Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 07/2010

Cutting Through the Fog: Understanding the Competitive Dynamics in Cloud Computing

Kenji E. Kushida, Dan Breznitz, John Zysman

May 2010

Berkeley Roundtable on the International Economy


Cloud Computing is growing rapidly, and it is likely to become part of the dominant computing infrastructure for individuals, start-up firms, small-medium businesses, and large enterprises. However, as it is still an emerging set of technologies and business models, discussions of Cloud Computing have not reached the level of clarity or shared conceptions of more mature areas of computing. The purpose of this document is threefold. Part I can be used as a standalone introduction to Cloud Computing for general audiences. It provides an operating definition of Cloud Computing, with an overview of the logic behind competing definitions. Part II introduces a set of conceptual tools that helps map US competitors and understand their strategies. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) definition of Cloud Computing distinguishes between service and delivery models. To the discussion of service models, we contribute a conception of ―stacks‖ that enhances the NIST definitions to better understand the realities of the market as it unfolds. Part II also presents Cisco‘s conceptions of delivery models, which are enhancements of the NIST definitions. Part III examines the market and regulatory issues facing different sets of users and providers. It concludes with a brief overview of emerging regulatory issues.