IaaS Vendors’ Best Shot at Beating AWS? Work Like Amazon

Call me a cynic. After working as an industry analyst, first for IDC covering online retail, and then for ZapThink covering the Web Services and SOA markets, it’s easy to become cynical. After all, vendors are notoriously deficient in connecting their marketing with what their products actually can do, especially as a market is in the early, maturation phase. Vaporware integrated at the PowerPoint layer is the norm, and even today, no vendor can sell you SOA.

However, Cloud Computing, in particular Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), is a different kettle of fish entirely. There is one reason why the IaaS market is maturing differently from other markets in the past. That reason? Amazon Web Services (AWS).

After all, Amazon is an online bookstore who figured out how to build immense, horizontally scalable infrastructure to sell stuff online, and then figured, what the hell? Maybe we should sell services on this infrastructure as well. And IaaS was born.

What’s different about AWS compared to traditional vendors is they actually got this whole Cloud thing to work before they took it to market. And it still works, even as it grows exponentially. They turned the old market penetration strategy on its head: instead of idea ? vaporware ? marketing ? sales ? working product, they skipped vaporware altogether. Instead, their strategy was to get IaaS to work properly ? idea ? marketing ? sales.

The most important lesson here? They are the only IaaS provider to take this approach. Everybody else is still mired in the vaporware stage in one way or another. Sure, there are other IaaS players out there, trying to out-Amazon Amazon. But the best they can say is that their stuff works, you know, like Amazon. Except for all the vaporware bits we haven’t gotten quite right yet.

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