Cloud application security vendor Elastica recently announced a partnership with Cisco that allows Cisco to resell Elastica’s Cloud Access Security Broker solutions to its customers. The partnership between Elastica and Cisco gives Cisco customers access to Elastica’s CloudSOC portfolio which includes IT risk assessments, deep visibility regarding live cloud application traffic and the ability to detect risky actions on the part of enterprise employees. Elastica’s Shadow IT risk assessment enables customers to prioritize risk ratings of applications in addition to analytics on cloud application usage within an organization. Meanwhile, Elastica’s Shadow Data analytics provide insight into data governance and compliance-related risks with a view toward providing direction regarding how improved data governance and renewed approaches to IT compliance can mitigate an organization’s overall IT risk. Another core Elastica CloudSOC product offering provides deep insight into live cloud application traffic and user activity by leveraging machine learning and semantic technologies that can identify compromised user accounts, high risk transactions and threatening user accounts by means of a proprietary, algorithmic ThreatScore. Elastica’s cloud application security solution draws upon cloud application API data via Elastic securelets that connect to the backend of cloud applications, live cloud application data regarding networking traffic as well as usage patterns and log data from third party security solutions. Elastica’s partnership with Cisco complements solutions such as Cisco’s Cisco Cloud Web Security (CWS), Web Security Appliance (WSA) and Cisco Adaptive Security Appliance by providing deep visibility into analytics related to the security of SaaS and cloud applications more generally. Moreover, Elastica stands to gain access to Cisco’s expansive channel of customers while Cisco benefits from the data science expertise that Elastica brings to the conversation regarding cloud security. Expect to hear more about Elastica as its partnership with Cisco deepens and fuels accelerated product innovation in collaboration with the needs of its evolving customer base.
On February 18, Recovery as a Service leader Axcient announced the finalization of $25M in Series E funding in a round led by Industry Ventures with additional participation from existing investors Allegis Capital, Peninsula Ventures, Scale Venture Partners and Thomvest Ventures. The round validates the business model of Axcient’s cloud-based recovery as a service platform as exemplified by 50% year over year growth in customers signed in 2014, Axcient’s acquisition of DirectRestore, more than 30 releases and enhancements to the Axcient business recovery cloud and the release of the second generation of Axcient’s virtual appliance. The $25M in funding will also be used to fund a novel method of compensating channel partners that Axcient will use to enhance distribution of its product. Whereas SaaS solutions have typically struggled to achieve traction in a VAR sales partner model because of low monthly margins for sales professionals, Axcient proposes to offer channel partners up front compensation for the sale of its business recovery cloud solution. Axcient brands the up front compensation model under the acronym SaaS: FLO that stands for SaaS Fully Loaded Option. Axcient’s strategy of expanding its sales pipeline by means of partnerships with VARs under the terms of an innovative compensation model promises to increase its market traction in a landscape that includes the likes of more established cloud-based business continuity brands such as Symantec and EMC. In a phone interview with Cloud Computing Today, Axcient’s Director of Product Marketing Daniel Kuperman noted that although Axcient faces the challenge of educating its VARs about the business and technological benefits of its cloud-based recovery as a service platform, it stands to benefit immensely from the potentialities implicit in introducing the agility and operational simplicity of its platform to a wider range of customers. Assuming Axcient can succeed at training its VAR ecosystem, it stands poised to consolidate on its successes in 2014 and continue to stake out a leadership position in the rapidly growing cloud-based recovery as a service space, particularly because of the richness of its technology for empowering customers to perform granular recoveries of specific files and folders in addition to larger swaths of infrastructure. Wednesday Series E round brings the total capital raised by Axcient to roughly $85M.
Recent years have witnessed a proliferation of analyses about the size and relative market share of vendors in the cloud computing space. According to a post in GigaOM, UBS Analysts estimate that “the total market for AWS-type services will be between $5-to-$6 billion in 2010 and will eventually grow to $15-to-$20 billion in 2014.” Gartner, meanwhile, estimates that the IaaS market will grow from $3.7 billion in 2010 to $10.5 billion in 2014. Forrester predicts that IaaS spending alone will increase from $2.9B, projected to grow to $5.85B by 2015 in their recent report, Sizing the Cloud, Understanding and Quantifying the Future of Cloud Computing.
The discrepancies between these estimates of the current and future state of the IaaS space illustrate some of the difficulties specific to quantifying cloud computing market share, many of which of derive from the following reasons:
• The plurality of cloud computing modalities renders calculations of market share complex. While it’s true that the terms IaaS, PaaS and SaaS remain powerful terms for understanding cloud computing deployments, vendors are increasingly offering more than one variation of the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS trinity. Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk, for example, constitutes a PaaS offering from the largest IaaS vendor in the space. Meanwhile, Red Hat offers an IaaS product called CloudForms alongside a PaaS offering known as OpenShift. Moreover, analysts may choose to include or not include SaaS, PaaS or consulting services from cloud computing products in their estimation of cloud computing revenue.
• Vendors often refuse to disclose cloud computing revenues, especially if they are privately held or otherwise multi-tiered businesses wherein cloud revenue is miniscule in comparison to revenues from other services. Amazon Web Services constitutes the paradigmatic example, here, but the recent acquisitions of Terremark by Verizon and Savvis by CenturyLink may serve as further cases in point, though most reports suggest that both Terremark and Savvis will function as independent business units within their parent company with detailed revenue breakdowns.
• Within the first half of 2011, Dell, HP, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat, Apple, Go Daddy and Microsoft have made increased commitments to cloud computing deployments in ways that promise to significantly impact the existing market share balance.
• The global nature of cloud computing renders quantification of market share challenging because many U.S. cloud computing vendors operate transnationally in partnership with other channel partners that may or may not report revenue in a transparent fashion. Consider Joyent’s partnership with ClusterTech and Qihoo 360 Technologies in China, for example, in this regard.
Despite these methodological difficulties, we can make some definitive statements about vendor revenue. Consider the following revenue data points, for 2010:
a. Amazon Web Services: $500–700 million
b. Rackspace: $100 million
c. Terremark: $37.5 million, prior to acquisition by Verizon
d. Savvis: $15.2 million, prior to acquisition by CenturyLink
e. Joyent: $10- 20 million
a. Salesforce.com: $1.3 billion
b. NetSuite: $200 million
c. Rightnow: $200 million
d. SuccessFactors: $200 million
e. Taleo: $200 million
Revenue for PaaS in 2010 is difficult to locate and widely believed to be miniscule. But given the sheer number and heterogeneity of cloud computing vendors and deployments, these numbers represent little consolation for analysts and investors seeking to understand trends in the cloud computing universe. How will Apple’s iCloud fit into this equation, for example? What about Facebook and Google? In what way will Microsoft’s Office 365 change market share in the productivity software space? Part of the difficulty of estimating cloud market share, here, involves the lack of a common set of standards for measuring the size of cloud computing deployments, in addition to the challenges specific to locating data for annualized cloud based revenue per vendor. Until inter-operability standards emerge, analysts will need to develop new methods of imposing discipline and rigor on the conglomeration of cloud computing forms. Meanwhile, vendors and customers alike should push for inter-operability standards that facilitate apples to apples comparisons of cloud offerings from vendors across the globe.
Contemporary discussions about cloud computing typically revolve around the concepts of Infrastructure as a Service (Iaas), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Amazon Web Services (AWS) constitutes the paradigmatic example of IaaS whereas Microsoft Azure aptly exemplifies PaaS while Salesforce.com illustrates SaaS. Where does Apple’s iCloud stand in relation to the Iaas, PaaS and SaaS trinity? Technically speaking, iCloud constitutes a SaaS application insofar as it represents a software product, delivered over the internet, that empowers users to:
•Synchronize photographs, music and iWork files across multiple devices such as iPads, iPhones and personal computers
•Remotely access iTunes or music files by matching them against iCloud’s online collection.
•Resume working where they left work on one device, upon opening a different one.
•Synchronize user settings such as passwords and browser settings across all devices.
•Enjoy free email, calendars and online storage.
•Leverage pushed updates to applications across all devices.
But taken as a whole, these features amount to a disruptive technology with the power to transform user relationships to personal computers in a way that the SaaS moniker fails to accurately capture. In other words, whereas cloud computing has traditionally acted either as a (1) platform for software development (IaaS or Paas); or (2) a mechanism for software delivery (Saas), iCloud promises to use cloud computing to create an infrastructure for personal productivity across PCs, Macs, iPads and iPhones. As Apple CEO Steve Jobs remarked in his keynote address at the 2011 WWDC conference, “We’re going to demote the PC and Mac to being a device. We’re going to move the digital hub into the cloud.”
Apple’s iCloud features all of the benefits that enterprises obtain from cloud computing in addition to some functionality specific to personal users. For example, just as enterprises often use cloud computing to harmonize updates across an ecosystem of machines, the iCloud serves the same purpose of keeping machines in sync. iCloud transforms the role of the personal computer from a platform for personal productivity to a means of inscribing upon a virtual environment for personal productivity. The personal computer becomes one point of access amongst many to an online space in which all of one’s personal productivity is performed. In other words, the iCloud promises to turn a cloud based, virtual environment into the fundamental plane for accessing music, pictures, writing, spreadsheets and more. Understood in these terms, the iCloud is less SaaS than an online space from which multiple SaaS applications originate and interact with a constellation of machines.
Read more about Apple’s iCloud, in Jobs’s own words, here.