A couple of days ago, the General Services Administration announced that it had made the decision to replace its Lotus notes and Domino software with Google for its email. This decision prompted a response from Microsoft saying that they were disappointed not to be able to provide a solution and how much better they could have been than Google. This decision and response from Microsoft brings to light a scenario that is going to be played out time and again over the coming years as organisations and companies migrate to the cloud. Some organisations adopting Microsoft others Google.
Microsoft and Google are now providing Cloud Computing solutions in many overlapping areas. If we consider these using the service delivery structure, in the area of Software as a Service (SaaS) both offer productivity tools. Google through Google Apps and Microsoft through the Office365, which offers the Office productivity suite, Sharepoint, Exchange and Lync online. These solutions from both companies compete head-on in feature set, functionality and mode of operation.
At the next level, Platform as a Service (PaaS), Google offer the Google App Engine for Java and Python application development and hosting. Microsoft’s offering is Azure, which provides solutions for .NET developers as well as for PHP developers. As part of the platform, Microsoft offer SQL Azure, a cloud based relation database service. At this level, the solutions of the companies whilst offering similar functionality do not compete directly with each other.
At the lowest level, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) Google have no offering whilst Microsoft have recently announced the VM role which will allow users to create their own virtual machine images and host them in the cloud, build their own virtual private clouds on the Azure infrastructure and so provide IaaS.
Summarising the competition between Microsoft and Google for Cloud Computing services, the head-on competition is clearly at the SaaS level where they have competing products. In the other areas there is no direct, or at least like-for-like competition due to the structure of their products.
What is difficult for Cloud consumers is that the competition between these two giants is very public and does not focus on the primary factors of effectiveness of solutions, feature sets, cost, security, reliability they provide for customers. This means that any organisation considering the cloud, trying to make some sense of all the hype, marketing and publicity and establish how the solutions offered can help their organisations is incredibly difficult. This is before we add Amazon, IBM, Oracle etc to the discussion. This is the reason Learning Tree have developed their Cloud Computing Course that provides attendees with a framework of what cloud computing is and how the products from the major vendors fit into this framework. The course provides hands-on experience of the tools and builds the skills required to establish what is the most suitable Cloud Computing solution for your organisation. Why not attend and find out how the Cloud and in particular which services could benefit your organisation.