By Dexter Duncan
The latest IT craze for the last year or so is Cloud Computing. Some have called it the new frontier. The wild wild west is here and that usually means opportunity for new companies. Conferences on this topic are already in their second or third year and start-ups are getting venture capital funds (even during Global Financial Crisis) by playing in this space. Who are the teams playing in this space? And how many of them are Australia based?
Some of the most famous names in cloud computing are your everyday giants such as IBM, Microsoft and Sun Microsystems (now part of Oracle). And since one of the trends leading the change in IT is virtualization, the big names are EMC (VMWare) and Citrix Systems (XenServer). Then there are the giants leading the charge for Software as a Service (SaaS) – Salesforce.com and Google. Even Cisco has dipped their toe into the cloud by announcing their Unified Computing platform earlier in the year that seeks to change the way data centres are run and operated by eventually allowing Inter-cloud changes (with a moving IP address). The biggest name is also the most unlikely name and a good example of how you can turn business on it head by leveraging your investment in technology. Amazon, aka the bookseller, opened up its’ datacentres for business by introducing concept of selling compute and storage “on-demand”. This is often called Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and is foundation for turning capital expense (CapEx) and to more of a Operating Expense (OpEx) on corporate balance sheets.
Some of the newer companies are Nirvanix, 3Tera, Zoho, GoGrid, Appzero, Kaavo, Rightscale, Elastra, Engine Yard and Enomaly. Nirvanix does a subscription based service, GoGrid provides infrastructure as a Utility but similar to enterprise datacentre and Zoho provides desktop applications (Software as a Service). Most of the rest of the newer companies play in the Platform as a Service (PaaS) space which is growing at 160% annual growth rate (according to IDC, Gartner, AMR and William Blair & Co) to just around USD $9 to 10 Billion in 2012. (IDC puts total size of Cloud Computing market at USD $42 Billion by 2012.)
Here are a couple of video overviews on Cloud Computing. The first one is from GoGrid, so it has more of a Infrastructure as a Service perspective (excuse the American humor):
The second one is from Salesforce.com, so it has a Software as a Service perspective:
Some of the above have small outposts or large offices in Australia with folks like IBM, Microsoft and Cisco with long histories here. However, the most common cloud infrastructure services from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and others have their server farms mainly located in USA and Europe. Large Australia based companies like Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and others are not likely to store their data all the way in America. So any Cloud Computing strategy in the short term is likely to be a “private cloud”.
For a list of the “Top 150 companies in Cloud Computing”, Check out this list from Virtualization Journal –
You will note that no Australian companies are featured there. Some of the Australia companies that claim to offer VM (Virtual Machine) based CPU and storage rental services include Macquarie Telecom, Hostworks, Bulletproof Networks and another small one called Intelis Net. Telstra has a service called T-Suite for CRM and other services, but not much is known about it. The only company in Australia that seems to offer true Infrastructure as a Service is Ultra Serve with their Rejila offering.
Taking a look at some of the places where small (start-ups) might be listed, there are a few listed (in Australia) that are focused in this growing market. The application marketplace website (www.applicationmarketplace.com.au) list about 60 companies offering Software as a Service. Outside of this list, there are three software start-ups in Australia that have cloud computing solutions. One is Expanz (see http://www.expanz.com) who provide (ERP and CRM) software to the desktop without a browser. The second is Manjrasoft (www.manjrasoft.com) who provide an applications platform for accelerating applications and building cloud computing networks based on .NET platform. The third is Majitek who recently received investment from Cisco, but also have office in Dubai (http://www.majitek.com).
None of these Australia based organisations have made it to the world stage in terms of publicity, revenue and press. The only new-age software company (plays in Web 2.0 space) with a great global business, that is well known with great revenue stream is Atlassian. Atlassian (www.atlassian.com) have organically grown their s0cial networking Wiki business into a global business of $40 million. But where are the rest? Australia has great ingenuity and deep sense of humour that should allow us to grace the world stage of new technology. If you know other Australian companies that are involved in Cloud Computing globally, let me know.
[Dexter Duncan does consulting for Manjrasoft Pty Ltd and other software companies. Contact at firstname.lastname@example.org]