The Gathering Storm: Analyzing the Cloud Computing Ecosystem and Implications for Public Policy

The authors contend that cloud computing is historically unique by simultaneously being an innovation ecosystem, production platform, and global marketplace. In the first part, they define cloud computing as a "dynamic" utility, listing key characteristics of what it is and what it is not, both from providers' and users' vantages. In the second part, they characterize three competitive battles in the broader cloud ecosystem: winning the user (cloud providers), the search for value (network providers), and the device wars (device providers). They then provide a new and simple, but powerful and practically applicable typology that combines the type of providers with the commonly understood architecture types. The third part applies this framework to analyze the business strategies of global cloud service providers and select others in the broader ecosystem. They conclude with policy implications and where to take research from here.