“Rackspace = Wendy’s: Wendy’s is the No. 2 fast-food franchise in the United States, a title I think Rackspace probably holds in the cloud space (although assessing cloud market share is a little more difficult than assessing fast-food market share). And much like Wendy’s places a premium on the quality of its products, Rackspace places a premium on the quality of its service. CEO Lanham Napier has gone so far as to say it’s “playing a different game” than Amazon.
What he means is that Rackspace doesn’t need to compete with AWS by constantly driving down prices because Rackspace customers value service and will pay for it. Maybe, but the company might take a hint from what’s happening with Wendy’s as it struggles to maintain its No. 2 status against a feisty Burger King that’s largely following the McDonald’s playbook. If market share is important, higher prices aren’t often the best recipe for maintaining it.
Google = Burger King: That cloud version of Burger King nipping at Rackspace’s heels is Google. It already has all the standard fare in servers, storage and databases, but it’s also hipper than the rest (or at least it tries to be), it takes some chances on product design (sometimes to the love-it-or-hate-it extreme) and, like Burger King with the Whopper, what it does well, it does really well. In Google’s case, that’s perform at scale.
If Google keeps adding services and cutting the costs of everything, there’s no reason it can’t become the world’s No. 2 cloud provider — some have already bestowed that honor upon it — and maybe challenge AWS a decade down the road.
Microsoft = Arby’s: Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to market it otherwise, Windows Azure is still largely viewed as a cloud platform for running .NET applications and generally doing all things Windows. Not that that’s a bad thing — a lot of people really like Windows and, by many accounts, Windows Azure is a fine platform. It’s like going to Arby’s: the menu offers a lot of things, but you go for the roast beef.
Joyent, Virtustream, CloudSigma et al = In-N-Out Burger, Culvers, Five Guys et al: These cloud providers, like their analogous restaurant chains, are damn good at what they do and their patrons are loyal. They’re typically designed for maximum performance, maybe security, too, and will play around with new infrastructural or programming components in order to maintain their edge. They might even be the best at certain things and have some major customers (I’ve seen Maseratis leaving the In-N-Out drive-thru), but cost, geography or the desire to get a chicken sandwich, too, limit the number of users they can attract.”
Thanks to Derrick Harris and Gigaom — Tech News and Analysis