CaaS in 2018: it’s a race

Photo by Matt Lee on Unsplash

[Content warning: 2018 prediction!]

Three weeks post-Reinvent (and a month after posting my thoughts on what CaaS actually means), Google Cloud’s annual summary further underlines, in my opinion, just how fast the top clouds are moving.

It’s clear that all top clouds have or will have a Kubernetes-based managed service, which will go beyond the clusters and aim to leverage their services portfolio. What about smaller players, who don’t have that firepower or that catalog?

When it comes to containers on the public cloud, my bet is that most other providers will take one of the following three approaches:

1. Ignore containers and let customers play around standard/upstream Kubernetes inside your VMs/servers. Few will take it beyond the PoC level, those that want production solutions move on. Cloud keeps hold on a small but loyal customer base due to a niche expertise (premium bare metal, extreme elasticity, location etc.).

2. Build your own Kubernetes-based (or–gasp!–other technology) container engine, simple-to-use and infra-focused like the rest of the cloud. Beta in July, GA in October, maybe another GA/stable release in December—by that time Fargate, ACS and GKE carve up the market and educate users that “infra isn’t interesting—it’s about the app management”.

3. Cut time to market by working with an ISV who has a proven solution that you can embed, and with regards to capabilities, may enable you to actually go beyond matching the ante with the GKEs of the world—stateful services, hybrid environments, DNS discovery… Literally a handful of these exist. (Spoiler: Cloud 66 is one of them.)

It promises to be a very exciting year for anyone in the container space, as vast new opportunities open up for enterprises to rethink their IT architecture and delivery. But with the widening of the market for enterprises, in my view the window for IaaS providers to make a claim in it is not that wide at all.

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