The cloud computing war has always been an intense one, but despite multiple players in the field, Amazon is a dominant force in the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market, and Microsoft is the top SaaS (Software as a Service) + IaaS provider. These two companies are a cut above the rest, and their recent moves are only going to increase the gap between them and all the other players in the market.

During Microsoft’s Build conference this year, Microsoft upset the cloud computing apple cart with this little twist to its cloud story:

It has been barely four years since Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company’s Mobile First, Cloud First strategy. Instead of basking in the glory of new-found success in Cloud, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has now announced that the time has to come to move on from a Mobile First, Cloud First strategy towards a more cloud-focused Intelligent Cloud, Intelligent Edge strategy.” – 1redDrop

It must have come as more than a bit of a surprise to many, because the entire cloud computing industry was just taking off; and even before it could move into a mature stage, here was Microsoft saying that the time had to come re-think the centralized model of cloud computing and opt for a much faster, de-centralized local-compute-focused edge computing model.

As if in validation of Microsoft’s stand, Amazon yesterday announced the general availability of AWS Greengrass, which was announced by Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy during last year’s Amazon re:Invent conference. AWS Greengrass allows users to run local compute, messaging, data caching, and synch capabilities for connected devices, things that you would need if you wanted to move the computing part closer to the edge.

“Today, at an event in San Francisco, Amazon announced the general availability of AWS Greengrass, the software that powers local edge gateways and appliances. It is exactly what I wished to see as an extension to AWS IoT.
This new addition to the AWS IoT portfolio has the potential to become the cornerstone of Amazon’s hybrid and edge strategy. It is one of the very few products from Amazon that can run on-premises,” wrote Janakiram MSV, one of the knowledgeable voices in the cloud industry.

Microsoft and Amazon have already launched products to address this shift towards edge computing, so its clear that both these companies are edge-capable and ready to serve customers looking for such solutions.

Once again, its a head start over the other players, who are only now warming up to cloud computing, building datacenters around the world and improving their cloud computing features and services.

The move by Amazon and Microsoft will put a lot of pressure on the competition to act; and some will and some won’t.

Either way, these two companies have just “moved the cheese,” as Dr. Spencer Johnson might say, and the other mice just have to follow or be left out of the new race called edge computing.

Thanks for reading our work! We invite you to check out our Essentials of Cloud Computing page, which covers the basics of cloud computing, its components, various deployment models, historical, current and forecast data for the cloud computing industry, and even a glossary of cloud computing terms.

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