Welcome!

Log Management Authors: Dana Gardner, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Article

Cloud Computing Expo: Introducing the Cloud Pyramid

I would like to propose a 'Cloud Pyramid' to help differentiate the various Cloud offerings out there.

This insightful post by Thorsten von Eicken recently got me thinking. The term “Cloud Computing” is much too vague. People want and need “slots” or “segments” where they can group things. This is how the mind operates through categorization and ordering. So, to possibly help with this, I would like to propose a “Cloud Pyramid” to help differentiate the various Cloud offerings out there.

Cloud Pyramid

There are other ways to display this hierarchy, however I elected to show it as a pyramid. For example, if one were to weight the graphic by the number of providers within each segment, the pyramid would be upside-down. The point here though is to show how these cloud segments build upon and are somewhat dependent upon each other. While they are directly related, they don’t require interdependence (e.g., a Cloud Application does not necessarily have to be built upon a Cloud Platform or Cloud Infrastructure). I would propose, however, that Cloud trends indicate that they will become more entwined over time.

Cloud Application

Within this part of the pyramid, users are truly restricted to only what the application is and can do. Some of the notable companies here are the public email providers (Gmail, Hotmail, Quicken Online, etc.). Almost any Software as a Service (SaaS) provider can be lumped into this group. Most retail consumers use the services within this Cloud. You get pre-defined functionality and you cannot much further than that. Applications are designed for ease of use and GTD (getting things done). SalesForce, a huge Cloud Application/SaaS provider that has led the way for hosted software, falls into this category as well, however, their force.com product does not. Even online banking offerings could be lumped into this group.

Characteristics:

  • Strengths
    • Sometimes free; easy to use; lots of different offerings; easy to access; good consumer adoption; proven business models
  • Weaknesses
    • You can only use the application as far as what it is designed for; no control or knowledge of underlying technology

Cloud Platforms

As you move further down the pyramid, you gain increased flexibility and control but your a still fairly restricted to what you can and cannot do. Within this Category things get more complicated to achieve. Products and companies like Google App Engine, Heroku, Mosso, Engine Yard, Joyent or force.com (SalesForce platform) fall into this segment. This category is becoming more congested with competitors, many of whom are trying to leverage the Cloud Infrastructure.

Characteristics:

  • Strengths
    • Great for developers with a particular niche target, upload a tightly configured applications and it simply “runs”; more control than a Cloud Application
  • Weaknesses
    • Restricted to the platform’s ability only; hard to work “outside the box”; sometimes dependant on Cloud Infrastructure providers

Cloud Infrastructure

At the bottom of the pyramid are the infrastructure providers like Amazon’s EC2, GoGrid, RightScale and Linode. Companies providing infrastructure enable Cloud Platforms and Cloud Applications. Most companies within this segment operate their own infrastructure, allowing them to provide more features, services and control than others within the pyramid. And at this foundation level, GoGrid offers infrastructure in the form of both Linux and Windows, load-balancing, and storage. Some Infrastructure providers may leverage others within the space in order to provide competitive viability as well.

Characteristics:

  • Strengths
    • Offers full control of server infrastructure; not confined to “containers” or “applications” or restrictive instances
  • Weaknesses
    • Sometimes comes with a price premium; infrastructure offerings still being built out

This post is open to discussion! My questions, what do YOU consider to be good examples of each Cloud Category? Can Cloud Computing be broken down into the ones listed above? What segment has been omitted and why do you think it is that way?

Lastly, for a humorous analysis of all of this, take a look a John M Willis’ post “Is Everyone an aaS?” which, in a tongue-in-cheek way, puts it all into perspective.

More Stories By Michael Sheehan

Michael Sheehan is the Technology Evangelist for Cloud Computing Infrastructure provider GoGrid and ServePath and is an avid technology pundit. GoGrid is the cloud hosting division of ServePath Dedicated Hosting, a company with extensive expertise and experience in web hosting infrastructure. Follow him on Twitter.

Comments (6) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
ericnovikoff 03/29/09 12:17:00 PM EDT

I've seen this pyramid expressed in a number of ways. Being a cloud computing provider myself (on the Infrastructure layer) I realize that looking at it from the provider's viewpoint misses a critical dimension: what the customer is actually trying to purchase. Today's offerings are still aimed far too restrictively at programmers and startups, and miss what enterprises are looking for.

On the Application level, the customer is looking to purchase functionality. Many SaaS providers forget this and offer software licenses instead. SaaS is not boxed software! Looking at it that way just frustrates the customer (me included!)

On the Platform level, the customer is looking to buy time and cost savings in deploying an application, and cares less about control, scalability, or perhaps long-term cost. Those providers that get this offer a suite of services that truly make a difference.

On the infrastructure level, the customer is looking to buy computing - something they might traditionally have gotten from an IT department. Despite claims of the commoditization of computing driving cloud services, customers actually have specific needs to run certain software, achieve defined uptime and security requirements, reach performance goals, and of course cost goals. The variety of these goals means that there is far more room for cloud computing services that address these needs than the services which have been introduced so far. To take advantage of these options, customers need the services to be packaged with management functionality and services that provides the value they seek, not just raw CPU cycles.

-Eric
http://www.computingutility.com

Scott 07/17/08 07:29:01 PM EDT

Joyent is an infrastructure provider.

Kevin Jackson 07/15/08 11:32:55 AM EDT

Your comments are very similar to some other views. See

http://kevinljackson.blogspot.com/2008/07/my-views-on-classification-of-...

When asked this question, I first describe three layers:

Layer 1 - Hardware virtualization - This is the "bare metal" layer of storage and CPU virtualization
Layer 2 - Application virtualization - This is when you use web services or APIs to provide a specific function or capability.
Layer 3 - Process virtualization - This is when you string web services and APIs together to deliver value (function or capability) to an end user
Different infrastructure terms can then be used to describe how these layers are put together:

Layer 1 is grid computing, utility computing or IaaS. The specific descriptive term is a function of the business model used to deliver the capability
Layer 1 delivered with layer 2 is PaaS. A developer uses the platform services or APIs to create value for an end user
Layer 1 delivered with a software application is SaaS
When Layer 2 and Layer 3 are designed with web services and layered on top of a hardware infrastructure (virtualized or not), you have a Service Oriented Architecture
Layer 1, 2 and 3 delivered with services and/or APIs already organized in workflows and delivering value to an end user is Cloud Computing.

Michael Sheehan 07/14/08 11:49:16 AM EDT

@ Cloud Pyramid
Feel free to use the analogy. My original post is at [http://blog.gogrid.com/2008/06/24/the-cloud-pyramid/] .

-Michael

Grisomd Trier 07/14/08 10:06:42 AM EDT

Consumers of cloud computing services purchase computing capacity on-demand and are not generally concerned with the underlying technologies used to achieve the increase in server capability.

Cloud Pyramid 07/14/08 08:16:08 AM EDT

Useful typology indeed. I am going to use this if I may in training...

@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
Organizations planning enterprise data center consolidation and modernization projects are faced with a challenging, costly reality. Requirements to deploy modern, cloud-native applications simultaneously with traditional client/server applications are almost impossible to achieve with hardware-centric enterprise infrastructure. Compute and network infrastructure are fast moving down a software-defined path, but storage has been a laggard. Until now.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that the upcoming DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO New York event will feature 10 companies from Poland to participate at the "Poland Digital Transformation Pavilion" on November 12-13, 2018.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
In an era of historic innovation fueled by unprecedented access to data and technology, the low cost and risk of entering new markets has leveled the playing field for business. Today, any ambitious innovator can easily introduce a new application or product that can reinvent business models and transform the client experience. In their Day 2 Keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Mercer Rowe, IBM Vice President of Strategic Alliances, and Raejeanne Skillern, Intel Vice President of Data Center Group and ...
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smart...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
We are seeing a major migration of enterprises applications to the cloud. As cloud and business use of real time applications accelerate, legacy networks are no longer able to architecturally support cloud adoption and deliver the performance and security required by highly distributed enterprises. These outdated solutions have become more costly and complicated to implement, install, manage, and maintain.SD-WAN offers unlimited capabilities for accessing the benefits of the cloud and Internet. ...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.