Microsoft, Google Working on Competing Cloud Storage

IT Management

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Will Amazon's popular EC2 cloud soon be facing competition from Google and Microsoft? If reports are true, Amazon's position as the preferred cloud storage facility for a number of web properties, including WebProNews, could be directly threatened.

Thanks to a scoop from GigaOM, word is both tech giants are hard at work on cloud storage services, and both are expected to formally announce their existence later this summer. Apparently, the willingness of other companies to pay for these cloud storage services plays a big role in the motivation behind these developments:

Although Google declined to comment on whether the offering is indeed on the way, an IaaS cloud would make a lot of sense for the company. It already has a popular platform-as-a-service offering in App Engine that is essentially a cloud-based application runtime, but renting virtual servers in an IaaS model is still where the money is in cloud-based computing... Microsoft clearly got the message on where developers are spending in the cloud, too, which is why it’s reportedly expanding its Windows Azure cloud to compete with Amazon more directly than it already does.

Apparently, a willingness from both giants to compete with Amazon in relation to cloud computing prices. Amazon's willingness to slash prices for their Amazon Web Services platform has not been lost on Google or Microsoft. In fact, Google has already shown a willingness to reduce prices on their Google Cloud Storage service.

Currently, Google and Microsoft's cloud services operate under the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model, while Amazon operates with under the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). The difference between the two methods is PaaS offers a computing platform, where the user/customer creates the interface based on tools and programs provided by the company offering the service. While the IaaS model is considered the more basic of the two, is it also gives customers access to storage facilities, all provided by the company instead of the consumer. The following graphic, borrowed from Wikipedia, gives you an idea of how each service functions:

Cloud Computing

With that in mind, GigaOm's report indicates both Google and Microsoft may be offering the IaaS version to consumers:

In terms of timing, this looks like a case of both companies realizing they got ahead of themselves and the market by centering their cloud computing plans around PaaS rather than IaaS. If Google really does roll out an IaaS offering, maybe it’s also a sign of its newfound maturity when it comes to rolling out new services that fit naturally into its existing business and that it can actually sell.

If Google and Microsoft indeed dive into the arena that's currently ruled by Amazon's Web Services platform, does this mean Amazon's days as the top provider of could storage are numbered?

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