The Cloud Goes Commodity
"One of the reasons Amazon is successful with EC2 is because Amazon is very comfortable with low margins," Robbins says. "If there's one thing Jeff [Bezos] likes, it's a business with low margins that other people would be crazy to get into."
That could be another worry for carriers as they try to keep up with the cloud services craze.
We've already heard Randy Bias, CEO of Cloudscaling , say everybody would be best off building clouds out of ordinary, cheap gear, the way Amazon does. (If you haven't heard him say that, click on the video below.) Now there's the suggestion that clouds themselves might get chased into commodity territory, too.
A lot of doubt surrounds Bias' theory, and of course it's easy to take the most famous cloud name and unfairly compare it to everything. But I think Amazon exemplifies the kind of challenge carriers are facing with the cloud. It's a space where they're not making the rules. Worst case, the new cloud providers like Amazon become what the telcos ought to have become.
Opscode, of course, thinks it can help. The company's open-source framework, Chef, helps automate the process of configuring cloud services; think of it like programming a robot to change the oil on any car, regardless of make or model. Opscode makes its money on the Hosted Chef, which went live Tuesday after a year of Google-like beta; the service matches these recipes (their word, so don't roll your eyes at me) with the exact hardware in your cloud, which Opscode is continually polling.
What all that means is lowered opex, in the form of employing fewer people. But it also means faster turn-up of services, something that telcos are going to have to be on the ball about. Useful? Possibly. Opscode has only one carrier customer, but it's KT Corp. , which is no slouch.
— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading