Stop me if you've heard this one: five major cloud service providers walk into a bar. They make a bet that the one with the best enterprise cloud will get free drinks for life. The bartender tells them he already knows who will win. They are astonished as none of them has yet had a chance to boast about their server specs, cost per gigabyte, network quality, security features, uptime record, support teams, number of data centers, or any other common claim or metric. How can he possibly have predicted the outcome?
Guess the answer yet? The bartender knew who would win based on an entirely different set of capabilities, including:
- Data movement (think ingestion, collection, streaming, pipelines, ETL, copy mgmt, archive/purge, sync, etc.)
- Data platforms (think databases, data warehouses, Hadoop/Spark/Kafka clusters, etc.)
- Data prep and quality (think cleanse, enhance, join, tag, mask, tokenize, etc.)
- Data analysis (structured query, business intelligence, etc.)
- Machine learning and AI engines and APIs (think build models, train, test, deploy, update, replace, etc.)
- Analytics application development (think IDEs, APIs, languages, tool kits, notebooks, etc.)
- Insight sharing (think visualization, dashboards, reporting, interactive collaboration, etc.)
The surprise twist here is that all the major cloud service providers are realizing this also, meaning that AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, IBM, and Oracle are watching and reacting to the same trends. At the AWS Summit this week, much of the discussion was around the company's analytics, database, data warehouse, machine learning, and artificial intelligence capabilities. In fact, a significant amount of the presentation topics could be readily mapped to the functions listed above. For a sampling of key data points and observations that support this assertion, check out my live tweets from the keynotes and fireside-less fireside chat with AWS CEO Andy Jassy, in the Storify further below. No, really, take a moment and scroll through, there is a lot of interesting stuff that was announced and emphasized.
It should be noted that Microsoft was not content to let AWS have all the fun yesterday and hosted a simultaneous event called Data Amp, which reinforced many of the same themes. I wasn't able to process the two data streams at the same time, but you can expect more on from me on this topic when I go to Microsoft Build Developers conference next month. I witnessed many of these topics firsthand at last month's Google Cloud Next '17 event too, and wrote about their efforts here.
So the bartender knew how to judge, but it's going to be a close competition over the next few years to see who actually comes ahead. All five of these players have incredible resources, strong leadership, and compelling visions of the future. AWS is clearly the #1 cloud by volume, and that's a powerful headstart, but arguably not the best way to handicap this race. It'll be a fun one to watch!