As technology enthusiasts we often like to envision and discuss the future of the Internet. With this in mind, one of the hot concepts that we’ve seen recently has been that of “cloud computing”; the idea of an infrastructure being built upon a dynamic and scalable system, often-times hosted by a third-party. Among other things, people like the concept of cloud computing because it falls under the mental state of “out of site; out of mind”, meaning one can use a cloud-based system with very little worry in regards to its stability or reliability.
Moreover, small/medium businesses and large enterprises alike see great potential in “the cloud” because in many cases they can reduce their overhead by taking advantage of cost-effective and worry-free infrastructures. Not only does this make cloud computing a promising market for both consumers and businesses, but many larger-scale web applications and services have the ability to simplify their workload by choosing third-party cloud-based systems.
But this raises the question; who is going to benefit the most from the cloud revolution? Trust me, I’ve read many articles that offer a dog and pony show of sorts and ultimately sum up the conclusion that “consumers” will see the greatest benefit from the cloud. Knowing how boring and repetitive this discussion can be, I’m not going to bore you with the consumer theory. But really; who stands to profit the most from the cloud?
You see, as larger and more popular websites, services, and portals come about, they are going to need a system to grow on. The next Facebook can’t be expected to be run from a mediocre non-scalable platform, after all. That alone would put a damper on any prospective venture. Rather, the websites of the future are going to look at outside solutions to manage their infrastructures so that they can focus on their actual services instead of having to deal with servers whatnot.
Companies like Google and Amazon have solutions in place such as App Engine and EC2, respectively. Both solutions are great candidates for the Internet services of tomorrow, but the fact of the matter is that neither has become a “standard” in terms of development. This, I think, is something that we’ll see change as time progresses and one system or another becomes more of a de-facto.
But who will it be? Who’s going to take the cake and become the go-to infrastructure for large-scale websites and web services?
Personally, my money is with Google; not necessarily because they develop or maintain a better system than their competitors, but rather because they are a very well trusted name in the computing and Internet industries. Google even has a number of consumer-focused cloud-based services of their own (Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, etc, etc.), so someone looking at the App Engine and Google’s infrastructure could rest assured that their “brainchildren” would be in good hands.
Sure, this is a status quo of sorts because Google’s potential to dominate the industry comes as a direct result of their existing dominance, but I honestly think that their experience and position will make them the strongest competitor.
For Google, I believe that this is a route worth pursuing. Think about it. Google’s services aren’t always going to be seen as “the best of the best” like they are today. By focusing on more independent development, the company can ensure their long-term success by guaranteeing that when the next big web service comes out they’ll be guaranteed a “piece of the action” regardless of if they developed it themselves or not.
But, this is after all just a guess. I’m not saying that Google is guaranteed to be successful in this up and coming field, and it would warm my heart to see a “new” company rise up by anchoring into this relatively uncharted business.