Home Cloud Computing: Where to Next?

Cloud Computing: Where to Next?

In his keynote this morning, Salesforce.comCEO Marc Benioff continued his critique on software companies for their lack of development and sense of entitlement. And not surprisingly, the full-on pitch continued for cloud computing with a parade of executives showing the applications they developed on Force.com.

About 19,000 people attended Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce.com event. Partners lined up to get on stage. David Girouard of Google showed a map with all their customers around the globe. He recounted a story with Eric Schmidt, who was astounded by the frustrations that CIO’s expressed about the architecture they inherited. An Accenture executive said that cloud computing is here to stay. He showed the company’s applications on Force.com. The Black Crowes performed last night. The pitch is fever high.

What does this all say about the market? Is this an event that marks the point where cloud computing goes mainstream?

Have we reached the apex of cloud computing hype?

I asked the question on Twitter:

Gartner sees the hype this way:

Regardless, this has been a monumental week for cloud computing. The long established software companies have now lined up with their offering. Microsoft launched Azure. Salesforce.com unveiled Salesforce Chatter, Sales Cloud 2 and Service Cloud 2. IBM announced a cloud analytics platform that leverages Cognos, its business intelligence suite.

The more established companies carry the benefit of long established customer channels. IBM and Microsoft fit into this camp. Additionally, Microsoft appears to get it. The Azure platform integrates some open-source components. These companies face their own challenges as much internally as from the customer world. But their presence also means that cloud computing is close to being accepted in the enterprise mainstream.

Salesforce.com is a more interesting animal. Benioff is a very aggressive CEO. Business Week is calling him “The King of the Cloud.” He is never shy to lampoon the established software companies in the market. He calls out his competitors like Sugar CRM, which is fighting right back with its own campaign: Behind The Smokescreen, a play on Benioff’s new book: “Behind The Cloud.”

Benioff has to show off his partners. He never misses an opportunity to tell you how many customers he has. In a way, he has to play this role. He has the big players running. He has to keep them running, on the defensive, so he can move in with Chatter across the enterprise. That’s the trick right now for Benioff. Moving as fast as he possibly can to gain that permanent traction.

The hype is peaking. It’s a different game for the entire market. It’s a race now to win the mainstream.

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