REPAMA Segment Analysis Study into Cloud Computing – Part 1 Taxonomy

Man with a magnifying glassIn putting together our REPAMA analysis into the go-to-market strategies of the vendors in the cloud computing space, we first must arrive at an agreed segmentation of the market. This blog documents that process.

OK so as I mentioned here, I am going to carry out a series of REPAMA Segment Analysis Studies into the cloud computing market. The desired end product is a series of reverse-engineered go-to-market strategies for a set of vendors in each of the categories within the cloud computing market. But first I need to decide on the segmentation of the various technical offers in the cloud computing space.  After that I need to decide which vendors fit into each of the different proposition segments. This series of blogs will capture my journey through this analysis.

Where to start? Well I thought that my colleagues Steve Craggs and Ronan Bradley at Lustratus Research (the market analyst part of Lustratus) would be able to give me a definitive answer on the segmentation of the cloud computing market but as Steve told me, right now there isn’t a universally agreed way of describing the various categories of propositions under the cloud computing banner. Whilst he feels their are some obvious high-level classifications, under there things are a bit grey.

The problem is two-fold. Firstly, it appears that as the cloud computing market is currently at an early stage (albeit using what now are some pretty mature technologies); the propositions have grown, merged, change direction and are only now starting to find live customers amongst enterprises; so categorisation has proved difficult.  Secondly, the analysts involved in this space each has a vested interest in classifying the market on their terms and importantly in a different way to their analyst competitors – a game they will play until the market matures.

So I decided that I would capture the opinion of the great and the good of analysts and vendors alike and come up with our own classification. And in doing this a number of existing works stood out.

1. Peter Lairds – On-Demand Blog Classification

Peter Laird’s “Laird On-Demand blog“, and in particular this post, documents his efforts to arrive at a market taxonomy for Cloud Computing together with a nascent list of the vendors that fit into each category. As you can see from the diagram on the right, Peter is a fellow fan of mind mapping (it’s how Lustratus collects, collates and generally makes sense of the raw data behind the REPAMA studies), his classification has a simplistic appeal that I like.

At the highest level Peter divides the cloud market into

  • Infrastructure
  • Platform
  • Services
  • Applications

I feel that this a good way of looking at the cloud market and one that works well for my purposes. I also like the way Peter has classified private and public cloud seperately.  From the perspective of the REPAMA analysis I will be conducting, this is an important distinction between the various vendors’ propositions. (This despite the fact that the same software and vendors may appear in both categories).

OpenCrowd Cloud Taxonomy

2. OpenCrowd Taxonomy

Another interesting approach is provided by OpenCrowd.  I don’t know OpenCrowd but they appear to be a RIA vendor but also deep thinkers who really understand the major trends in the markets in which they compete. They’ve looked at cloud computing and have come up with a very thorough classification as shown in the diagram on the right.

They see the market also categorised into 4 high-level categories:

  • Infrastructure Services
  • Cloud Software
  • Platform Services
  • Software Services

OpenCrowd has also gone to considerable effort to sub-categorise these high-level categories and also to identify specific vendors associated with those sub-categories. Again I like this approach for its thoroughness although having looked at some of the vendors in each of the categories, its clear that they have been placed there/asked to be placed there simply because they want to bask in the reflected glory of the cloud computing market, as opposed to having a dedicated or specific cloud focus.

Christofer Hoff's Cloud Taxonomy Ontology_v153. Christofer Hoff’s Cloud Model

Finally, a more technical classification comes from Christofer Hoff in his highly entertaining and incredibly well thought out security-focused blog – Rational Survivability. In this entry Hoff publishes his architectural model which appears to be largely aimed at understanding the interaction, dependencies and relationships between the architectural components in a cloud architecture from a security perspective.

It’s useful to have an architectural model to work with as this helps to validate that the vendor-led offers into the cloud market as described above, have some basis in fact. Whilst it won’t figure in my market-led classifications I have added it here for completeness.

So I’m still in the process of collecting my ideas and I’d like to take bit of 1. and 2. above and merge them into something that better reflects the vendors’ perspectives of how they take their products to market. I also need to first ensure that both Peter and OpenCrowd are comfortable with me doing that. The model I arrive at will necessarily be far simplified too as for the purposes of my vendor to vendor comparisons, I need to ensure that I group vendors together that compete even if they don’t intellectually appear to fit into the same market categorisation.  Watch this space.

Danny Goodall.

  • Infrastructure
    Biz Users Platforms
    Dev Platforms

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