre-build virtual machine images you can run locally or in the cloud. These provide a middle-ground between PaaS and IaaS...

Sendhil Kumar R said...

Thank you Peter for the excellent post. I posted a orthogonal visualization of your vendor taxonomy (some of the taxonomy i am used to is different and I aligned your visualization with my understanding of the cloud service models) in my blog here.


Debbie said...

Noticed the CloudShare Virtual Labs is missing in the list above.