Friday, June 18, 2010

SOaaS and the big race for the Platform

This paper from the Future Internet 2nd Usage Area Workshop hosted by the EFII on the 9th of June 2010 at Madrid provides excellent summary of possible Platform architecture.

SOaaS (Solution-as-a-Service) is described as a cloud computing paradigm that envisions delivering cloud-based solutions instead of ‘software’. SOaaS focuses real-world business and end- user needs and delivers solutions that are user-centric (not software centric), collaborative (not closed), truly personalised (not template based) and manage-free (not ‘install and continuously update’).

This is one more voice calling for the Platform to be a public utility. Every person (user, citizen) would get an individual space within the Platform, and the services will be build around each user. Since the Platform will be truly global, it will be outside of authority of the national governments, therefore it's difficult to say who will be ultimately responsible for governing it. Ultimately, this model calls for the citizens controlling the Platform and their own data in the platform.

The competing vision is that the Platform will emerge as a result of one of the private companies, or alliance of private companies, locking in the market. At the moment, Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, and the score of other companies are competing for control of the emerging Platform. The recent Facebook-Yahoo agreement is just the taste of things to come. It is also possible that a well-funded start-up company will go for the throat and attempt to build the Platform from scratch, in a clean slate effort.

The paper states that ...The current industrial paradigm for delivering an ‘internet of services‘ using cloud computing is based on variations of the ‘SPI Model’ i.e. Software, Platform or Infrastructure - as a Service, respectively. However, the industrial landscape based on this model has certain inherent limitations such as single ‘SaaS vendor’ lock-in, and limited end-consumer service composability, customisability and flexibility.

Certainly, the industry understands the limitations and problems with single vendor lock-up. The heated discussion is ongoing whether one company can actually lock-up the cloud computing market. However, I think the right question to ask is more narrow: whether one company can lock up the Platform. It looks to me that its highly probable. At the moment, the strongest contender is Google, followed (and lagging far behind) by Microsoft, Facebook and Apple. I will later write a post reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of these companies in the big race.

No comments:

Post a Comment