Monday, April 2, 2012

Infrastructure Internet Markets - Then, now and next.

The garden of markets

The internet is like a garden. Things grow, as long as you water them. In fact, the internet is really like a continuously expanding cluster of gardens, each with a different environment (aka market). Sales, marketing, finance, communication, and everything in between.

What I'll be talking about here are the infrastructure markets that grew to meet the needs of the internet.

Some new markets (gardens) of the past ...  

Connectivity, Dialup and beyond

First, there was the need for people and companies to be connected to the Internet. An untold amount of ISPs (internet service providers) were created to meet this need. They ranged from the size of your local mom and pop shop all the way to the size of AOL. Hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of these companies were created world wide in order to meet the demand of humans wanting to communicate with one another. The ISP market will always exist and it will continue to grow and evolve. The speed of our connections will increase and along with it, what we do on the internet will change as well.

Web Hosting. Anyone remember geocities?

How many web hosting companies have existed in the last 15 years? A lot. If companies wanted to get on the internet, the most common way to do that at the time, was to pay a web hosting company to manage the server and internet connectivity for you. In this method, all you had to do was worry about creating and maintaining the content (which was a whole other market).

Today's new garden is... IaaS and PaaS

Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas)

Remember the ISP and web hosting markets exploding? Well, IaaS and PaaS is next! It is now!

When Amazon web services came out, it caused somewhat of a distribution in the industry. Why was this such a big event? Well, it was the first time internet infrastructure could be programatically controlled (can anyone say api). So simple, yet so game changing. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is really just web operations (data center, servers, storage, network) with an api in front of it. The benefits are huge to both internet based companies and tradition enterprise IT organizations.

We are now in a gold rush. Everyone under the sun wants to offer an IaaS solution. No one wants to be left behind. ISPs, Data center providers, enterprises, web hosting companies, governments, education, and even individuals are all getting on the boat. All of these people are interesting in providing IaaS features to their clients. Both publicly and privately.

There are now CMS (cloud management solutions) that allows these organizations to create an IaaS solution without the investment in writting their own code. Open Stack, Cloud stack, and eucalyptus seem to be the leading options available today. An organization can have an inhouse proof of concept up and running in a matter of hours. A production ready system can be ready in a few months.

Platform as a Service (Paas)

This is up a layer from IaaS. Instead of offering raw infrastructure, it offers a more of an application platform to its users. Someone only needs to upload their application, ie source code, and the PaaS will run and scale their solution as required.

Salesforce, Engine Yard, AppEngine, and Azure are a few of the leading public PaaS providers. Now, there are also PaaS software solutions that will allow people to create their own PaaS. Openshift and cloudfoundry are a couple in this category.

If I where you

I would get into this scene today. In 5 years from now, no one will be provisioning infrastructure manually anymore.



 What Next?

Obviously, more growth in IaaS and PaaS is coming. Software and solutions to help secure, monitor, provision, deploy all this stuff is currently being developed. But, what is the next garden? What is the next culture shift?

If I knew the answer to this, I probably wouldn't be talking publicly about it. The point is, some new internet garden will arise in which we will all see ourselves shifting onto.

Do you have a guess? Do you know?


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