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Posts Tagged ‘Salesforce.com

Don’s recent attempt to look at financials of 10 publicly traded “cloud” companies got me willing to expand his research to a bigger picture.

After all, limiting the scope to 100% cloud companies really skews the charts to “Salesforce.com and everyone else” leaving such cloud juggernauts as Amazon and Google out of the picture.

As Don notes, Salesforce.com is doing extremely well: in Q1 2011 the company demonstrated 34% year-over-year growth rate and made $504 million in revenue. Their 2010 revenue was about $1.66 billion.

Companies like Google and Amazon are indeed much harder to analyze. Neither of them discloses cloud-related revenue which sort of vanishes in the grand scheme of core business such as respectively online advertisement and retail.

In this blog post I decided to have a look at where these two cloud businesses stand.

Amazon

In August 2010, UBS Investment Research estimated that Amazon Web Services were on track to make $500 million in 2010 (up from $275 mln in 2009), and $750 mln in 2011 (out of total $44 bln revenue of Amazon as a whole). By 2014 they are expected to get to $2.5 billion.

Profits are estimated to be around $58.2 million in 2010, $100.7 million in 2011.

As a side note on the Infrastructure as a Service space, Rackspace is considered to be number 2 cloud provider and they are way behind Amazon with target revenue for 2011 set to $100 mln (for cloud services).

Google

Google Apps is Google’s core subscription cloud service, and again a small fraction of the total company’s revenue (and with Android’s success no longer the most cherished ‘secondary business’ either).

The latest interview with Google Enterprise (which includes Google Apps) boss – David Girouard does not say much:

3,000 business are moving to the suite each day, and over three million have moved since its debut in 2007. But it’s unclear how much revenue Google is generating from subscriptions. All we know is that it’s under $1bn a year, less than four per cent of the company’s overall revenue. The aim, however, is to create a multi-billion-dollar business – in the near term. “Not a decade from now,” Girouard said, “but within a few years.”

Obviously ‘under $1 billion’ is a huge range.

A year ago, in May 2010, Nikesh Arora, president of Google’s Global Sales Operations and Business Development provided more detailed information:

First of all, back then the number of customers was one-third lower: “There are 2 million small businesses that have signed up”.

And secondly he provided a date estimate for reaching the $1 billion mark: “In perhaps three- or four years, I hope it will be more than a billion dollar revenue stream.”

With that kind of growth, to get to a billion dollars in 3 years, Google Apps need to be making  $300 million in revenue a year at the moment. On the other hand, when Google Apps were claiming 1 million users in early 2009, their revenue target for the year was $40 million. So with 3 times more users today, they might very well be at the 3 times the revenue – $120 million a year for Google Apps. My guess, is that the broad range ($120-$300 mln) might be related to them including or excluding advertisement revenue coming from free Google Apps accounts.

Anyone else?

I am actually quite impressed with how revenue of Salesforce.com compare to cloud businesses of Amazon and Google.

For now I would probably just limit the analysis to these 2 vendors. Microsoft is trying hard to get into this business with their Office 365 and Windows Azure launches. However, to be fair to the company I would probably wait another year before discussing their financial performance.

And that’s just for the software vendors. IBM‘s CFO Mark Loughridge claims that cloud services will generate $7 billion in revenue for his company by 2015, and I am pretty sure that hardware vendors are not losing money on shipping servers to all the new cloud datacenter either.

Have I missed any of the big players you would have expected to see in this analysis? Let me know.

Here’s my attempt to put together the list of things I expect to happen to Cloud Computing in 2009 – kind of natural thing to do the fist day of the year, right?

Overall, this is going to be a year when cloud computing will start rapidly maturing with competition heating up on the infrastructure/platform level, real private cloud solutions hitting the market, traditional applications increasingly moving to SaaS or hybrid model, and browser offline becoming a reality.

Let’s go through these one by one – and go through the IaaS and PaaS markets first.

Platform and Infrastructure as a Service (PaaS and IaaS) markets maturing and blurring.

IaaS is basically Amazon EC2 approach with hosters giving customers the ability to instantiate and control virtual machines running in the datacenter. This is a natural progression from the traditional server hosting model. However, this model of raw VM does not provide a lot of opportunity to differentiate which in turn is leading to higher competition and lower profit margins. We will see more and more platform functionality being added to infrastructure offerings and these two layers merging more and more.

Amazon is clearly adding more and more services besides EC2, and partners such as RightScale are adding automated scaling features normally associated with PaaS.

Even newcomers are now often shooting for something in between right from the get go. Can you tell where Windows Azure is? It is already kind of both infrastructure and platform.

Speaking of Windows Azure, this is likely going to be the year when it will hit the market. Folks at Microsoft are doing their best to make it easier for existing software ecosystem to get in with effectively the same or very similar tools they use today. The sheer size of the ecosystem, and this evolutionary approach is likely to immediately make Microsoft a serious player in the space.

VMware can definitely get into the top 3 as well if they execute well with their vCloud initiative. They would need to make sure that:

  • Their hosting partners can compete effectively against Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and others.
  • This pick your partner approach does not confuse the market, and
  • They don’t end up being behind competition by limiting themselves to basic infrastructure only.

The interesting aspect of that is that VMware really has the potential of forcing Microsoft to let partners run Azure. Today this is not the case and the only place where Azure exists is Microsoft’s datacenter.

It remains to be seen whether pure Platform as a Service players such as Salesforce.com (with its Force.com) and Google App Engine will be in the leaders group. They will likely start feeling pressure from the infrastructure level as I mentioned already but it might be challenging for them have the ease of migration and the flexibility that IaaS solutions have.

Also, Google seems to be making surprisingly small progress lately. They have posted some information on the upcoming System Status site and billing/quota dashboard – which means that the beta status is likely to be gone soon. However, their development story (Python as the only programming language and quite limited development environment) and the economy forcing them to concentrate on their core search and ad business are limiting their ability to compete.

Thoughts, comments on any of these?

I will continue with other trends next week.

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The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer Jelastic or anyone else for that matter. All trademarks acknowledged.

© 2008-2012 Dmitry Sotnikov

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